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The Double Tongue

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  600 ratings  ·  35 reviews
The Double Tongue is William Golding's last and perhaps most superbly imaginative novel. It is a fictional memoir of an aged prophetess at Delphi, the most sacred oracle of ancient Greece, just prior to Greece's domination by the Roman Empire. As a young girl, Arieka is ugly, unconventional, a source of great shame to her uppity parents, who fear they'll never marry her of ...more
Paperback, 165 pages
Published October 1st 1999 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1995)
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Mar 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book did feel a bit incomplete and unfinished. Because it was incomplete and unfinished. Because the author died before he had a final manuscript. In spite of that, this book is brilliant.

First he gives an incredibly sympathetic portrait of a young girl. Then he perfectly portrays that young girl becoming the Pythia. And finally, through the narrative, of a believing woman who was used by the gods.

I have read this book at least four, probably five times, and every time I read it, I pick u
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bilinmeyen Tanrıya....
"Arieka, a Pítia, é um retrato convincente da experiência de uma mulher, coisa rara na obra de Golding, constituindo uma das suas melhores criações."

Trouxe este livro da biblioteca por acaso ... e simplesmente porque na capa dizia "Prémio Nobel" ... estava desesperada e nenhum livro me chamava à atenção e pensei ... se o autor ganhou um Nobel é porque tem de ser Muito Bom, agarrei no livro e requisitei-o. Bendita a hora em que o fiz!

Adorei o livro do princípio ao fim.

Mas tenho de admitir que alg
Callista Hunter
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was going to give this book 4 stars, as it has clearly been published as a first draft and could have achieved greater things if Golding had gotten the chance to revise and develop it.

However, even though it hasn't reached its full potential, to me it is a five-star book. It is still going to be one of the best books I will read in 2015.

I was deeply impressed with the sensitivity and empathy Golding showed when writing in the voice of a young girl. This book is really about womanhood, and its
The Idle Woman
Charming and light, with a very engaging narrative voice - but this novel was left unfinished at Golding's death and it shows it. Disjointed and brief, it feels like a sequence of vignettes and an experimentation in character rather than a full-fledged novel. Having said that, there's still a lot to enjoy here.

For a full review please head over to my blog:
Mar 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brits
It was a nice idea to make a novel about how ancient priests and priestess were feeling and thinking. Too bad that the novel is not finished, because I am sure it had addition charm. This way the novel is interesting, but nothing more.
Tarık Şahım
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oldukça etkileyici bir Antik roman haline gitirilmis, son derece güzel kurgulanmış. Başarılı bir eser olduğunu düşünüyorum. Tavsiye ederim.
Naia❄ Pard⛄
Cartea asta nu ar fi trebuit să vadă lumina tiparului. Nu pentru că nu ar fi bună, ci pentru că nu a apucat să fie ,,binecuvântată” de către autorul ei. Nu e terminată. E ca o casă cu fundația abia uscată, cu acoperișul încă urcat pe schele. Te-ai muta într-o astfel de casă în mijlocul lui ianuarie? Eu nu.

William Golding a murit înanite să apuce să-și aducă cartea la nivelul de ,,pregătit pentru editură”. Mi se pare aproape o încălcare a sanctității dintre autor și lucrarea sa, publicarea fără
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: antiquitycore
As Golding's last book, it's interesting that he tried something he'd never done before with a female protagonist. Supposedly Golding's later drafts were typically quite close to the final product, but this book feels quite thin, like there's a lot of depth that's there if only it were explored a bit. I got a good sense of Arieka's personality, but only a little bit of Ionides. Given the autobiography format, I guess that's asking a bit too much. This is one of those circumstances where you can' ...more
Oct 08, 2017 rated it liked it
On one hand it's almost hard to believe this book is just a first draft, on the other I'm sure it would have felt more complete had Mr Golding revised it, but I'm still not too convinced I would have enjoyed it more than I did. It was nice to learn about the oracle and history and mythology surrounding it, but I didn't like either of the two main characters Arieka and Ionides, and Golding's inner monologue as Arieka just wasn't my cup of tea (especially in the beginning).
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ancient-history
Really interesting concept, although it was only a first draft
Christopher Law
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Christopher by: Found it on a library shelf
I heartily recommend this. It is an early draft - Golding died - but it hangs together brilliantly.

