John Fowles is among the best writers of this century, and "The Magus" is his finest novel. It's narrative is utterly compelling, with vivid settings, interesting characters and fabulous plot twists. But what makes this book so special is Fowles' ability to seamlessly incorporate his wide-ranging knowledge of a variety of disciplines (art, philosophy, history, mythology, etc.) into the story without seeming heavy-handed or didactic. I have re-read "The Magus" many times over the years and always come away with something new--such is the richness of Fowles' prose. Likewise, I have recommended it to many friends; some have simply appreciated it as "a great story," while many others have felt that it changed their lives. My advice to anyone about to read "The Magus" is this: don't be overly concerned about "getting it" or understanding the ending. The whole point is to learn, as Nicholas does in the book, that the hazard of life cannot always be easily explained in black and white terms. Enjoy the book, take from it what it gives you...and you too will begin to become a "Magus."
Engrossing exploration of love, betrayal and accountability
It's been a few years since I read The Magus, so the details are a little fuzzy in my mind. However, what is important is that I remember very well the impact that the book had on me: it shocked me and made me look at myself in great detail, which is a very rare thing in a work of literature.
Fowles is the greatest post-war English author and one of the greats of the twentieth century, a real literary heavyweight. Although The Collector was published first, The Magus was the first novel that Fowles wrote, and it is an amazingly ambitious effort. The novel encompasses Greek tragedy, the absence of moral responsibility and accountability in war-time and the unacceptably laissez faire attitude to morality that has become increasingly prevalent in modern Western culture. He exposes his fairly mediocre protagonist to all sorts of intellectual and moral tests, and truly dazzles the reader with the breadth of his ideas and the depth of his insight into morality. The psychological torture that Nicholas is subjected to in order to learn his lesson is fascinatingly cruel and you can't help feeling sorry for him by the end - he really doesn't understand what has happened to him.
And the denouement is astonishing.
the last lines of the book
I love this book, for it is, as someone else said, a challenging book. The answers aren't clearly written and the characters actually have mystery and depth that makes them real.
For those curious, the last two lines (in latin) are from one of the earliest poems ever discovered, by an unknown author.
The lines translated pretty literally mean, "Tomorrow let him love, who has not loved / and he who has loved, tomorrow let him love."
Great book, and for those who don't know, the insipration for the 1997 film, "The Game", starring michael douglas, was originally inspired by this novel.
Web Reviews for The Magus
According to a search performed on 2005-06-20 10:10:38, 881 websites matched the query '"The Magus" "book reviews"'. Following is the top 5 results returned
... OMG the Chrono Cross opening is great, and I love the Chrono Trigger ending, and I LOVE the Magus Battle music from Trigger, and I LOOOOOOOOVE Eyes on Me from ...
Hate The Magus
According to a search performed on 2005-06-20 10:10:42, 2 websites matched the query '"I hate The Magus"'. This result is 7 (or 77.78 percent) less than the opinions of Love The Magus. Following is the top 2 results returned
... And I"ll gladly pay to see Zamato. I hate the Magus Sisters and I don't see why they had to be the strongest aeons. _____. Reply With Quote. ...
Popularity Rating for The Magus
According to a search performed on 2005-06-20 10:10:44, 12400 websites matched the query '"The Magus"'. This is the SERCount Popularity Rating for The Magus, in other words, the number of results returned from the search engine (e.g. Google). Following is the top 5 results returned