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Daniel Martin

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  2,039 Ratings  ·  86 Reviews
Set internationally and spanning three decades, Daniel Martin is, in the author's own words, 'intended as a defence and illustration of an unfashionable philosophy, humanism, and also as an exploration of what it is to be English'. It is the richly evoked narrative of a contemporary Englishman's attempt to see himself and his time in the mirrors of his past and present.
Hardcover, 704 pages
Published December 27th 1987 by Jonathan Cape (first published 1977)
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Virginia
Nov 02, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
i don't know why i keep reading books about self-obsessed middle-aged men. it's not that i have nothing in common with these characters (lord knows i have my share of self-obsession, why else would i be typing out a review that i'm pretty sure no one will ever read). it's that they seem to take their self-obsession as a badge of honor--it makes them interesting or worth-while. i'm actually conflating daniel martin and john fowles, but the novel invites that sort of confusion, so i don't care. al ...more
Max
Apr 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: things-i-love, 2009
John Fowles is one of my favorite contemporary writers, and now--having read Daniel Martin--I almost regret not saving it for my last read of his. It was written nearer the middle of his career, but still manages to provide the most wonderful feeling of autobiographical summation, like an epic epilogue reflection on life lived. Being that the life in question is that of a narcissistic playwright turned jaded Hollywood screenwriter too much obsessed with the nostalgia of his youth and the yearnin ...more
Craig
Sep 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a graduate professor who challenged our group to find a contemporary literary novel with a truly believable 'happy ending.' Fowles' Daniel Martin does just that, but it takes over 600 pages to develop it -- and 'happy ending' doesn't mean a necessarily 'happy journey.' Fowles set out to show that sometimes in life, things do turn out well -- but it takes a lot of hard work, will, and luck. His experiements with changing tenses and point of view make for an interesting read. Adult reading, ...more
William
Feb 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any john fowles fans
This 700-page tome is a most unlikely suspense novel. Its two main characters, both overcerebral Oxbridge graduates in their mid-40s, are thoroughly disillusioned with society on both sides of the Atlantic. Jane, whose husband Anthony has just died of cancer, has previously been a Catholic but has lapsed and is now a Marxist, though more theoretical than active. Dan, who early on lapsed from writing plays to Hollywood scriptwriting, engages in seemingly continuous deep, complex introspection, su ...more
Stven
Aug 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: serious readers
This is in my opinion the best of John Fowles' novels (and Fowles must have thought so, too, since after Daniel Martin he never bothered to summon the strength to produce another major novel). It is truly a great novel. Fowles' prose, in the first place, is beautiful when he wants it to be, and he is determined to draw the reader in from the opening scene... not only with sheer shimmering beauty but with a calculated grandeur, setting the pace for this vast book which tells the whole private epi ...more
Andrew
It took me a while to get into this one-- granted, my standards were high, with Fowles being an all-time favorite, and the difficulty of a book with unannounced polyphonic voices. But once I actually got the hang of Daniel Martin, I found it impossible to put down. Great stuff in here, aesthetics and globetrotting and ideology mixed with stories about really shit teenage romances and your lousy job, with just the right balance of self-deprecation and dignity, snark and heart. Still probably not ...more
Chrissie
Feb 09, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First: it really upsets me that when you search "Fowles" on goodreads, you get every Artemis Fowl book before a single one by John Fowles. On John's behalf, I take this personally.

Second: I love John Fowles. He has an ability to make me feel that almost no other writer does. Like The Magus, some parts of this book were hard to read because the situations in it are so painful and real. People and their relationships are often crazy, confused, and troubled, and Fowles captures that better than any
...more
Laila
Dec 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Fowles'in içine girmekte en zorlandığım eserleri buydu. Fakat buradaki eksiklik Fowles'in eksikliği değil sanırım benim donanımsızlığım oldu. Birden çok zamanda ilerleyen kurguya odaklanmakta zorlandım. Dan'in şahsında yüzleşilen gerçekler ve Jane'in yaşamı farklı duygular hissettirip insanin kendine değişik açılardan bakmasını sağladı.

