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Close Quarters (To the Ends of the Earth #2)

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  329 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
The enthralling sequel to Golding's Booker Prize-winning 1980 novel, Rites of Passage, continuing the story of the 18th-century fighting ship carrying passengers and cargo from England to Australia.
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 1st 1987 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1987)
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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 ...more
Dec 29, 2008 Eric_W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nautical-fiction
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 an ...more
Kevin Darbyshire
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 unders ...more
Ronan Mcdonnell
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.
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 pa ...more
Crystal Redington
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
Steven Ward
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.
Lauren Davis
Jul 30, 2016 Lauren Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a classic, as are all three of the END OF THE WORLD novels. The symbolism alone makes it worth reading.
Jun 14, 2016 Alan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
1992 notebook: OK, seems slowish, too smug like the character Talbot. Liked the equator though.
Dec 04, 2013 Deanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
David Flett
A gently humorous foray into madness.
Derek Bridge
Aug 12, 2011 Derek Bridge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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".
Mar 19, 2012 Syme rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 10, 2013 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Easier language than 'Rites of Passage', but story not as intriguing. Still an interesting read.
Paul Heather
reading through the trilogy but didn't enjoy the second one much more than the first
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Sir William Gerald Golding was a British novelist, poet, and playwright best known for his 1954 novel Lord of the Flies. He was awarded the Booker Prize for literature in 1980 for his novel Rites of Passage, the first book of the trilogy To the Ends of the Earth. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983 and was knighted in 1988.

In 2008, The Times ranked Golding third on their list of
More about William Golding...

Other Books in the Series

To the Ends of the Earth (3 books)
  • Rites of Passage (To the Ends of the Earth, #1)
  • Fire Down Below (To the Ends of the Earth, #3)

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