Pincher Martin is the third novel by William Golding (author of Lord of the Flies). When it was originally published in the United States, its title was changed to The Two Deaths of Christopher Martin, but later it was returned to its British name. It develops the themes introduced in Lord of the Flies concerning the cruelty at the basic nature of mankind underneath the thin veneer of civilization. The name "Pincher" comes from the Royal Navy tradition of giving that nickname to any sailor with the surname "Martin".
Mesmerising stuff. Flagged by Golding's biographer as his best writing. I am retreating into its pages when I want to forget things.
From Golding's website:
The most extraordinarily imagined of all Golding's works, this is the anti-hero as hero; fighting a lone and hopeless battle for survival as a castaway on a bare rock in the North Atlantic, with ingenuity, courage and -- most terrible of all -- a growing awareness of the real nature of the struggle he is engaged in. The story contains some of Golding's most forceful writing: the eye-opening practicalities of such a situation, the memories of a bitter and ruthlessly selfish past, the complexities and simplicities of being human, and above all the utter refusal to accept defeat even at the hands of God - all are portrayed here with an immediate and physical exactness that precludes detachment. The novel is a modern Faust.