When the spring came the people what was left of them moved back by the old paths from the sea But this year strange things were happening, terrifying things that had never happened before Inexplicable sounds and smells new, unimaginable creatures half glimpsed through the leaves What the people didn t, and perhaps never would, know, was that the day of their people was already overFrom the author of Lord of the Flies, The Inheritors is a startling recreation of the lost world of the Neanderthals, and a frightening vision of the beginning of a new age A last tribe of Neanderthals the People arrive in their Summer home a rocky outcrop near the top of a large waterfall Peaceful hunter gatherers with an earth mother religion, they do not understand tools, nor can they formulate complex thoughts, they speak simply and also they communicate telepathically through pictures One day they smell strangers nearby and gradually the become aware of a tribe of Homo Sapiens the new people who have come up the river in dug out canoes and are camping A last tribe of Neanderthals the People arrive in their Summer home a rocky outcrop near the top of a large waterfall Peaceful hunter gatherers with an earth mother religion, they do not understand tools, nor can they formulate complex thoughts, they speak simply and also they communicate telepathically through pictures One day they smell strangers nearby and gradually the become aware of a tribe of Homo Sapiens the new people who have come up the river in dug out canoes and are camping on a river island The new people steal the Neanderthal children and kill the tribe elders, only Lok and Fa, a man and woman, are left, and they set out to rescue the children.Despite being written in simple language this is quite a difficult book to read This is because WIlliam Golding has chosen to tell the story in style that suggest a Neanderthal mindset Though it s written in the third person the narration is skewed to suggest the protagonist Lok s view As he spies on the homo sapiens a lot of their behaviour is alien to him He also has a strange way of describing everything from the geography of places to interactions between characters there is sometimes no distinction in his observations between the real and unreal and this gives the story a dream like quality that is often hard to follow.The Neanderthals in the book are verging on that clich of the simple, peaceful tribal people who, once again, represent humans before the fall, before consciousness Where as the homo sapiens arebadly behaved, drinking, killing, beating etc Stylistically it is an interesting device to use the writing to suggest the Neanderthal mind, I think it works really well but throws up lots of issues At two points the narration jarred for me, when Lok used the words make love , which sounded too twentieth century and also at another point when Golding stepped away from Lok s view to give an authorial comment, and I can t remember why, otherwise the style works really well One of the other strange side effect though was that at the end when the narration switches to a Homo sapiens man s view, he is suddenly starling sophisticated by comparison in the way he formulates ideas The distinction works well but also makes the Homo sapiens feel very advanced.The book s introduction suggests that Neanderthals didn t have language, which makes sense, language is what separates us from other animals, it is the start of abstract thought and duality separating and portioning everything out and printed words suggest that so strongly too, so maybe it would be impossible to use written language to create a Neanderthal view of the world, but Golding has given it a damn good try Reading this I have a sense of journeying into the author s interior life, in a steamboat, chugging upstream The jungle closes in around us and fog descends on the water Cut the engine This is the Heart of Darkness The author s cry is short the horror, the horror.Golding was working as a teacher when he wrote Lord of the Flies and this is his second novel, which deals with a group of Neanderthals encountering a group of thesophisticated Cro Magnons Working as teacher and dealing with Reading this I have a sense of journeying into the author s interior life, in a steamboat, chugging upstream The jungle closes in around us and fog descends on the water Cut the engine This is the Heart of Darkness The author s cry is short the horror, the horror.Golding was working as a teacher when he wrote Lord of the Flies and this is his second novel, which deals with a group of Neanderthals encountering a group of thesophisticated Cro Magnons Working as teacher and dealing with schoolboys provided all the inspiration and material he needed for the two novels Thinking of them, I have a picture of a troubled man waist, then shoulder, deep in boys, only a slender cane to prevent the broiling mass of savagery from boiling over That savagery, however, was within him The fiction sprung from his head, fully formed and armed, not those of his pupils, who with their satchels and shining morning faces, unwilling crept to school.His first two books work together with The Inheritors reinforcing the point made by Lord of the Flies It is not simply that modern people are horrible they always were so, not just as children but even in prehistory We observe Golding s ancestors who will inherit the earth They lie, they are violent, they do and make strange things contrary to the natural order Their teeth remember the wolf They can harbour murderous intent against each other It is the Neanderthals who provide an optimistic picture of what humans might have been.The artistry of this novel is that, with the exception of the very end of the book, it is written from the point of view of the Neanderthals Golding seeks to take us in to the mind of one of them, Lok, perhaps the dimmest of the group The use of language has to be understandable but alien, unmodern Just as the story is set in England that is not yet England, but still Eden so too the language has to take us back before the Fall.Here are some examples that I ll set aside in spoiler text for the benefit of anyone who wishes to read this novel and find its surprises for themselves view spoiler Golding seeks to present what is explicable to