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Mantissa (Back Bay Books) Paperback – August 4, 1997


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Mantissa (Back Bay Books) + Daniel Martin + The Collector (Back Bay Books)
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Product Details

  • Series: Back Bay Books
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books (August 4, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316290270
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316290272
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,870,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Fowles launched his career with The Collector, which was welcomed with great critical enthusiasm, including that of LJ's reviewer, who found it "a distinguished first novel" (LJ 8/63). Mantissa, on the other hand, was a departure from the author's more popular material and received only a marginal response (LJ 9/1/82).
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"The novel seeks to explore the nature of reality and creativity, the alienations of art, the evolution of literature to its present self-conscious phase, the relationship between the sexes, and much more" -- Martin Amis Observer "The only writer in English who has the power, range, knowledge, and wisdom of Tolstoy or James" -- John Gardner "John Fowles is an artist of great imaginative power" Sunday Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Dudley on June 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
Mantissa is a short, light romp through the writer's mind. There's no heavy subtext to mull over. There's no ponderous character development to follow. There's just Miles Green in his hospital room, which becomes other things, and Erato, the woman who is his muse. A few other characters lurk in orbit around the room, but the whole story takes place literally in the brain of Miles.

Most of the book is dialogue between Miles and Erato as he alternately romances and berates his muse, the essence of his creativity, and is repaid in kind. It's an animated metaphor for the process of writing, and many times the characters seem to know they are merely characters in a book. It begins in a hospital where Miles has just recovered, having lost his memory through some accident, but that scenario quickly ends as Erato takes on numerous personalities and attitudes in her interaction with Miles.

This is probably best for those familiar with John Fowles's other works. Mantissa is clever, it's funny, it's self-aware, and it's not going to shake the literary world. It's just a quick afternoon read that gives you a peek into the mind of a writer.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Carra R Lane on June 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
John Fowles minus his usual novelistic costuming relaxes, writes brilliantly, reveals craft secrets, pokes gentle, if firm, fun at both himself & the business of literature, adores/insults his muse & is properly inspired/kicked for his trouble. MANTISSA is sweetly funny, roughly true, a deft tale of the endless left/right (or male/female or rational/intuitive) mind combat which is the natural environment of creation, the brainswamp from which much of our best writing emerges. Complete with a terribly nice pun on the names of a writer & a shrink, adequate eros (every bit of it strictly imaginary), & some charming intermusine backbiting, in the end. Astounding! Hilarious! The Nubile Prize for Metafiction!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Amy Sterling Casil on March 21, 1998
Format: Paperback
Fun from beginning to end, John Fowles explores the never-smooth relationship between the author and his muse. Miles Green verbally and physically jousts for 200+ pages with his muse, Erato, as well as Dr. A. Delfie and the voluptuous Nurse Cory. If this doesn't excite you, I don't know what will. Extra fillips of pleasure for those who detest various sorts of modern criticism. It's a wonder John Fowles' Twaynes English Author Series Volume hasn't been recalled. He does not spare the rod. A warm, funny, smart book.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
John Fowles is undoubtably one of the great writers of the 20th century. No-one with any love for literature should fail to read "The French Lieutenant's Woman", "The Collector" and especially "The Magus". Unfortunately he ran out of inspiration after "Daniel Martin" and this effort is simply unreadable. I made several attempts at reading it, but I couldn't get past page 60. Other Fowles enthusiasts I know share this view.
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Mantissa (Back Bay Books)
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