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The Collector (1963) is disturbing, engrossing, unforgettable -- the story of an obsessive young man and the girl he kidnaps and holds prisoner in his cellar.
"A masterpiece....Fowles is the only writer in English who has the power, range, knowledge, and wisdom of a Tolstoy or James" (John Gardner, Saturday Review).The eponymous hero of John Fowles's largest and richest novel is an English playwright turned Hollywood screenwriter who has begun to question his own values. Summoned home to England to visit an ailing friend, Daniel Martin finds himself back in the company of people who once knew him well, forced to confront his buried past, and propelled toward a journey of self-discovery through which he ultimately creates for himself a more satisfying existence. A brilliantly imagined novel infused with a profound understanding of human nature, Daniel Martin is John Fowles at the height of his literary powers.
The Ebony Tower, comprising a novella, three stories, and a translation of a medieval French tale, echoes themes from John Fowles's internationally celebrated novels as it probes the fitful relations between love and hate, pleasure and pain, fantasy and reality.
Perhaps the most beloved of Fowles's internationally bestselling works, The French Lieutenant's Woman is a feat of seductive storytelling that effectively invents anew the Victorian novel. "Filled with enchanting mysteries and magically erotic possibilities" (New York Times), the novel inspired the hugely successful 1981 film starring Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons and is today universally regarded as a modern classic.
In 1963 John Fowles won international recognition with his first published novel The Collector. But his roots as a serious writer can be traced back long before to the journal he began as a student at Oxford in the late 1940s and continued to keep faithfully over the next half century. Written with an unsparing honesty and forthrightness, it reveals the inner thoughts and creative development of one of the twentieth century's most innovative and important novelists. This first-hand account of the road to fame and fortune holds the reader's attention with all the narrative power of the novels, but also offers an invaluable insight into the intimate relationship between Fowles's own life and his fiction.
In the spring of 1736 four men and one woman, all traveling under assumed names, are crossing the Devonshire countryside en route to a mysterious rendezvous. Before their journey ends, one of them will be hanged, one will vanish, and the others will face a murder trial. Out of the truths and lies that envelop these events, John Fowles has created a novel that is at once a tale of erotic obsession, an exploration of the conflict between reason and superstition, an astonishing act of literary legerdemain, and the story of the birth of a new faith.
Filled with shocks and chilling surprises, The Magus is a masterwork of contemporary literature. In it, a young Englishman, Nicholas Urfe, accepts a teaching position on a Greek island where his friendship with the owner of the islands most magnificent estate leads him into a nightmare. As reality and fantasy are deliberately confused by staged deaths, erotic encounters, and terrifying violence, Urfe becomes a desperate man fighting for his sanity and his life. A work rich with symbols, conundrums and labrinthine twists of event, The Magus is as thought-provoking as it is entertaining, a work that ranks with the best novels of modern times.
If you, like I, have read an awful lot of books, a real treasure is one in which you aren't sure what is going on, have no idea where it's going, grabs your attention and interest from multiple directions (many times simultaneously) and will not allow you to stop reading. Fowles has been consistent in offering such gems, though some works more successful than others. "Mantissa" (the term refers to the numbers to the left portion of the decimal point in a logarithm - from the Greek for the lesser part of a phenomena) is barely 192 pages long. Miles Green and his Muse, Erato, are in a continual sturgle for recognition, sexual gratification, intellectual combat, and deep, deep, treacherous love. I found myself stopping startled in my reading, recognizing the words and gestures described of Erato's behavior as identical to relations I've experienced. Erato is the actual Greek Muse - a minor divinity who inspires Aristophenes,Shakespeare, Homer, Virgil, T.S.Eliot and countless others to the hieghts of their creative powers. Or so she says. The book is gossipy about the greatest authors of all time - they are dismissed the way your current lover describes old, failed loves. I suggest you read this at one sitting. it's *very* erotic, but there only as prelude and coda to the conflict. It's the heartwarning story of a man and his Muse. For men and women of all intrests.
John Fowles (1926-2005) is widely regarded as one of the preeminent English novelists of the twentieth century-his books have sold millions of copies worldwide, been turned into beloved films, and been popularly voted among the 100 greatest novels of the century. To a smaller yet no less passionate audience, Fowles is also known for having written The Tree, one of his few works of nonfiction. First published a generation ago, it is a provocative meditation on the connection between the natural world and human creativity, and a powerful argument against taming the wild. In it, Fowles recounts his own childhood in England and describes how he rebelled against his Edwardian father's obsession with the "quantifiable yield" of well-pruned fruit trees and came to prize instead the messy, purposeless beauty of nature left to its wildest. The Tree is an inspiring, even life-changing book, like Lewis Hyde's The Gift, one that reaffirms our connection to nature and reminds us of the pleasure of getting lost, the merits of having no plan, and the wisdom of following one's nose wherever it may lead-in life as much as in art.
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