I read this book at the age of seventeen and thought it one of the greatest things I had even come across. Now, some forty years later and rereading, I find it self indulgent, quaint and, with it's overt homophobia, racism, misogyny and cheesy sex scenes, (pepped up by Fowles in a "revised edition" in the 70s) it seems very much of its time. People sometimes mention it alongside Durrell's Alexandria Quartet but this book is to that work as draughts (checkers) is to chess. No doubt that Fowles can write but he does rather beat one over the head with his erudition and classicism. At seventeen I too would have given it five stars. Now, I wish I could give two and a half rather than three.