The French Lieutenant’s Woman is the first book I read from John Fowles. I think it will remain as the single book for a long time. Fowles, an extraordinary author of his time, differs from other writers with his narrative techniques. If you like it, you like it, but if you don’t, you may end up with mixed feelings.

The French Lieutenant’s Woman is an exciting love story, as well as a unique book about the Victorian era. You will read about many things, from the relationships of women and men to their worldviews. You will want to examine this period a little more. The characters in the book are very well developed and attractive. You will instantly love them. You may be sure that even if you get angry at the characters, you’ll still end up admiring and understanding them.

The French Lieutenant's Woman - John Fowles

The French Lieutenant’s Woman and the narrator

So why didn’t I like this book as much as I want to? I think because the narration is everything in fiction. I found it unpleasant of Fowles including himself in the novel saying; “Why does this character do that now? Because he is blah blah…” This narrative created a sense of watching a documentary rather than reading a novel for me.

However, I want to read a novel and don’t want to hear why the author created this character the way he did. At least, not while reading the book! Although I realised what he wanted to do after a while, I would prefer the author to remain an omniscient narrator only, not actually playing God. Oh, and the book has three endings, you pick what you like and get over it.

Let me tell you, I don’t like how Fowles wrote this book, but I have to say that many readers enjoyed this. Most of them told me they loved the movie better, but that’s not the point. Anyways! This book is in many of the essential reading lists and can add a lot to your reading experience. I’d say take a look and experience a different narrative. See if you like it or not. Happy reading!

About the book: The French Lieutenant’s Woman

The French Lieutenant’s WomanJohn FowlesFictionVintage Classics2009Paperback470Buy now from Amazon

The scene is the village of Lyme Regis on Dorset’s Lyme Bay…” the largest bite from the underside of England’s out-stretched southwestern leg.” The major characters in the love-intrigue triangle are Charles Smithson, 32, a gentleman of independent means & vaguely scientific bent; his fiancée, Ernestina Freeman, a pretty heiress daughter of a wealthy & pompous dry goods merchant; & Sarah Woodruff, mysterious & fascinating… deserted after a brief affair with a French naval officer a short time before the story begins.

Obsessed with an irresistible fascination for the enigmatic Sarah, Charles is hurtled by a moment of consummated lust to the brink of the existential void. Duty dictates that his engagement to Tina must be broken as he goes forth once again to seek the woman who has captured his Victorian soul & gentleman’s heart.

About the author: John Fowles

John Fowles was born in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on March 31, 1926. He attended Bedford School (1940–1944) and then served nearly two years in the Royal Marines. After his four years at Oxford (New College), where he read in French and received a B. A. (Honors) in 1950, Fowles turned away from his conservative upper-middle-class background toward a new freedom and a trying decade of apprenticeship as a writer. Read the rest of the article here.

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The French Lieutenant's Woman - John Fowles
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