ReadySteadyBlog

Spurious reads Golding's The Spire and it has left him needing "more Golding - immediately. I need to read everything if only to have done with it. I need to know of what this book is part - what movement. Madness - but not a private madness. Not the malaise of one character. A kind of existence-madness, being gone mad, the boiling earth ... "


Finishing William Golding's The Spire, I felt the same way as I had done at the end of Muriel Spark's The Hothouse on the East River: a need to read about the book and about Golding if only to contain what I had read, to contextualise it. Above all, I couldn't allow the book its distance, the distance it seems to take from itself in itself such that I was never quite sure what was happening, or rather that what was happening was (in the world of the book) really happening; Dean Jocelin, with whom the narrator sticks, seemed untrustworthy - or was it that he had entrusted himself to something else, manifest as a kind of madness. That he was entrusted to a rambling, coagulatingĀ madness that had thickened itself into the narrative.

What had happened in the book? I wasn't sure. I googled 'William Golding The Spire' for study notes to help me. What had happened? I lacked the distance. No: I lacked my distance by which I could hold what I read apart from me. I was struck to its surface like a fly ... Little to say about the book itself, though. Itself: as if it wasn't too heavy for commentary. As though it were not already lost in itself, falling into itself, a book like the spire and cathedral it describes unable to sit squarely on the restless earth. A book beneath which a kind of abyss opens, an anti-spire, the stirring of the earth 'like porridge coming to boil in a pot' which means everything, therefore is as unsure as the visitations Dean Jocelin receives.

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