Read Close Quarters by William Golding Online


Following Rites of Passage, this is second of Golding's Sea Trilogy. Half-way to Australia in a wilderness of heat, stillness and sea mists, a ball is held on a becalmed ship. In this surreal atmosphere the passengers dance and flirt, while beneath them thickets of weed spread over the hull....

Title : Close Quarters
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780571191451
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Close Quarters Reviews

  • Sharon
    2019-03-31 07:48

    "Close Quarters" is the second volume of William Golding's 'To the Ends of the Earth' trilogy. In this volume, Edmund Talbot has completed his 'journal' which he was keeping for his godfather and embarks on a more personal narrative for the rest of his voyage. His voice changes significantly now that he is no longer writing for the benefit of his influential patron, becoming much less constrained and pompous. We begin to see who Edmund really is - a very young man of privilege who has led a sheltered, inexperienced life. That all changes now. Talbot gradually becomes on more and more familiar terms with both the ship's officers and his fellow passengers. He sees and goes through things that alter him permanently. He also encounters a young woman who he cannot forget. There are interpersonal dramas, shipwide tragedies, moments of both humor and dark despair. This is the crux of Talbot's voyage and his growth as a human being.I enjoyed this second volume much more than the first, doubtless because Talbot moves away from his pretensions and begins to grow into a man of experience and real feeling. The other characters are broad and colorful enough to fill any soap opera and the action is unrelenting.

  • George
    2019-04-11 02:59

    A well written story about Edmund Talbot, a young aristocrat, who writes a journal of his experiences on a ship bound for the Antipodes sometime in the 1800s (?). Talbot is an inexperienced young adult who learns a lot about the behaviour of a cross section of human society in the confined spaces of a weather beaten ship. There are a number of interesting characters and events to provide for an entertaining read. I enjoyed this story a little more than the Rites of Passage as Close Quarters is a more humorous novel. Close Quarters is the second in a series of three books about the voyage to Australia of a merchant ship carrying private passengers. Close Quarters can be read as a stand alone book.

  • Na Deela
    2019-04-23 03:47

    I actually read all three books in one volume, but since they won't be added separately to my 2017 Reading Challenge, I am adding them each manually, solely for that purpose. My actual review of the series is under the single volume, To the Ends of the Earth.

  • Eric_W
    2019-04-01 01:43

    One should never ignore any nautical fiction – or non-fiction for that matter. There are so many classics. William Golding (of Lord of the Flies fame) won all sorts of prizes including the prestigious English Booker Prize for Rites Of Passage, I stumbled across its sequel, entitled Close Quarters in a bibliography of books about the sea. Both books recreate life aboard a nineteenth century sailing vessel as seen through the eyes of Edmund Talbot, a passenger on his way to the Antipodes. Rites and Close Quarters are narrated in the form of his journal. Rites ends with the mysterious death of Robert Collev, a clergyman on board, Ironically, Close Quarters, the sequel, begins with Talbot's qualification that he nolonger has any story to tell. Wrong.The ship is severely damaged during a freak squall because of the inaction of a drunken mate. Becalmed after the storm, they drift close to another British ship bound for India whose captain reports that the war with France (subject of all those O'Brian and Forester novels) is over. The crews and passengers use the ships' proximity and lack of momentum to celebrate the end of the war with a dance. Talbotfalls in love with one of the other ship's passengers, momentarily causing him to contemplate abandoning his prospective career in the Antipodes. That momentary love affair colors his actions for the rest of the voyage.Wind arrives suddenly and the ships must continue on their way. Golding must have done his research, for the setting rings true. Eighteenth century ships were micro-universes, at the mercy of the sea, waves and wind. There is a vivid scene as Talbot makes his way below decks toward the bow, inthe darkness of the hold, the only light supplied by swinging lanterns providing tiny beacons as the shiprolls wildly, its motion intensified by the damaged masts. Much shorter from the wind damage, they increased the rocking motion of the ship, much as the oscillations of a pendulum are much quicker, the shorter the pendulum. A completely dismasted ship "can have a roll so brief there is no living within it," explains one of the crew.Soon Talbot's philosophical speculations become intertwined with seasickness, sloping decks and the realization that the ship is in danger of sinking. The ship's carpenter poking around, looking for spreading planks does not increase his confidence. Nor does the movement of the deck as the waves slide under the keel. The lieutenants reveal they no longer are able to sail before the wind and must rely on the currents to drift them "downhill" (as he is told to reassure the other passengers) until they reach Australia. Unfortunately, how they get there Golding postpones to the third volume. Creep!

  • Judith
    2019-04-19 01:39

    In retrospect I wish I had read the volumes first and then seen the 3 part movie. However, having seen the movie, some of the dialogue is now clearer (would that I had CC on my disk) and I understand now the shock the ship's crew and passengers had at seeing the wooden "thing" rise from the ocean. After a hiatus of some years from volume 1, Golding was able to pick up the character and diction of Talbot very well. He has grown some in discretion (albeit very little) and continues to be reckless of himself, several times being seriously hurt. He is naive and impetuously in love. What the movie does clarify is the beauty of the ships' ball scene. The other characters continue to be of interest, particularly Lt. Sommers. He was surprised at the young age of Talbot, so I do wonder how old Talbot is. Old enough that his family have made some plans about his marriage (he needs to marry money as his family's coffers are slim). I would expect that he is at least 21, but less than 25. That age range is not unusual for young men to be trying to advance their career so I wonder about Sommers' surprise. Summer's could have started his career at age 12 as a ship's boy; future officers began their careers as midshipmen by age 12. Certainly by age 21 or even 18 such men would have seen action and been expected to handle a lot of responsibility. Perhaps Sommers is surprised that at Talbot's age, Talbot is still so immature....

