Daniel Martin is a successful scriptwriter in Hollywood with a trophy mistress and lots of material success. He gets a call informing him that his estranged university friend, Anthony, is dying of cancer and wishes to see him to obtain a reconciliation. He returns to England, sees his friend (who then commits suicide), rekindles a romance with the friend's wife, Jane, whom he realizes he should have married years before, finally choosing to give up the success and the mistress in America for real love and meaning with Jane.
This report prepared by Juan Galis-Menendez
This is Fowles's obvious attempt to write the Great Novel. Daniel Martin, a middle-aged British writer not unlike Fowles, lives in California, writes screenplays, and has a young girlfriend, when word comes from England that an old friend is dying and wants to see him. Martin had been alienated from that circle because he once wrote and staged a play that his friends felt unfairly depicted them. In addition, he had a romantic encounter with his friend's future wife when they were all at Oxford. Martin must journey -- back to England, back into his past -- to make peace and move forward. The novel travels from the pueblo country of the American Southwest to the desert monuments of the ancient Egyptians; it switches back and forth, unaccountably, between first and third person; there are wondrous depictions of the hero's farming childhood right out of Thomas Hardy, and a gorgeous chapter about young first love called "Phillida" ... but it's a slow, stately book which reminds me of Virginia Woolf's remark about _Middlemarch_: it's a novel for grownups.
This report prepared by David Loftus