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The Magus Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 1985
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From the Publisher
Filled with shocks and chilling surprises, The Magus is a masterwork of contemporary literature. In it, a young Englishman, Nicholas Urfe, accepts a teaching position on a Greek island where his friendship with the owner of the islands most magnificent estate leads him into a nightmare. As reality and fantasy are deliberately confused by staged deaths, erotic encounters, and terrifying violence, Urfe becomes a desperate man fighting for his sanity and his life. A work rich with symbols, conundrums and labrinthine twists of event, The Magus is as thought-provoking as it is entertaining, a work that ranks with the best novels of modern times.
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Top Customer Reviews
What I wanted to point out is that this book is the edited version. Why did Fowles edit a masterpiece? In reading the forward I deduce this was in many ways a reactionary edit. Fowles must have been over tired of his readers whining about "what does it all mean?"
READ THE ORIGINAL FIRST. Fowles edit of this book seems spiteful and mean spirited. he rips from our hands the original intention of the book in the final pages. making the 600 plus page journey nearly pointless.
We do not need clarification...especially in the way which Fowles pens it in this revised version. The original is the best literary work I have ever read...I cannot fathom the thought of editing it. It doesn't make sense. How often have you heard of such a thing for a work of fiction? It is like drawing a pencil mustache on the Mona Lisa.
Please read the original first.
The novel begins with young Nicholas Urfe as he tries to find a living he can at least take some interest in. He meets a young woman that nearly penetrates his outer shell of dispassionate world-weariness. As a gesture of independence, he lets her get away and he takes a job on an Greek island. There, he gets involved with a strange old man and his associates, and finds himself the victim of manipulative games and masquerades. He resolves to penetrate each and every deceit, and is led on a strange journey beyond his wildest imaginings.
After reading this book, I immediately wanted to share it with everyone I knew. It got me thinking about how much of my life I take for granted, how little of my own motivations I truly understand myself. Having read this book, I feel richer for the experience. I hope it can do for others what it's done for me.
In an illuminating foreword, written in 1976, Fowles acknowledges the "obvious influence of Jung." Jung theorized that human behavior is based on archetypes -- characters or patterns found in humankind's collective unconcious, embodied in its myths. One of the more fundamental archetypes is the character of The Magician - a archetype related to the shaman, or trickster, or even the divine fool -- an entity capable of moving between worlds and manipulating reality. The Magus explores this archetype both through the character of Conchis, but also through the author himself who plays trickster to his readers, with plot twists, misdirection, and ambiguity. The character Nicholas is a curious blend of archetypal patterns -- the emotionally regressed adolescent, the sophisticated intellectual, the callow seducer of women, the "mark" ensnared by his own stupidity and questionable motives.Read more ›
"The Magus" is about a young English man named Nicholas Urfe who gets a teaching job at a private school on a small Greek island. On a remote part of the island, he discovers a luxurious villa owned by a mysterious wealthy man named Conchis who apparently keeps to himself. The two of them meet and strike up an odd friendship, whereupon Conchis invites Nicholas to visit his villa on weekends.
In the course of these visits, Nicholas realizes that Conchis is not as solitary as he had been led to believe. Conchis tells Nicholas the story of his life in gradual installments, but because Conchis's world is so illusory, Nicholas doesn't know how much, if any, of it he can believe. Conchis likes to play mind games, dropping bizarre clues about himself and staging impromptu "scenes" designed to look like hallucinations. He is the consummate magician, pulling ever more unpredictable things out of his hat with which to puzzle and torment Nicholas. Nicholas is not sure why Conchis is doing these things, but he keeps returning to the villa because the bemusing games provide an interesting diversion from his boring life at the school. Also, there is the evasive beautiful young woman who is often found in Conchis's domain and who, Nicholas is sure, holds the key to his fate...
The plot unfolds like an elaborate, surrealistic con game, the kind David Mamet makes films about ("The House of Games" and "The Spanish Prisoner").Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Magus by John Fowles is a long novel that starts slowly. A young Englishman named Nicholas Urfe. Read morePublished 29 days ago by Michael Dea
A masterpiece which, in atmosphere and pace, echoes the twisting, mysterious journey of its protagonist. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Brianna P Stevens
Kept me guessing all the way through. The kind of book that really makes you think about things in a different light.Published 2 months ago by T. Stansmore
This clearly is an important work. The book explores, inter alia, the intersections intellect and illusion, will and submission, power and freedom, guilt and shame and cruelty and... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Roadhouse
I am only 35% of the way through the book and I am finding the story to be slow and tedious, not compelling. Hopefully it will get better.Published 4 months ago by Fred Morehead