us from the point of view of someone who has never who has never experience the like of them before, here our view point character is shot at Suddenly Lok understood that the man was holding the stick to him but neither he nor Lok could reach across the river He would have laughed if it were not for the echo of the screaming in his head The stick began to grow shorter at both ends Then it shot out to full length again.The dead tree by Lok s ear acquired a voice Clop His ears twitched and he turned to the tree By his face there had grown a twig p96here he is drunk The fall was roaring in the clearing, inside Lok s head The trees were moving faster He sprang to his feet and found that the ground was a perilous as a log He struck at a tree as it came past to keep it still and then he was lying on his back with the sky spinning over himp192 hide spoiler.Golding s Neanderthals, unlike his imagined children, are innocent and presented as part of the natural order They flow with the current and cannot conceive of any alternative The structure of their minds seems to prevent them from escaping innocence, they cannot break Nature s social union They seem even incapable of sexual violence towards each other a concern for Golding who assaulted a teenaged girl as a young man, you can see these first two novels as driven by the memory of that Nor will they kill an animal view spoiler except apparently frogs, frogs it seems, were fair game hide spoiler but will only scavenge those killed by other beasts.Their nature has to be sweet to be in absolute contrast to the modern humans These are creatures born of Thomas Hobbes imagination fearful, inventive and dangerous They are capable of anything, they travel against the current, up stream, up and over a waterfall They will not live in nature s embrace Yet the Neanderthals can only look on them with wonder, apprehension and love The introduction makes play with the difference between Golding s parents His father representing a rational and scientific outlook, his mother amystical and spiritual one In Lord of the Flies those elements are mixed among the boys here Golding creates a sense of a deeper cleavage, the mystical and the spiritual are modern human modes of being that don t seem even to approximate the Neanderthals pure existence in nature So completely a part of it that disobedience and sin would be impossible for them I am still not sure what to make of this novel, here is another genuine spoiler view spoiler the Homo Sapiens call the Neanderthals Devils and there is a long sequence in which Lok and the Neanderthal woman Fa are hidden in a tree and watch the doings of the new people They see the Old Man attempting to eat in private the meat he is hiding from the others, they see them getting drunk, they see the sex or rape or adultery between two of the New People Lok, watching is aroused Who else watches the new people and is aroused by their love Lucifer in Paradise Lost which Golding is playfully inverting here hide spoiler I read this twice in close succession I read it, then I read it again The two readings were necessary, and not because William Golding failed in any way, but because his novel, The Inheritors welcomes so much failure from his readers I don t say this lightly I taught this for the first time this year, and it was beyond my first year university students The Inheritors challenges It challenges readers to work hard It challenges readers to pay attention It challenges readers to empathize I read this twice in close succession I read it, then I read it again The two readings were necessary, and not because William Golding failed in any way, but because his novel, The Inheritors welcomes so much failure from his readers I don t say this lightly I taught this for the first time this year, and it was beyond my first year university students The Inheritors challenges It challenges readers to work hard It challenges readers to pay attention It challenges readers to empathize It challenges readers to think about themselves and humanity It challenges readers to consider other ways of seeing the world It challenges readers to question the things they hold true It challenges readers to look in the mirror It challenges readers to actually read The Inheritors is a damning criticism of us and what makes us us It is an attack on the civilizing drive of humans and a call to consider the wreckage we left behind and continue to create Mostly it is a scream into a vaccuum that swallows all sound, reminding me of my favourite contemporary authors, like ki hope, who can imagine others that the rest of us wouldn t even remember let alone imagine It reminds me how much I miss the people or that person that voice such important messages The Inheritors is a difficult read But a necessary one for anyone who cares about life and living William Golding has a very low opinion of the homo sapiens He has made it clear in Lord of the Flies, where a group of boys stranded on an island after a plane crash very soon revert to savagery In this book, Golding makes another damning accusation we are the dominant and successful species because of our savagery.The book is written from the POV of the Neanderthals, a species of hominids who disappeared from prehistory as humanity advanced triumphantly Even though we still do not know the William Golding has a very low opinion of the homo sapiens He has made it clear in Lord of the Flies, where a group of boys stranded on an island after a plane crash very soon revert to savagery In this book, Golding makes another damning accusation we are the dominant and successful species because of our savagery.The book is written from the POV of the Neanderthals, a species of hominids who disappeared from prehistory as humanity advanced triumphantly Even though we still do not know the reasons for their disappearance fully, Golding is pretty sure they were wiped out by the murderous homo sapiens In this book, we see these peaceful race ruthlessly subjugated and then wiped out by the stronger species.What Golding does through this narrative is not provide a plausible reason for the disappearance of the Neanderthals what he does is to hold a mirror up and force one to look inside oneself, on what makes one human And what the reader sees is not pleasant