The Magus

( 31 )

Overview

Nicholas Urfe, an evasive young Englishman, accepts a teaching position on a remote Greek island, where his friendship with a reclusive, demonic millionaire lures him into "the godgame": an elaborate series of staged hallucinations, riddles, and psychological traps meant to test his concept of being and reality. This Modern Library edition includes a new Introduction by the author.
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The Magus

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Overview

Nicholas Urfe, an evasive young Englishman, accepts a teaching position on a remote Greek island, where his friendship with a reclusive, demonic millionaire lures him into "the godgame": an elaborate series of staged hallucinations, riddles, and psychological traps meant to test his concept of being and reality. This Modern Library edition includes a new Introduction by the author.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440351627
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/9/1985
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 672
  • Sales rank: 162,224
  • Product dimensions: 4.16 (w) x 6.88 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Meet 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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 31 )
Rating Distribution

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(20)

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3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 9, 2010

    Disappointing conclusion to a really good plot

    This is one of those books where it seems the author didn't have an ending to the story in mind. The first half of the book does a good job of developing the plot and characters. It then seems to wander aimlessly with subplots that never connect with the rest of the theme. The "trial" is a low point - a macaber element right out of a Steven King novel - unnecessary it seems to the story for nothing would change if it were left out. The whole episode with "Nygaard" never makes its way to an understanding by the reader of why it is even in the book. Finally, there's "Jojo" a meaningless character at the end of the novel who meanders into the story only to meander right back out. It all leaves the reader disappointed with the way the book just ends; never explaining anything of what has taken place. The main character of "Maurice Conchis" just disappears....leaving the reader begging for an explanation. It never comes, neither does a satisfactory ending.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2005

    A great read

    This book was my introduction to Fowles, and I was not disappointed. Even though the plot line may be a bit too fanciful for some, the depth and complexity of the main character, Nicholas, is unsurpassed. Fowles creation is up there with the greatest characters of all time. At least in our day and age, a Nicholas Urfe is more human than say Hamlet and just as human as anyone from Yoknapatawpha. As others have noted, reading the novel can lead to introspection, which may actually change the way you perceive life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2004

    Uneven-ness Abounds!

    Without a doubt, this is the most uneven novel I have ever read. Fowles gives the reader flashes of great talent and moments of incredulity. The Magus will chill you, inspire you, anger you, and leave you wishing you could recover the twelve hours invested. Do not let this deter you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2003

    A Promise Kept

    Books that have a mysterious and intriguing character usually fail to deliver on the early promise of that character. Bellows couldn't deliver on the witch doctor in Henderson, the Rain King. The psychiatrist in I Never Promised You a Rose Garden had great potential, but that potential never went anywhere. Conchis, however, is the mysterious character of this novel -- a man whose mysteries made the novel impossible to put down since virtually every chapter ended with yet another cliff-hanger to keep the pages turning. It has been over twenty years since I read the novel, but I still recall it far more vividly than last night's TV drama or yesterday's book. I even recall my dread as I read: 'I'll keep on pressing forward, looking for some kind of explanation, and the author is going to cheat me.' Fowler kept his promises. It was a great read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2003

    A Compelling Tale

    This book is fabulous. I have read it twice during different periods of my life and each time I came out of it with a different interpretion of the writer's message. This is a great choice for people in book clubs. The discussions that come out of reading The Magus are rich.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2001

    A complex and fascinating book

    There is no way to distill this book in a few sentences. It is at once an incredibly ambitious novel of ideas and a compelling narrative of love, lust and betrayal told with Fowles' characteristic lyrical grace. Worth reading and rereading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2000

    Practical Existentialism

    Like Buckminster Fuller attempting to put Einstein's theories into practical use, John Fowles confronts the lofty tenets of existentialism and applies them to life in the fragmeneted 'wasteland' of the Twentieth Century. This is a novel stuffed with ideals: the nature of freedom and responsibility, relationships between women and men, the lost or unseen God, war, a mystery, and more...maybe too much more. Primarily, this is a book for twenty-something readers who want to walk painstakingly, inch by inch, through the pains of superficial sex and false love. But like Nicholas Urfe, the main character who continues to return to the masque, only a few of the elect will return to play the 'godgame.' In my opinion this is John Fowles best novel. It is difficult, exasperating, and profound. It is a novel for the twentieth and twenty-first centuries: a primer for those who crave freedom (eleutheria), and understand the responsibilities of being able to choose to do all and the personal freedom to not do all.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 1999

    41 M - reading century top 200

    A deadly combination of a book that you don't really like - but you can't put down. I'm pretty sure that this ambivalence is the author's intent. You dislike the main character - but you hate to see him getting mentally abused. The 'villian' is conniving and untrustworthy - but he's likable and interesting. The love interest is a disloyal, manipulative shrew - but you don't question why Urfe is falling in love. Finally, the story has you craving for a climactic and enlightening ending - and [let's just say the trend above holds]. In the end I was kicking myself for wasting that much time reading this book - but at the same time, I couldn't quit thinking about it. Probably 5 star quality - but only giving 3 stars because I'm still mad that I was duped.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2014

    Enticing

    This was an enlightening read and plan to revisit this book later in time to see the other angles of the diamond.

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  • Posted August 30, 2013

    You don't want to miss this one!

    I thought Magus was a great book, it keep me interested to the point that I had to keep reading and it was never boring even though it was quite long. I would call this a psychological drama, which I don't pretend to completely understand all of the posturing and devices, but that didn't matter because the mystery in the story pulls you along. It was very well written and the ending which some reviewers didn't like I thought fit the circumstances very well. My only regret is that I wanted to read another of his books but couldn't find one that pulled me in like this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2005

    full of intrigue

    This book has many twists and is action packed. There seems to be an epistomologic message behind the book. Unfortunately, philosophy is not one of my strengths. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy very deep emotional literature. I didn't fully understand the characture Conchis. I didn't understand his motives. He seemed overtly mysterious and a bit too powerful.

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    Posted August 8, 2009

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    Posted February 24, 2013

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    Posted November 30, 2008

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    Posted August 27, 2010

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    Posted September 22, 2009

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    Posted November 3, 2008

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    Posted January 4, 2010

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    Posted June 22, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2009

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