The Double Tongue (1995): William Golding


When William Golding died in 1993, he was in the middle of working on a new novel, which was left unfinished. At an advanced draft stage, it told the story of a young woman plucked from her miserable family life and offered the chance of a new existence at the ritual site of Delphi, where she becomes a servant of the god Apollo and, later, the mouthpiece for his words. The story was in good shape and so Golding’s editors and executors decided to publish it – and it became The Double Tongue. That title is apparently only one of those which Golding had tried out on the top of the manuscript, but it’s a very fitting name for a book which is all about the duplicity and sleight-of-hand that accompany the act of prophecy.

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The Inheritors (1955): William Golding


In September last year, the Guardian published an article by Judy Golding (William’s daughter) about The Inheritors. I read it at the time but only recently tracked it down again. I already want to reread so I can savour the complexities that I missed first time round. But even my quick first read of the article lodged the title in my mind. When I saw a lovely old Faber & Faber edition in Oxfam a few weeks ago, I snaffled it.

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