A long time ago, my sister threw John Fowles across the room.
Ok wait, yes, she was a powerful little Italian – rest in peace, dear Sis – but I don’t mean that she actually lifted up the man from Lyme Regis and tossed him like a sack of potatoes. It was his book, The Collector, that took flight in my sister’s family room and smacked against the wall.
Lately, I’ve been feeling the same way about another Fowles’ novel, The Magus (which inspired the 1968 film with Candice Bergen, Anthony Quinn, Michael Caine, and Anna Karina), probably for the same reasons.
When I look at the bestsellers lists of the New York Times and other outlets, I realize how far away is the world that celebrated and raved over Fowles’s books and made him wealthy enough to be a writer and only a writer. Everything on the bestsellers lists today with a few exceptions — Colson Whitehead probably — smells of symmetry and neatly-resolved endings.