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The Inheritors is set at the dawn of human existence, during a prehistoric time. Many have agreed that Golding’s account of the final defeat of the last Neanderthal individuals at the hands of the emergent human race is very powerfully imagined. The triumphs and disasters of the future are tragically implicit in this evocation of the conquest of this earlier, gentler group by the homo sapiens, a new, weapon-using race – our ancestors! Golding favoured this work above all his others and it was also a favourite of the critics, who saw it as a logical extension of “Lord of the Flies.”

The Inheritors

Published by Harvest Books
ISBN-13: 978-0156443791

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4 Responses to “The Inheritors”

  1. RUTH Says:

    I am reading William Golding’s The Inheritors and am finding it fascinating and very enjoyable. Far from being rough brutes, Golding depicts the Neanderthals as showing great tenderness towards each other and having a keen understanding of their interaction with the environment. What I have read so far suggests he is rather disappointed that the Neanderthals died out. If they did … Ruth

    Rachel Reply:

    I was really surprised and delighted with Golding’s depiction of the Neanderthals and the underlying statement that Homo Sapiens really are the earth’s biggest predatory parasite! Not all evolution is for the best then.

  2. Margaret Says:

    Unfortunately, I found ‘The Inheritors’ boring. The descriptions of the terrain were lengthy and I could not visualise it which I found inhibited my connection with the novel. Golding puts the reader in the the place of the Neanderthal so that we see events through their eyes but with limited intelligence. Again, I found it difficult to visualise. I agree that Golding was skillful in his craft but this work was not for me. The only time I connected with the writing was when the ‘new one’ was trying to suckle at Vivani’s breast which emphasised the ultimate fate of the Neanderthals.

  3. Clare Says:

    This novel became more compelling as I got further into it and became used to Golding’s clever way of portraying the type of cognition the Neanderthals may have had. His idea that they would ” Have a picture” which would come to first one and then the others in the group, really worked and there was a wonderful feeling that these first humans were innocent creatures ruled by two good wise elders, Mal and the Old woman. Golding did his work well because I was genuinely shocked when Ha disappeared and gradually it became obvious that he had been killed by the hunters. It was clever too when Lok did not recognise an arrow for what it was – we only wake up to its deadly significance when Lok has described it carefully but he sees it as a “gift” which the hunters are sending him! There was quite a cosy feel of the little group gathered around the fire, even though the food they were cooking was gross by our standards. Nevertheless the author was amazingly clever to make these people who were so “other” quite personable – it was awful to hear that Nil (mother of the baby) had been shot (as reported by Fa) and to see the description of the Old Woman’s body turning in the river. As far as Darwin was concerned – well the fact that this group were mown down so easily showed that they could not keep pace and adapt to the new world. It was clever though the way the 2 infants were left with the tribe and you knew that the Neanderthal blood would live on through them.