Reading Fowles

A Maggot was the first book by John Fowles I had read. It was his last novel, published in 1985. Soon afterwards, I read The French Lieutenant’s Woman, first published in 1969. Much later, I added The Collector (1963) to the list. A few days ago, I finished The Magus, first published in 1965 and republished, revised, in 1977, but – according to some sources – written for the most part before The Collector. Some call The Magus Fowles’s first novel.

Four novels read in the reverse order of their writing. A Maggot swept me off my feet. Scenes from The French Lieutenant’s Woman keep coming back to my inner imaginarium. I didn’t quite get the point of The Collector. And, to complete the descent, there’s something disgusting about The Magus. Rick Gekoski calls it “the only book I have ever thrown out of a window,” and I might have done the same if I’d had a paper copy. All’s well; Daniel Martin is probably worth giving a try.

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