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Daniel Martin Paperback – August 4, 1997

3.8 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A work of imaginative energy and passionate honesty" The Times "An instant masterpiece-It is a tour de force of stamina and subtlety" Daily Telegraph "A descriptive writer of great power" Independent "I find it disastrous to read any of John Fowles' books - once I pick one up, I cannot put it down so everything else gets ignored!" -- Judi Dench Daily Express --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

John Fowles (1926-2005) was educated at Oxford and subsequently lectured in English at universities in Greece and the UK. The success of his first novel, The Collector, published in 1963, allowed him to devote all his time to writing. His books include the internationally acclaimed and bestselling novels The Magus, The French Lieutenant's Woman, and Daniel Martin. Fowles spent the last decades of his life on the southern coast of England in the small harbor town of Lyme Regis.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books (August 4, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780316290395
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316290395
  • ASIN: 0316290394
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #347,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Battaglia on October 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
There probably weren't many people who read this novel based on Dan Simmons quoting the opening line in the introduction to short story collection "Worlds Enough and Time", but at least one person can say that he did. That person was me, which could mean that I'm open to recommendations of things I wouldn't normally read based on very little evidence, or that I'm easily swayed. I'll leave that for other people to decide.

But still, that opening line. "Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation." The phrasing of it grabbed my attention, still does. It sets the tone for the entire novel, even if you don't realize it at the time, suggesting that unless everything is seen with a clear eye, all at once, it will all fall into ruin. If we can't be critical or objective about our own lives, then our lives will at best be unfulfilled. Worse, we may not even realize it.

Fowles' novel follows the life of the title character, a Mr Daniel Martin. Scriptwriter, playwright, he's been spending his time writing screenplays and making a pretty good living at it when he gets news that one of his old Oxford friends is dying. He goes to visit and it opens him up to a life of reflection, connecting him to all the elements of his life that he had abandoned previously. He talks to his old friend Anthony, his daughter, his ex-wife and her sister, who married his friend. This becomes crucial, because even though the novel is too literary to say so, she's "the one that got away".

This isn't a novel where a lot happens. Episodic is probably being kind and it's the type of book where all the exterior action is generally window dressing to everything that is going inside the heads of the characters. Or in this case, Mr Martin.
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By B. Shirts on November 28, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have never understod why this book didn't seem to catch on. I think it is possibly his best book. The beginning is beautiful, but my advice is to skim thru the first chapter--then get on to the rest of the book. When you have finished--go back and re-read the beginning...because it IS remarkable and beautiful. I almost think he should have just somehow started in with the story this time--and ended with his poetic begining.It felt autobiographical and it touched me.
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By A Customer on April 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
In this brilliant masterpiece, John Fowles has captured pure human emotion together with the essense and meaning of human relationships and put them into words with stunning clarity and effectiveness.
Fowles proves himself here a true genius, for both delving into the obscure depths of human existence as well as for his unique ability to describe what he finds there.
He rightfully deserves the 1999 Nobel Prize in Literature that he has been nominated for.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This highly introspective novel covers so much ground and so many facets of psychology, culture, sex, love, history that to write any sort of review that approaches the comprehensive would mean for the reviewer to write a book of his own, which is not the place of an Amazon review. I will say this definitively: The book is for readers who love to read, have been doing so all their lives, and don't mind spending hours, days being lost in what some might term overly erudite verbiage. I suppose it also helps to understand the English/American cultural differences, to have, like the eponymous Daniel Martin, been born and to have come of age in England, but to have spent most of one's life in America. Such has been my lot in life, but, regardless, the book is not really one that I suspect most Amazon reviewers or readers will bother with at all. So, I shall simply present the aspects of the book that seem most salient to me and let the rare Amazon reader who is interested in Fowles and in this type of work take what s/he may from my take on it.

The first thing that struck me in the early goings here was the contrast drawn between, as it has often been drolly put, two races separated by a common language. Daniel Martin as narrator puts it thus:

"Other races look at themselves in the mirror, and either live with the reflection or do something practical to improve it. We paint an ideal, or a dream self on the glass and then wallow in the discrepancy.
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Format: Paperback
John Fowles is one of the best novelists in English in the 20th century; among my favorites, he ranks second only to Joyce. Daniel Martin seems to me his best, most fully realized novel. The novel carries us over the course of the eponymous character's life, concentrating on his later years. Fowles linguistic richness is incomparable. The first chapter is a model idyl. The shifting point of view takes a little getting used to, but he derives enough narrative force from the device that it's worth the effort. A definite five-star read.
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Format: Paperback
Although I count The Magus as an intriguing, favorite book from the past, I considered Daniel Martin to be equally well written. Though most different in style and content from The Magus, I would rate Daniel paired with Magus, as being the best of Fowles. The plot is compelling, the descriptions of place so fine you may later think you've been there. Not as complex nor finely written as in the Robertson Davies trilogy, but a great read for any time of year! If you like Davies, John Irving, P.Reverte', Palliser, you may well enjoy this novel, though it is less complex than much of the aforementioned authors' works.
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