Last year I wrote an introduction to a new American edition of John Fowles’s novel The Magus. The book has just been announced by Suntup Editions in California. This astonishing novel, first published in 1965, has not been available in hardcover for several years.
For me, discovering The Magus was a key and influential experience. It was a bestseller for many months, and filmed in 1968. The film, directed by Guy Green and starring Michael Caine in an early performance, was famously awful. It gave no hint of the unique reading experience of the original work. Although the book is now more than half a century old it still has the capacity to exert a powerful narrative grip on the reader, with a story that is both surprising and beautifully written. It is in my view a masterpiece, one of the best and most original novels of the twentieth century.
Suntup’s handsome new edition is a luxury reprint, with several extras. As well as my own intro there is an afterword by Fowles’s biographer Eileen Warburton, and six new illustrations by Marc Burckhardt. Also included is the introduction Fowles himself wrote for the Revised Edition of 1977, a bonus essay about the book which Fowles wrote in 1994, and a transcript of a long filmed interview with Melvyn Bragg broadcast on the BBC’s The Lively Arts.
It is available direct from the publisher.