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The Magus Paperback – January 4, 2001
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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. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
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
I couldn't get through it....I like fast paced thrillers...This was VERY descriptive and 18 chapters into the book and there still wasn't really any story to follow ..... Read morePublished 25 days ago by JSchmidt
Stick with it, intrepid reader!
This was a tough book. I disagree with the statement that this is for 'teenagers'. Read more
A very well written book. The protagonist is just a little irritating in his irrational behavior at the end of the story. However it was a fun and interesting book.Published 2 months ago by Holland Judkins
Love this book. Some parts of it can be slow and tuff to get through, but the rest of it is amazing and makes it well worth the read. This book can become all consuming. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jacob Clapham
One of my favorite novels ever. I've read it many times and it is still fascinating.Published 3 months ago by the briz
Absolutely one of the most interesting, unique and mind-opening experiences I have had delving into the world this book presents to us. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Laura
This has been my favorite novel for decades, something of a cross between the films "The Talented Mr. Read morePublished 5 months ago by R. Kevin Hill