Monday, December 17, 2007

The Paper Men | William Golding

I don't know what prompted me to read "The Paper Men", but a couple of days ago I decided to give the third Golding book on my shelf a try. After reading "Lord of the Flies" in high school (and enjoying it) and "Darkness Visible" earlier this year (and disliking it), I figured I'd give Golding another chance to redeem himself. He did not.

I dove into the book with no preconceptions, as I had no idea what it was about. Without spoilers, here is a brief synopsis:
Wilfrid Barclay, a 60 year old alcoholic author, is all washed up. He drinks like a fish and travels all over the world. He treats people in his life that are 'close' to him (which are few), like garbage and never really understands if he's living in a dream or a stupor, but for him, that is life. This book reminds me of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", without the drug induced hallucinations (most here are alcohol related) and without pretty much everything that made the latter interesting.

Rick Tucker is an Associate Professor who follows Barclay around in his travels, attempting to get him to sign over biographical writes to him. He offers everything he has and has no sense of moral integrity, giving into all Barclay's degrading demands.

I have not delved into research enough to determine if the main character is based on Golding himself, largely because I don't really care. This character was so boring; events, while described very well from the point of view of a confused alcoholic, were altogether uninteresting. The point never quite hit the mark, and the novel circled the earth in uneventful ways to get at it.

Overall, stick clear of this book.

[No quotes - although due to absurdity of the main character, some were very witty. That being said, nothing was profound].

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