As much as I like and admire William Golding’s work, “Darkness Visible” missed a beat for me. It almost felt as if his characters had gifted him with multiple themes yet he hadn’t been able to exactly settle on the central one when he was writing it. Thus the focus seems to shift been the main characters as they vie to be ‘first among equals’ (or even ‘last among equals’), and possibly as a result the ending comes across as a little hasty, a rushed attempt to tie up all the themes and plot strands into a nice neat bow.
Perhaps such an assessment is unfair, but unlike some of his other work – “The Spire”, for example – “Darkness Visible” doesn’t seem to have the same focussed clarity about it. No doubt there is a great deal of darkness in the book, some of it real and physical (Mr Pedigree) and some less tangible (Matty). Obviously, the twins are supposed to be dark too, but I found them far less convincing.
Having said all that, if you’re a William Golding fan then you’ve probably already read it and love it – and if you haven’t, you probably should!