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William Golding’s troubled life


The Observer carried a fascinating article yesterday about William Golding and it describes him as a troubled personality. His daughter Judy Carver relates several stories, including this one about how Golding’s love of sailing came to a dramatic end.

Suddenly, out of the murk, towering above them, came the prow of a Japanese freighter. Golding steered to avoid a head-on collision but the two vessels collided, and the Tenace began to sink. After several minutes of terror on the sea, Golding and his family were rescued, but his pride and joy, the Tenace, was lost. In a sense, Golding went down with his ship.

This dreadful moment of failure and humiliation came to haunt Golding. He was 53 and feeling his age. He vowed he would never again be responsible for the lives of others at sea, and never sailed again. By the late 1960s, says Judy, “he was becoming very troubled, and there were some very bad episodes of drink”.

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Richard Davies

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