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The Magus (Vintage Classics) [Kindle Edition]

John Fowles
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

On a remote Greek Island, Nicholas Urfe finds himself embroiled in the deceptions of a master trickster. As reality and illusion intertwine, Urfe is caught up in the darkest of psychological games. John Fowles expertly unfolds a tale that is lush with over-powering imagery in a spellbinding exploration of human complexities. By turns disturbing, thrilling and seductive, The Magus is a feast for the mind and the senses.


Product Description

Review

"A major work of mounting tensions in which the human mind is the guinea-pig... Mr Fowles has taken a big swing at a difficult subject and his hits are on the bull's eye" (Sunday Telegraph)

"A deliciously toothsome celebration of wanton story-telling" (Sunday Times)

"A splendidly sustained piece of mystification" (Financial Times)

"One of those that's best read as a teenager, but once read you'll never forget it" (Katy Guest The Independent)

Review

A major work of mounting tensions in which the human mind is the guinea-pig... Mr Fowles has taken a big swing at a difficult subject and his hits are on the bull's eye Sunday Telegraph A deliciously toothsome celebration of wanton story-telling Sunday Times A splendidly sustained piece of mystification Financial Times

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1223 KB
  • Print Length: 658 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B00FAMB02U
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital; New Ed edition (31 Oct. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0048EK3VK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #9,746 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The conjuror’s greatest illusion 23 Feb. 2004
Format:Paperback
Upon learning that The Magus had won a place in the BBC’s Top One-Hundred Books list, I decided to give it a read. It is often – quite rightly – referred to as a cult classic, and it is only around two hundred pages into the book that it becomes clear why.
The story follows a young teacher by the name of Nicholas Urfe. Deciding he wishes to get away from dreary London, Nicholas takes a job on the sparsely populated Greek island of Phraxos. As his departure date draws nearer, the young Mr Urfe becomes reluctant to leave his Australian girlfriend Alison (a character who, although rarely making an appearance, becomes more and more significant as the book progresses). He does leave however, and although captivated by the island’s majestic scenery and untouched landscape, he finds he is incredibly lonely with only one of his fellow schoolmasters to easily converse with. Out walking one day, Nicholas spots a charming villa and decides to go for a closer look. This, as he puts it himself, is ‘when the mysteries began.’
The other main character of the book is a rather eccentric elderly gentleman by the name of Maurice Conchis. Conchis, it is revealed later in the book, is the Magus (being the magician figure in the Tarot pack), and he takes great pleasure in bringing said mysteries before Nicholas. Conchis introduces his new friend to a young lady he calls Lily. This may seem perfectly normal, but it is only when you take into account that the previous evening Conchis informed the young teacher that his former fiancé – Lily – was killed many years previously that it becomes rather eerie.
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140 of 144 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Like a lot of reviwers here, I've been re-reading the Magus at odd points throughout my life, probably about once every 10 years on average. I've always admired and enjoyed it, though not entirely uncritically, and have been fascinated at my own various reactions to it over the years, reflecting my own life experiences at given times.
I think it is essentially a novel best read for the first time in curious, impressionable, early adulthood. it definately helps to have a strong imaginative streak and your head more than a little in the clouds - I've recommended it to diehard pragmatists over the years who just don't get it at all.
Like most young people who liked the book it has turned into something of a landmark in my life - the first book which I genuinely felt opened up key areas of myself and got me thinking along more abstract lines. It let me fly, basically.
The last time I read it I had just turned 40 and realised for the first time that I could no longer really identify with Nicholas as a peer-group figure, which slightly saddened me, despite the fact that I have never particularly liked him.
It also drove home to me that it really is a book aimed directly at young people, about the whole process of growing up and realising that the world, and everything in it, is a limitless but mysterious place, beyond control and all the more intoxicating for it.
I also found myself, for the first time, being a bit annoyed by Fowles's rather irritating assumption of his readers background in classical mythology, French and Shakesperian tragedy; but I try to tell myself this only reflects the cultural and educational time in which it was written.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meet the granddaddy of alternate reality games 4 Mar. 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this for two reasons. I was forced to study The French Lieutenant's Woman at college and ended up loving it - especially its play with language, sympathies and endings - despite my best intentions. And I'd heard that the excellent 1997 film The Game was taken in part from The Magus. In fact, Fowles' working title for it was The Godgame. Both book and film pivot around an over-privileged, under enlightened man called Nicholas (as does the BBC's excellent 1988 mini-series The One Game).

There's a film version of The Magus, staring Michael Caine in the lead role. Not a lot of people know that. The word on the street is that it's dire. I think The Magus would make a magnificent short series for TV, maybe over five or six hour-long episodes. You'd need at least this amount of screen time and chew-over time to get your head around it.

I usually don't like books of the what-the-heck-is going-on variety. Neither do I appreciate the art-for art's-sake genre, nor its close cousin, the look-how-smart-I-am. But I loved this. I just don't really know what its all about, that's all. Now, I only finished it after a marathon stint last week, but here are my first reactions.

I liked the central character, Nicholas Urfe. I'm not sure you're supposed to like him; he's a bit of a classist cad. But Fowles so well describes his history, thought-processes and torments that you can't help but empatise. And Fowles takes his time with Nicholas. In many novels, I wonder why the protagonist doesn't think or act in ways that are obvious to me. Here, every time I wondered why Nicholas doesn't do a certain thing, he then goes on to do it.

As my estimation, yea affection, for Nicholas grew, so my aversion to his mentor-figure, the magus of title, grew too.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars His job does not satisfy his intellect so he wanders the island in...
I collect 2nd hand books and came across a copy of The Magus in a charity shop recently. I recognised the tile and felt that I had stumbled on a classic, as there was some distant... Read more
Published 6 days ago by David Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Smug psychotherapist pits wits against smug Oxbridge misogynist on...
Fantasy or reality? This was a book which immersed a feckless arrogant English graduate in an erotic psychological odyssey. Read more
Published 15 days ago by sellyoulloyd
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab book!
Fast deliver, thank you.
Published 1 month ago by Sandy J
4.0 out of 5 stars Psychological Mind Games
I think this is great book, to me it it is just saying how people use each other, and play games with each other, and you just don't know who you can trust.
Published 2 months ago by A. Golds
5.0 out of 5 stars Would benefit from a second read.
This was my second attempt at reading this book and I'm glad I persevered. Its one of the few books I got to the end of and thought that I would get even more from it if I read it... Read more
Published 3 months ago by DM Webster
3.0 out of 5 stars Despite everything, it's compulsively readable
Turn the last page and... what a pile of piffle.

There's something of a schoolboy-ish wank about "The Magus", frantically tugging away going, "I'msoclever,... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Timothy Adler
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Its OK somehow I struggle with the way its written
Published 3 months ago by J. Bennett
4.0 out of 5 stars This book was recommended to me by a work colleague and having never...
This book was recommended to me by a work colleague and having never read Fowles before, I was curious. The story is well summarized in other reviews i.e. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Kevin O'Reilly
5.0 out of 5 stars Very engaging plot and interesting pomo subtext
A friend recommended this novel to me, and it became one of my favourite novels from last year (as in, read last year, not written last year). Read more
Published 4 months ago by Ellie
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book
Brilliantly written. John Fowles is a master story teller, yet some of his sentences are so beautifully written it is a pleasure to just admire his mastery of the English language... Read more
Published 4 months ago by stylo
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