Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Magus by John Fowles

Moving on in the books published in 1966 in 1001 Books we come to the seriously hard to follow and then hard to forget, The Magus by John Fowles. The 1968 film version starring Michael Caine is just as confusing with Caine himself saying that no one knew what it was all about. Despite this intro, it is a book worth reading.


Combining grey London and sun-soaked Greece, the novel follows Nicholas Urfe as travels to teach English on a Greek island. He endures a stage-managed masque that just when the reader feels they are on top of has another misunderstanding/confusion to undermine our confidence and Nicholas's in the interpretation of what is really going on. In Greece there is the confusion surrounding twins and psychology and ambiguity plays a large role.

Fowles, born in 1926, himself taught English in Greece after leaving university which inspired the novel. An outstanding pupil, it was at university after completing military service that, inspired by Sartre and Camus, he became interested in writing and questioned both himself and the establishment. Although The Magus was Fowles' first book he started writing, both The Collector and The Aristos were published before it.

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