Bunu bir ara değerlendirme kabul edip tekrar okuyana kadar nokta değil virgül diyeyim şimdilik.

Özet: Hayatın farklı dönemlerinde okunup farklı lezzetler alınaca
...more
Lara Messersmith-Glavin
John Fowles has previously rocked my brain into twisted submission with such delights as The Magus and Mantissa. The things that man can do with a Greek island and sunlight are not to be trifled with.

A dozen or so pages in, and I am not yet hooked. Curious, perhaps, piqued by an accent I cannot place and haunted with two images: that of a thick slice of ham resting on buttered bread, and the other a screaming rabbit with its legs shorn off by a thresher.

617 pages to go.

_________________________
...more
John Smith
Jun 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this to be the most satisfying work of Fowles's that I've read (can't include The Collector yet). It has the ambiguous and shifting point-of-view, self-reference, and metafictional structure you'd expect. Some reviewers have called it "self-absorbed" and "navel-gazing;" I found it the most outward-looking of anything I've read of Fowles's, although there is much "self-disillusionment." But navel-gazing implies narcissism and even solipsism, which Fowles rejects ("A perfect world would ha ...more
Charles Bechtel
Sep 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can't say what it is about this book, but I have read it more times than any other book except the Hobbit (13). I pick it up every 2-3 years and devour it. (I'm due!) The excellent transfer by the author of me to his locations, the well-formed characterizations, the variety of scene and time, all of these thrill me as I read. Just love it. My favorite Fowles, who is a favorite author, and probably my most favorite book. And I don't know why, precisely.
Kathy
Jun 22, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015


*Spoiler alert*

There are some aspects of this book that are really good and very well written. But there is something fundamentally wrong (for me) when the slippery, dishonest (sometimes) narrator and chief protagonist never gets his comeuppance. Quite the contrary: all the women he has manipulated and cheated seem to forgive him! Mr Fowles seems to want to have his cake and eat it in a way that I find objectionable.

Furthermore, the plot seems to peter out after a protracted period of meandering
...more
dead letter office
After reading A Maggot and The Collector, I was operating under the conviction that John Fowles was incapable of a book unanchored in extreme oddity. Daniel Martin is fine, but its absolute disinterest in defying expectations was totally unexpected. This book is boring in a way I would have thought John Fowles couldn't pull off. He's woven some good short stuff into the very long story of a character who seems to exist only to expound a fundamentally boring personal philosphy. The bottom line is ...more
Dana
Aug 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Prin "Daniel Martin", John Fowles dă viaţă unei poveşti de iubire care transcende timpul, dar face și o analiză minuţioasă a individului englez postbelic preocupat de camuflarea adevăratelor intenţii pentru a acoperi înstrăinarea de sine într-o lume aflată în derivă. Mai mult, prin satirizarea elitei academice a Oxfordului, autorul face şi o paralelă între spaţiul american, preocupat de lucrurile materiale şi atingerea celebrităţii, şi spaţiul englezesc, preocupat de păstrarea tradiţiilor şi men ...more
Under Milkwood
Jan 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having revisited this difficult book after thirty years I ask myself the question _ when did John Fowles become Marcel Proust. Some of his paragraphs went on till the next day and some of his cerebral self-indulgent rants drove me to distraction. But ultimately, his examination of the human psyche through male/ female relationships was nothing short of brilliant. Despite the difficulties, I still love this book.
Erich
I read this 3 decades ago during a week-long storm lashed to a cliff top off northern Vancouver Island....the dialogue is so rich, the characters so real. There are so many great passages. Conveying the sense of place is one of Fowles' gifts. He was a naturalist in the true sense, a lover of nature. Skip the first chapter, however.
Montcrieff
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lori Mcfarlane
Since first reading this novel in a modern fiction class in college, Daniel Martin has retained its place as one of my top favorite books of all time.

This book is no quick and easy read. The plot develops slowly yet steadily, like life. No details are omitted. Deep introspection of the narrator and thorough psychoanalysis of the supporting characters accompanies every small moment. Reading this book is like reading God's diary. How do I even begin to describe this novel?

