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The French Lieutenant's Woman (1969)

by John Fowles

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,761961,258 (3.84)1 / 405
A woman, ostracized by Victorian society and abandoned by her French lover, fascinates a man who resolves to unravel the mystery of her clandestine past.
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English (92)  Spanish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (96)
Showing 1-5 of 92 (next | show all)
Wonderful writing, research, interesting technique of inserting the author's comments into the story, but I am disappointed that we never discover the reason's for Sarah's actions, including her elaborate lie about the French Lt., a lie that set into motion her involvement with Charles. So I find this novel less than completely satisfying. ( )
  Misprint | Aug 31, 2020 |
The author's point of view in this novel is unique, coming as a modern man critiquing his Victorian protagonists. A woman is jilted, but judged immoral. A man, engaged, encounters her and works to redeem her, but falls in love. ( )
  LindaLeeJacobs | Feb 15, 2020 |
Boring author went off on too many tangents ( )
1 vote EddieBennett | Apr 26, 2019 |
2.25 stars

In the 1860s in Lyme Regis, England, we have a love triangle. Ernestina is in love with Charles, but Charles falls for some mysterious woman, Sarah (apparently the “French Lieutenant’s Woman” of the title… though in my skimming I never did “get” that).

Started off badly, just based on the cover – very creepy, in my opinion – a woman’s eyes and top half of her face are whited-out and there are branches growing from her head. Wtf is that!? Anyway, when the first bit appeared to be a lot of description, I almost immediately lost interest. When I lose interest, I skim. I don’t put books aside, as I hope they will get better, but I know that because I’m skimming, it’s hard to notice if it improves. I do try to slow myself down every so often to see if it helps. And I did find, with this one, with about ¼ of the book left, I got more interested (that’s the extra .25 stars) – most of the time. There were odd parts where the actual narrator, who was set in the 1960s commented for a chapter or so. Oh, I did enjoy the couple of mentions of Mary Anning, finder of fossils in Lyme Regis during the time the novel is set. “The Collector” was so much better; however given this book, I don’t know that I’ll read more by this author. ( )
  LibraryCin | Mar 1, 2019 |
I'm pretty much in love with this book. Seriously fantastic, lush writing, unique narrative style, touching on all sorts of issues, and nearly impossible to put down. I'm still not sure which choose-your-own-adventure ending I'm going to go with. So good. ( )
  sprainedbrain | Dec 1, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 92 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (30 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fowles, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fuente, Ana María de laTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Velde, Frédérique van derTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Every emancipation is a restoration of the human
world and of human relationships to man himself
Marx, Zur Judenfrage (1844)
Dedication
First words
An easterly is the most disagreeable wind in Lyme Bay - Lyme Bay being that largest bite from the underside of England's outstretched south-western leg - and a person of curiosity could at once have deduced several strong possibilities about the pair who began to walk down the quay at Lyme Regis, the small but ancient eponym of the inbite, one incisively sharp and blustery morning in the late March of 1867.
Quotations
"Fiction usually pretends to conform to the reality: the writer puts the conflicting wants and then describes the fight - but in fact fixes the fight, letting the want he himself favors win. And we judge writers of fiction both by the skill they show in fixing the fights (in other words in persuading us that they were not fixed) and by the kind of fighter they fix in favor of: the good one, the tragic one, the evil one, the funny one and so on."

"That is the great distinction between the sexes. Men see objects, women see the relationship between objects. Whether the objects need each other, love each other, match each other. It is an extra dimension of feeling we men are without and one that makes war abhorrent to all real women—and absurd . . . War is a psychosis caused by an inability to see relationships."
When Charles left Sarah on her cliff ledge, I ordered him to walk straight back to Lyme Regis. But he did not; he gratuitously turned and went down to the Dairy.
- p. 81
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A woman, ostracized by Victorian society and abandoned by her French lover, fascinates a man who resolves to unravel the mystery of her clandestine past.

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