Some rudimentary knowledge of the Classical world helps, because Golding was a show-off.
Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
Golding's first and most famous novel was the visionary Lord of the Flies (1954), which I had the good fortune to study at GCSE. Golding's last novel was the little-read Double Tongue, left in draft form at the time of his death in 1993.

Golding had a lifelong interest in ancient Greece and could read ancient Greek but he never wrote about it until The Double Tongue. It's set at the time of the decline of Greece in its final, classical, period, when the Roman Empire was expanding, absorbing the c
Christian Geiger
Jun 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Double Tongue is a book about Arieka. Arieka is not pretty, and even though she has a huge dowry, nobody will want to marry her. In Ancient Greece women were not respected and Arieka soon learned this. When a nasty guy wanted to marry her she tried to run away, it didn't work. Arieka finds hereself praying to the gods, but doesn't get much response. Just a half cooked fish and some healing. Then the important Ionides Pesistrades comes and takes her away to become the next Pythia - very impor ...more
Nov 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Double Tongue was an odd one for me. When I set down the book I remember thinking to myself "I liked this. Didn't I?" Part of this ambivalence is no doubt due to the incomplete nature of the manuscript - Golding died prior to finishing it, and we can only guess at what his intentions were regarding changes or revisions.

At the same time, The Double Tongue has a great deal to offer by way of thoughtful commentary and reflection on the nature of divinity and religious experience. At no point does G
Feb 16, 2010 rated it liked it
This book was left unfinished by Golding, although the manuscript was believed to be more or less complete. I liked the early part of the book: the plot had me hooked, particularly the two central characters. It is an aspect of ancient history that has been largely ignored in modern fiction. However, I was disappointed with the way the characters were developed, and felt hustled towards the end. The book could probably have been twice as long without the quality suffering.
Sep 04, 2014 rated it liked it
It's always hard to rate a book that's been published posthumously. This was the 2nd or 3rd draft but Golding certainly wasn't finished writing it. It had a lot of potential and I would have loved to have a chance to read the finished product. I'm researching Delphi for something I'm doing and there was some good information here for me to follow up on. It's worth a peek for sure....
May 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
I loved this book - given that it was his first draught (not sure why they didn't publish 2nd or 3rd) it was so polished, there was only one part which I felt was out of kilter, where there's a dinner party and much discussion about Rome etc. probably a few more edits and this would have be smoothed out. A great read with really interesting and challenging characters.
Derek Bridge
Aug 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's no doubting that there is an unfinished feel to this novel, in draft at Golding's death. But it is still compelling, fizzing with ideas as all Golding's novels. The layers of hypocrisy, the interplay of pragmatism and latent faith, are at its core.
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
Život nije loš. On je nepodnošljiv, a to nije isto.
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Um decepção de leitura, demasiado maçador. Esperava mais.
Oct 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mooi boek, de psychologie van de hoofdpersoon was overtuigend. Ik ben benieuwd naar zijn andere boeken.
David Flett
May 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very entertaining.
Jun 24, 2012 rated it liked it
ну, я верю, что если бы Голдинг не умер во время работы над этим романом, в итоге все было бы куда лучше. но в такой версии - занудно и ожидаемо.
May 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like the other of Golding's novels I've read, this is deeply thoughtful and affecting. Especially so given that is a posthumously published first draft. Wonderful.
Oct 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
wonderfully and wittily well written. He is a jenius!
One of the best novels on ancient Greece I've read!
Martin Roberts
Jan 08, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sorry, couldn't get to grips with this.
Apr 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
William Golding deserved the Nobel prix for literature. When someone has a gift what they do seems to be effortless. He has that gift. Thank you for enriching my life. (Kristin)

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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.
Golding spent two years in Oxford focusing on sciences; however, he changed his educational emphasis to English literature, especially Anglo-Saxon.
During World War II, he was part of the Royal Navy which he left five years later. His bellic experience strongly influenced his fut