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'Lord of the Flies' with girls

Dancing in Deep Water

Laure Van den Broeck

In ‘Dancing in Deep Water’, Laure Van den Broeck tests what William Golding considered to be impossible. According to Golding, if ‘Lord of the Flies’ were written with girls as the leading characters, they would never lower themselves to barbarism. Van den Broeck demonstrates in this powerful homage to Golding’s classic that this isn’t necessarily true.

Through the (poorly sighted) eyes of Bess, a somewhat chubby girl with asthma, we follow the affairs of a group of girls that finds itself on an apparently uninhabited island after an aeroplane disaster. Within the group, Rafa seems to possess the right capacities to become the leader: she emphasises how important it is to keep a big fire lit to be visible to ships and aeroplanes. But January has more charisma and convinces the majority of the girls that half the world is searching for them, that rescue is only a matter of days, and that they would be better off spending their time on the island enjoying themselves.

Anyone who has read ‘Lord of the Flies’ will know that deaths could occur. With ‘Dancing in Deep Water’, Van den Broeck has written a psychological page-turner that is exciting to the final page.

An extremely successful experiment with astute metaphor, ripe for translation into English