"Count me out of that one, I didn't like it first time round," he said.
"Grrr," said I.
I confess I felt down-hearted then and swithered about my choice, but I decided to stick with it in the hope of a more supportive response from all of you, so come on, people, show some enthusiasm, some open-mindedness, please! If you've read the book before (and I have, 100 years ago - my original copy has Meryl Streep on the cover) wouldn't you like to read it again? If you've never read it, how about discovering what makes it a classic of late twentieth century fiction?
"Few modern bestselling writers offer such a packed experience," says the Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide, while according to the publisher's website it's "an epic love story of two people of insight and imagination seeking escape from the cant and tyranny of their age. To the last detail of dress, idiom and manners, John Fowles immaculately recreates Victorian England in the greatest of his novels, which has been the subject of universal acclaim since its first publication". "A brilliant success ... A passionate piece of writing," (Financial Times); "You can read this book again and again, always finding something new ... ," (Daily Mail).
'Charles Smithson, a respectable engaged man, meets Sarah Woodruff as she stands on the Cobb at Lyme Regis, staring out to sea. Charles falls in love, but Sarah is a disgraced woman, and their romance will defy all the stifling conventions of the Victorian age.' That's it in brief, but Fowles is known for his ornate prose and for 'playing' with his readers - I daresay the latter will be a talking point in due course.
This book should be easy to get hold, either to borrow or to buy, pretty much anywhere. Apart from the edition pictured above (and numerous older ones) there is a new edition, published in association with the V&A, with a cover designed by milliner Philip Treacy (and should overseas readers have trouble finding it locally The Book Depository will send it anywhere, post free). There is also a Kindle version, and of course you might care to watch the film - "She was lost from the moment she saw him ...".
I've read several of John Fowles' novels (though as I said, that was a long time ago) and I remember loving them, so I hope to be similarly enchanted by this re-read which will also be a milestone for the group - it is our 50th. book!
We are due to talk about Dorothy L. Sayers' The Nine Tailors from the 24th. of March, so let's start our discussion on The French Lieutenant's Woman on Saturday, 21st. April, and I'm hoping for a more positive reaction than I got from himself ...