Rites of Passage



by William Golding.Farrar Straus & Giroux, $10.95. The period is the tag end of the Napoleonic Wars and the characters are adults. These conditions permit Mr. Golding to amuse himself (but not necessarily the reader) with an imitation of Hanoverian prose and to include sexual adventures and aberrations in his novel. The novel is, however, essentially the story of a rich spoiled brat whose mind is broadened and whose character is improved by life at sea. One might do better to reread Captains Courageous.