I hope you enjoyed the book quiz.
Here are the answers:
“The boy with the fair hair . . .” was the opening of Lord of the Flies, the masterpiece about how quickly we could return to savagery, written by William Golding.
Following a plane crash, a group of schoolboys find themselves on a desert island. Led by Ralph and Piggy, the boys attempt to form a democratic society, but this soon fails. Under the leadership of the dictator Jack, savagery rules, complete with primitive rites and ritual murder. Only with the arrival of a shocked rescue officer does the mask of civilisation return.
“I looked at my notes and I didn’t like them.” This brief sentence opens the sci-fi classic I, Robot by the doyen of the genre Isaac Asimov.
In 2057, aged 75 and retiring from from US Robots, Dr Susan Calvin gave an interview to a reporter from the Interplanetary Press. She talked about her life as a robopsychologist, during which time mere ‘calculating machines’ had been replaced by “spongy globes of plantinumiridium about the size of a human brain”, giving rise to independent, sensible and rational robots. It was her belief that these robots were more human than people and were what stood between mankind and destruction. I, Robot is a record of that interview and the stories about robots Susan Calvin had to tell.
“Cedric himself knew nothing whatever about it.” is the opening line of Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Born in New York, Cedric has lived a simple life with his beautiful, gentle mother since his father died. Now seven and greatly loved by his neighbourhood friends, Cedric is told that he has inherited the title of Lord Fauntleroy and the Earl, his grandfather, wishes him to come and live in England. The book recounts the story of how Cedric wins over his bad-tempered grandfather and takes up the position of man English aristocrat without losing any of his natural charm.
“The schoolmaster was leaving the village, and everybody seemed sorry.” begins the tale of Jude the Obscure, by Thomas |Hardy.
This was Hardy’s last work of fiction, a tragic story of ‘a deadly war waged between flesh and spirit’. It focuses on Jude Fawley, a young Wessex villager who, encouraged by his schoolmaster, dreams of studying at Christminster (Oxford). However, he becomes entangled with a barmaid who deserts him after bearing a son. He then falls in love with his cousin and lives with her in poverty and social disapproval. They have two children who are hanged by Jude’s first son and the novel ends with Jude returning to his barmaid and dying wretchedly before he reaches 30.
“Wilson sat on the balcony of the Bedford Hotel with his bald pink knees thrust against the ironwork.” lead us into Graham Greene’s The Heart of the Matter, which is set in West Africa during WW2 and centres on the Roman Catholic (a common theme in much of Greene’s work) deputy commissioner of police, Scobie; his unstable wife, Louise. Scobie becomes a victim of his own compassion for others and ends up planning to commit suicide which he attempts to conceal from his wife by fabricating a diary.