The Magus Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Magus

Nicholas, a teacher and a recent Oxford graduate meets Alison at a party. She is an Australian stewardess, quite experienced with men. They have an instant attraction and begin an affair. Alison falls deeply in love and wants marriage, but, while Nicholas loves her, he is not "in love". He has a British sense of class consciousness, and feels she is beneath him. He leaves London for a teaching job in Greece and once there his arrogance causes him some problems. He meets a mysterious Greek tycoon, and through him, also meets a beautiful young English woman with whom he becomes completely enchanted.
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The story is about Nicholas's coming of age as the love triangle plays out. Alison is often in tears, as she tries valiently to sustain the relationship, as Nicholas begins to feel more bored, guilt-ridden and trapped. There are many on-lookers who continue to give Nicholas advice. The advice falls on deaf ears until he realizes, too late, that all those upon whom he looked down on knew more, in some ways, than he did.

The descriptions of the Greek scenery are awesome, and the plot is quite suspenseful.
The review of this Book prepared by Susan T, Smith

The young protagonist of this story, who is meant to be an educated "every man," dumps his loving girlfriend (because of his aversion to commitment) and goes off to a Greek island to teach at a prep school. There he makes the acquaintance of "Conchis" -- a mysterious and brilliant guru figure, reminiscent of Carl Jung -- and becomes the victim of horrendous psychiatric experiments and tortures, while becoming enthralled and sexually involved with a beautiful woman, Lilly, who may be two women. The experiments performed on him allude to myths, fables and to philosophical themes. In the end, he seems much worse off than before -- and without the mysterious woman whom he realizes that he loves and for whom he must return to England.
The review of this Book prepared by Juan Galis-Menendez

This is a three-ring-circus of a novel which either enthralls or infuriates its readers. Some find its technique delightful sorcery, others maddening trickery. A young Enghlishman named Nicholas Urfe escapes a romance and goes to a small Greek island to teach at a private school but soon finds himself caught up in the stories and live-action plays overseen by a mysterious, wealthy man named Conchis. This "magus" tells Nick stories about himself, reenacts or reproduces some of those stories with live actors, and in general utterly flummoxes both the hero and the reader of this book -- apparently to teach both something about life and literature.
The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

Chapter Analysis of The Magus

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Plot & Themes

Time/era of story    -   1930's-1950's Romance/Romance Problems    -   Yes Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Lover is    -   extremely shy

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   teacher Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   British


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   6 () Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK    -   Greece Misc setting    -   fancy mansion

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only    -   touching of anatomy    -   actual description of hetero sex Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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John Fowles Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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