1. ds says:

    Jesus, what a dim review. “I literally couldn’t stop reading.” Christ. Literally?

  2. steve jacobson says:

    as you can see by my email I read “The Magus” when it first came out and was unable to put it down. I have since re- read it many times and it is indeed one of the best books that I have ever read. You might be interested in the fact that a movie was made with Anthony Quinn as Conchise and Candice Bergen as the twins with Michael Caine as Nick Urfe. the movie was a boxoffice dud, I thought it good and the casting great. I met Candice Bergen several years after the movie was made and complimented her. Her response, as I remember it was “you are full of shit”

  3. Spencer Rose says:

    Regardless of what ‘ds’ says – whose criticisms are somehow less imaginative than his name – I actually enjoyed this review. Your tenuous reasoning for reading the book in the first paragraph, building up to the line: “This book changed everything,” is perfectly pitched and laced with enticement for reading the rest of this piece.

    I think it’s a particularly tricky book to sum up without dropping spoilers (BTW both you and ‘steve jacobson’ have killed the ‘twins revelation’, damn you!) because the subject matter does sound dull when you describe it to a friend.

    You sold it really well because I’ve been trying to get my girlfriend to read it for ages and it was this review that swayed her. She, like you, thought the start was dull and then couldn’t wait for what would unfold.

    I think I had a very similar experience to you when I read it – although I don’t speak French (and did happily skip over the passages that I didn’t understand, only to come back to them on a second reading and translate them) this certainly didn’t detract from the novel.

    I first read it when I was twenty-one and although I thought Nicholas was a bit of a douche, I also identified with the decisions and thought processes that he goes through to try and unravel the mystery.

    I think the cleverness of the book is that at a certain point, as the reader, you realise that you become the Nicholas character trying to fathom out what’s going on and Fowles conducts as the Conchis character, playing games with your own intelligence and critical thinking.

    Sure, it’s pretentious at times; it’s also convoluted and occasionally stretches the parameters of plausibility but it’s also a sublime piece of storytelling with twists and turns that regularly stunned and forced me to put the book down just to gather some composure.

    Good stuff. =]

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