Summary

John Fowles’ The Magus was a literary landmark of the 1960s. Nicholas Urfe goes to a Greek island to teach at a private school and becomes enmeshed in curious happenings at the home of a mysterious Greek recluse, Maurice Conchis. Are these events, involving attractive young English sisters, just psychological games, or an elaborate joke, or more? Reality shifts as the story unfolds.
The Magus reflected the issues of the 1960s perfectly, but even almost half a century after its first publication, it continues to create tension and concern, remaining the page-turner that it was when it was first released.
©1977 J. R. Fowles Ltd (P)2012 Naxos AudioBooks
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Andrew on 30-06-13

Great reading by Nicholas Boulton

What made the experience of listening to The Magus the most enjoyable?

Form and content perfectly matched. A great reading from Nicholas Boulton of a very enjoyable and thought provoking book.

I am now 50 and have not revisited this novel (one of my favourites in my earlier years) in detail since I last read it in my 20's. It was still a riveting read, although - perhaps with maturity - I now see more of the things that don't quite work or seem dated. Overall, still electrifying with a strong propulisve narrative drive allied to a consideration of how to approach life and love.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Almost all the characters were interesting in some way, even if some worked far better than others.

What about Nicholas Boulton’s performance did you like?

I thought Nicholas Boulton's reading was absolutely outstanding - and that is what has driven me to this review - he deserves the credit. He pitched Nicolas Urfe's voice exactly how I imagined it: cynical and not entirely likeable, yet still eliciting a degree of sympathy with the listener. The supporting voices: various greeks, germans, women as well as men were also very well presented and clearly distinguishable - without turning them into caricatures. The pace and inflection of the reading was even, but varied where necessary in a nuanced and subtle way to underline and represent emotions.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

I wouldn't. It's already been tried with Michael Caine and although watchable could not really represent the ideas Fowles was bringing out in the novel.

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By simon on 10-01-13

Priceless audiobook

This is one of my favourite novels which I have already read three times. I have enjoyed it on a whole new level with this stunning audiobook presentation. Nicholas Boulton does an amazing job. I cannot recommend it enough.

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By W Perry Hall on 24-03-14

Mystical Morality Tale of Love, Reality, Fidelity

John Fowles’ now underappreciated novel is a mystical morality play on love, truth, maturity, reality and sexual and emotional betrayal. "The Magus" is set on a Greek island lush in the legends of Apollo, Artemis, Orpheus and Eurydice, and involves our protagonist, Nicholas Urfe, a mysterious island local and pretty young English ladies. While the year of the story is 1953 in the aftermath of WWII, in many ways it seems as timely as today.

If you read reviews, you won’t get much more of a description, other than below a Spoiler Alert heading. To explain it more would require pages and would, in many ways, be like explaining the recent novel “Gone Girl” or the movie “The Sixth Sense”: it would ruin the whole experience for you.

Like Gone Girl, I could NOT put it down. Truly in its own league, particularly considering it was published nearly 50 years ago.

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14 of 14 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Thosigmar on 01-11-14

Brilliant book, incomparable reading

Where does The Magus rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

First.

What other book might you compare The Magus to and why?

"The Magus" is something in itself. I think Fowles used to express his admiration for "Le Grand Meaulnes", which I read decades ago and can't remember (oi). Have bought the Audible version, though, and still need to listen to it. Perhaps a reading of Fowles's "The Aristos" (his second book, published two years before "The Magus"), might not be a bad idea in preparation for "Magus".

Have you listened to any of Nicholas Boulton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Not yet, but looking at his other readings. Incidentally, he is particularly good at reading female voices. In some other audiobooks (e.g. two versions of "The Alexandria Quartet") the male readers would have done better in keeping to a more normal pitch.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There are several brilliant moments and parts, but the scene in which Conchis hypnotises Nicholas was particularly masterfully done. Boulton's reading makes one aware of something magical, "metaphysical", totally illusory, and irresistible. Perhaps fatal, too. The reading achieves what the printed word can't do quite as well: mesmerise the listener.

Any additional comments?

Boulton's reading made me aware of many things that I missed in my own readings of "The Magus". For me, his reading made this book shimmer all the more.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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