Dan Sandman

25: An Egyptian Journal by William Golding

In Autobiography, Books, Non-Fiction, Travel on 17/06/2016 at 12:00 pm

An Egyptian Journal by William GoldingIn his later years, William Golding was asked by his publisher to write a travel book about Egypt. Setting course along the Nile with his wife Ann, Golding kept a journal of his daily experiences on board ship and on shore, which he subsequently used as material for this book. In addition to his journal, Golding took photographs for inclusion in the final publication. The final result was a highly readable piece of prolonged journalism which explored Egypt’s ancient ruins and political present.

Throughout, we are treated to rare insights into the mind of a much-loved writer. What comes across is Golding’s often self-effacing sense of humour; especially when he writes about his meeting with the Secretary for Culture (where both sides knowingly downplay their own importance). Also present is the writer’s humanism, which is rooted by the liberal tradition of the writers that preceded him. Golding has the ability to see past the ‘pharoni’ (phony tourist things), and to highlight the human experience of the Egyptian people he meets.

My mother and I found this beautifully made, secondhand book downstairs in Foyles bookshop on Charring Cross Road last January. Being an avid reader, my mother read it before I did; and for a while now, it has taken residence within her collection. However, as will inevitably happen — after being side-tracked for several months by other readily endeavors — I am finally about to finish Golding’s singular foray into travel writing.

The final pages ready themselves for turning past numbered chapters.

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