It is the most intelligen
...more
Montgomery Webster
Apr 03, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommended
Story: 2 / 10
Characters: 5
Setting: 7
Prose: 7

"Tell me a story." That's my reading philosophy. I pick up a book, either because it was recommended or won an annual genre award, but I don't read the description. I simply trust the author to reveal the story to me. I've gone years without reading the back of the book. After this book, that era is over.

Daniel Martin was the second book I've read by John Fowles. A work colleague recommended The Magus and I absolutely loved it. He then went on to reco
...more
Sherelyn Ernst
Jul 10, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I FINALLY finished this, but I'm not proud of it. I finished it because I didn't want to hurt the feelings of someone who thinks this is right up with Shakespeare and Tolstoi and whose opinion I respect. However, for me, the bottom line was chagrin that I plowed through 600 pages of middle-aged male British navel gazing. I understand that I am probably wrong in my assessment; some very famous literary people think very highly of it. I thought of giving it more stars to show that it is very erudi ...more
Jim
Jul 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An amazing, intense, dense, almost unreadable book. It took me three months to read it. It was by turns - self-indulgent, masterful and romantic. It has the otherplacedness that Fowles can deliver – better done in the Magus. The novel requires intense attention as Daniel sifts through his romantic life - Nell, Jamie and finally Jane - all beautiful, desirable and complicated. I disliked and loved the book at the same time - a remarkable feat.
Balkrishna Rao
Sep 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Balkrishna by: Time magazine
One of the best books of the twentieth century.I have read it umpteen times and neverfail to gain new insights into it.
Lainy
This book was way too long. It was interesting, but I didn't have the patience to finish it.
C.G. Fewston
Oct 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Daniel Martin (1977) by John Fowles—as he says in an interview found at the back of his fifth book, what some might call a romance void of romance—relates to being mostly about his exploits in childhood and in America, and what Christopher Lehmann-Haupt describes in his New York Times review called “Un-Inventing the Novel” (dated September 13, 1977) as Mr. Fowles’s attempt to pointedly “uninvent the nihilistic novel of the absurd.”

The 629-page cynical bildungsroman explores the story of a Hollyw
...more
Kai Teorn
I think what we have here is a case of a writer who had made it to the very top and felt he could now relax and write a book entirely for himself, without much concern for being original or, basically, interesting. Just a brain dump, for the sheer pleasure of dumping it. (Nabokov's Ada is another example of such post-success voluminous incongruity.) Worse than self-indulgent, it is outright self-congratulatory: for all its intelligence, observation, stylistic polish, (at times) depth... it's sti ...more
George
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Daniel Martin, an Englishman, is a famous movie script writer, in his 50s, divorced with one daughter in her early 20s. Set in the 1970s with flashbacks to his early 20s at Oxford, England. Daniel is currently living with Jenny, who is an actress and three years older than Daniel's daughter. He is in California when he receives a phone call requesting him to go to England to see Anthony, an old Oxford friend and husband to Daniel's wife's sister. Daniel was told Anthony was dying and requested t ...more
William
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction

John Fowles is one of the greatest of British writers and The French Lieutenant's Woman and The Magus are among my most favored books. I recognize that Daniel Martin is beautifully written but somehow I found it to be too long and too wordy about a topic that I have little interest in.
Sergio
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un romanzo che rinnova i fasti de "La donna del tenente francese"
KAPSC
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Philosophical on a country losing its global power position, relationships and families, theology. A good love story in the mix
Dmitry Zhizhenko
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful but way too long
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John Robert Fowles was born in Leigh-on-Sea, a small town in Essex. He recalled the English suburban culture of the 1930s as oppressively conformist and his family life as intensely conventional. Of his childhood, Fowles said "I have tried to escape ever since."

Fowles attended Bedford School, a large boarding school designed to prepare boys for university, from ages 13 to 18. After briefly attendi
...more
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“She smiled at him as they waited for their dessert, her chin poised on her clasped hands.
'You're being very silent.'
'That's how men cry.”
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“We think we grow old, we grow wise and more tolerant; we just grow more lazy.” 2 likes
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