I believe that John Fowles ranks among the half-dozen finest novelists Take a look at his final novel, A Maggot—if you can find a copy, that is. Complete summary of John Fowles’ A Maggot. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of A Maggot. A Maggot [John Fowles] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. A modern narrator supplements the views of a group of eighteenth-century.
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This is the beginning of John Fowles’ new novel, which is called a Maggot, and johh several of his other beginners it is brilliant and compelling.
He told us once in his essay Notes joun the Unfinished Novel in Malcolm Bradbury’s The Novel Today how the French Lieutenants’s Women started as a visual image of a women standing at the end of a deserted quay and staring out to folwes. This image rose in his mind one morning when he was still in bed half asleep, and it could be said that he wrote The French Lieutenant’s Women to make sense of it.
Similarly in a prologue to the present text he tells that for some years before its writing ‘a small group of travellers, faceless without apparent motive, went in my mind towards an event.
What is the event? Fowles has written A Maggot to find out.
The first two thirds of that finding out strike me as excellent. The little group of travellers consist of what appear to be an uncle and a nephew, accompanied by two manservants one of them a deaf muteand with a maid whom the gentlemen may be intending to deliver into the service of a neighbouring rich relation.
jlhn But when the deaf mute is found hanged, perhaps by his own hand, with a posy of violets stuffed in his mouth, and his fellow travellers disappear, it falls to a lawyer called Ayscough to track down every possible witness and unravel the real purpose of the journey. What Ayscough discovers is that nothing is what it seemed to be.
The ‘Nephew’ is the controlling jogn, the debauched but impotent son of some great personage whose name must never be mentioned; the ‘uncle’ was an actor hired to maygot the part; the maid was a whore called Fanny whose best trick in the brothel from which they have removed her was to reign innocence, being known there as the Quaker Maid; as for the deaf mute, Dick, his role was to couple with Fanny, while the young nobleman watched All this, together with a strong whiff of witchcraft or at best astrology, is extracted by the lawyer in a series of verbatim interviews with such of the travellers as he can manage to run to ground.
Dick of course is dead, and his alter ego, the ffowles nobleman, has disappeared.
Fowles, as always, is a clever pasticheur, and all the various voices ring quite true. Also, while he remains on this pleasing level of the vision of the little cavalcade of travellers, who they are and what they might be doing, he deploys his usual seductive narrative gifts to great effect – we keep on reading, as we read The Magus and The French Lieutenant’s Woman, because the authority of his storytelling convinces us that a mystery is being unravelled, and that all will ultimately be revealed.
It may seem churlish to complain that what is wrong with A Maggot is that too much ultimately is revealed. Because Fowles can give so much narrative pleasure to the reader I don’t want to discuss the exact nature of this revelation, but I must observe that the book seems to me to fall away sadly from maggoy point where Ayscough finds the whore, Fanny, alias Rebecca Lee, maggo she is allowed to become the vehicle for some tawdry born-again Christian nonsense, and then even a peg on which the author appearing in his own person it would seem hangs various opinions regarding feminism, agnosticism, dissent, and the merits of that United Society of Fowlees in Christ’s Second Appearing commonly called Shakersan early communistic and pacifist body whose leader, known as Mother Anne, sometimes regarded as ‘The female principle fowlees Christ,’ Fowles ingeniously introduces into his text as Well, I was going to say the event or Event towards which his travellers came, but blasphemy needs more panache than is here achieved.
There are two writers in John Fowles. One of them is haunted by indelible images and fashions powerful stories when he follows thr images to their logical conclusions in a work of fiction designed to tease possible meanings out of them.
This is the poet Fowles, who trusts his unconscious and has something of the genuine mythopoeic imagination at work in him.
A Maggot – Wikipedia
While he confines his lectures to little asides about the importance of sheep and the wool trade in the early eighteenth century, this Fowles is just about tolerable; but I have to say that I regard the Author’s Sermon called epilogue with which the book concludes as not just rubbish, but a serious failure of artistic nerve and responsibility. It is a pity, because until the rot in the way of authorial interventions sets in wholesale, and the book more or less gives up being a novel at all.
fowlse A Maggot had struck me as very nearly the best work to date of a highly talented and always interesting writer. Fiction John Fowles reviews.