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Daniel Martin (Vintage Classics)
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 22 May 2015
Daniel Martin starts with a highly evocative description of a scene of haymaking in which a young Daniel Martin participates, prior to leaving home for Oxford, and later playwriting and scriptwriting. The novel is told in non-chronological parts, and with some episodes written by the woman, Jenny, with whom Daniel is currently having a relationship in Hollywood, a young film actress. The main story, however, is about Daniel, his love life over the years and particularly is a stocktaking for him at age 45 or so, and for others he has known at Oxford, including his first wife and her sister, as they approach middle age and all feel they haven't done perhaps what they might have done with their lives and as they have adolescent and young adult children of their own, living in a different time and place….

This is a highly philosophical novel, in which much of the action derives from a 'gratuitous act', as the author puts in in a section heading, committed by the sister of Daniel's first wife in Oxford many years before the start of the main action, but which now many years later precipitates the return to England of Daniel from Hollywood to take stock of his past…and which follows its own inexorable logic as the novel unfolds.

I enjoyed this rather less that all the other Fowles novels and short stories, perhaps because I've come to it last, but perhaps because it simply doesn't quite have the edge-of-the-seat plotting and story-line and is not quite so psychologically gripping as his earlier work. The dilemmas of the characters here are very much of their time and place - though midlife crises no doubt will continue to plague humanity…There is still much here that is memorable, however, and Fowles' world-view continues both to attract and to challenge the reader - at least this reader.
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on 14 March 2018
I was very disappointed by this book as Im a huge John Fowles fan and was excited to read another one of his novels. If this book was half the size it would be an ok book. Only about 3 chapters are worth reading which in unlike Fowles who is usually a writer who grips the reader.
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on 19 January 2013
Never found a book by John Fowles yet that wasn't fantastic, highly recommend this one. So easy to buy for Kindle.
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This is one of my favorite books ever
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on 19 February 2011
This is one of my favourite books - John Fowles's brilliant novel that explores the life of the narrator, often in flashback and with settings that include Los Angeles, London, Oxford, the South West of England, Egypt and Syria. Daniel Martin is a successful screenwriter, but after a split with his wife, he lives a footloose life interspersed with affaires that brings him to the point where the story starts - a reunion with the close friends of his days at Oxford. What follows is a brilliant compilation of events flashing forward and back in time and describing the development of a 'lost' relationship that is the meat of the story.
It's quite a 'deep' novel, and its main character explores his motivation and feelings as he renews a relationship that harks back to their student days some 20 years earlier. In attempting to resolve the residual problems created by that early relationship, he comes to recognize his own dilemma and has to make some difficult choices.
Daniel Martin is a very complex character and no hero figure - he has much to regret in the way he has lived his life, but it is described 'warts and all' and, in the end, one comes to realize that it has a ring of truth: few of us are perfect and not all of us can admit to our faults in quite such an articulate manner!
Beautifully written and with Fowles's ability to describe places that makes you see the settings as clearly as any film can show, this is a book to savour, and I strongly recommend it.
I bought the e-book version to supplement my 'library' despite owning the book, and I've enjoyed reading it again (for at least the eighth time!). My only criticism of the e-book version is that it seems to have quite a lot of typos - something that seems rather odd and I can't think why they are there?
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on 20 October 2013
I'm a big fan of John Fowles - I love the way he relates each subjects thoughts and their analysis of each thought and actions. This is not a book that can be picked up and put down as you are completely drawn into the subject. Daniel Martin is a country lad that attends Oxford and goes onto become a screenwriter. This is his story written in the detail required for a screenplay.
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on 30 March 2013
I read all John Fowles's other work many years ago but never got round to this one. I have just re-read the rest and finished by reading this. A brilliant writer who understands exactly the meaning and significance of every word he uses and every sentence he constructs. To say that the book follows Daniel's life and loves is true but does it no justice. You must read it for yourself; you will probably discover a lot about yourself as I did.
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on 25 September 2016
Packaged perfectly and can't wait to get stuck into it
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on 2 October 2011
I found this book to be far to detailed on the emotions of the characters. I know the author is well respected but I think an understanding edit would make a more readable novel.
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on 14 March 2003
This amazing piece of literature deserves to be held in the same high regard as the author's other works. It is the telling of Daniel Martin's life through a linear narrative of "current events" interrupted by chapters detailing his past. The eponymous central character is a bit of an anti-hero and a screenwriter and it is as if Fowles is trying to create this "biographical novel" to read as a screenplay would - revisiting scenes from the past to give you an insight into the current life of a man.
Very clever and absorbing - a must read for all fans of this truly great novelist.
13 people found this helpful
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