  • Andy Todd
    2019-04-12 03:47

    Sequel to 'Rites of Passage'. Elegant, controlled writing from a master.

  • Calzean
    2019-04-02 02:41

    A bit easier to read than the first Book in the series. The aristocrat, Edmund Talbot, suffers concussion and his fellow ship mates find him a bit easier to live with. The ship is dismasted and meets another British naval vessel on which Talbot falls in love with one of the passengers. Talbot then pines for the rest of the book as his love of his life sails off to India and he continues his slow voyage to Sydney. The ship is slowly falling apart and there is an air of doom around the crew and passengers. There is a suicide towards the end of the story as one crewman does not want to experience the drowning which all expect. Life on the voyage is described in a masterly way, and although not much happens in this book, Golding has delivered a story in which the salt water is tasted, the roll of the ship is felt and the need to find comfort in alcohol or laudanum considered a proper thing to do.

  • Kevin Darbyshire
    2019-03-25 08:59

    Not as enjoyable as the first book in the trilogy but still gripping. Golding manages to convey the feelings of almost total panic that Talbot experiences underneath the calm exterior. Surprising at the end because we learn the fate of the ship before we have the next instalment of the story. I am now starting the last book in the series "Fire Down Below". I would definitely recommend these books but advise that they are not "light" reading and the reader need to concentrate hard to fully understand what is happening.

  • Deanne
    2019-04-15 01:08

    Join Edmund Talbot on his continuing journey to Sydney cove. It's the early 1800's on board a vessel that appears to be leaking like the proverbial sieve. Edmund, our accident prone hero has decided to write down his experiences as he travels south, the doldrums, storms etc.There's also the growing sense of dread as he and the ship move south, hard to put down and fortunately I've got the third part of the trilogy in my hot little hands. Golding is a great story teller and I do wonder about his other books, may have to have a scout around the local library.

  • Crystal Redington
    2019-03-27 01:54

    I first fell in love with to the ends of trilogy by starting the book Rites of passage and loved how Edmund Talbot started his journey. Now in Close Quarters, Edmund and the ship Pandora are halfway there into the voyage. Little do they know more surprises, await them and the question is can they survive the rest of the journey and each other or will it be a ship of madness. Definately the book worth reading

  • Derek Bridge
    2019-04-02 04:54

    Aside from a late and explosive death, nothing much happens in this, the second volume in Golding's To the Ends of the Earth trilogy. And yet it is clever, deep and thoroughly engrossing. Talbot the narrator starts a new journal, his tone reflecting his enhanced self-awareness, but still revealing his emotional immaturity. And the ship, encumbered by weed, when scraped, brings forth something dark from beneath.

  • Ronan Mcdonnell
    2019-03-25 06:38

    The difficult second novel (in a series).The description is dense, but the narrative is disjointed. The protagonist walks around asserting his aristocratic credentials and being disorientated, like a lesser Lord Byron, whom he himself references. There are fantastic passages and great ideas - two ships adrift in the doldrums tie themselves together to put on a ball. But then the ship begins to tear itself apart, while the action never seems immediate. The story peters out.

  • Steven Ward
    2019-04-22 04:02

    Others have covered the narrative. For me, this was another good Golding consideration of human nature. It takes a while to get going but, about 1/3 way in, you start to get little vignettes of discreet personae, each acting in certain ways according to his/her character and personal interest. Not as intense as Lord of the Flies, less of a trajectory than in The Spire. A pace and narrative appropriate to a ship going nowhere.

  • Peter
    2019-04-21 01:55

    A well conceived and equally well written lead character is developed in this book which follows on well from the first volume although it fails to grip your attention for more than a few pages at a time. It's good literature but not a very good novel, if that isn't self contradictory!Still not as good as "The Lord of the Flies".

  • Syme
    2019-04-06 02:57

    Not as thrilling as Rites of Passage, but still a very enjoyable read. Golding is a master at describing the social life, he doesn't need many events to happen to make a fine read. Immediately after finishing this book, I started Fire Down Below. That must say something.

  • David Flett
    2019-04-05 04:02

    A gently humorous foray into madness.

  • David
    2019-04-02 06:51

    This is book two of the sea-faring trilogy. A good book but an essential read to get to book 3 - Fire Down Below - which is the best by far.

  • Alan
    2019-04-15 04:54

    1992 notebook: OK, seems slowish, too smug like the character Talbot. Liked the equator though.

  • Lauren Davis
    2019-03-23 08:56

    This book is a classic, as are all three of the END OF THE WORLD novels. The symbolism alone makes it worth reading.

  • Paul Heather
    2019-03-23 09:04

    reading through the trilogy but didn't enjoy the second one much more than the first