1001 Group Read - June, 2013: The French Lieutenant's Woman

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1001 Group Read - June, 2013: The French Lieutenant's Woman

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1george1295
Mai 31, 2013, 10:34pm

Here's the post for this month's group read. I'm looking forward to your comments.

2Simone2
Jun. 4, 2013, 2:44am

Halfway through the book and no idea of where it's heading! So far a good read, I like Charles and Sarah, Tina a little less, just as I am supposed to! The interventions of Fowles himself out of the 20th century I think are really original, at least to me they are. Ready for the second half!

3sabrinahughes
Jun. 4, 2013, 4:39pm

I'm just at the beginning - this is definitely something I need to read at some other time than just before bed! At least until I get a little farther than chapter 4...

4japaul22
Jun. 4, 2013, 6:54pm

I'll be starting this over the weekend. Looking forward to joining in!

5amerynth
Jun. 5, 2013, 7:56am

I picked up a copy yesterday and am hoping to start soon... just have to finish up another book first.

6JonnySaunders
Bearbeitet: Jun. 6, 2013, 7:04am

My copy arrived yesterday, but I decided on The Kindly Ones first for the Dance to the Music of Time group read. That's nice and short though so should be starting on The French Lieutenant's Woman shortly.

7Simone2
Bearbeitet: Jun. 7, 2013, 1:59am

I finished The French Lieutenant's Woman. That Sarah! She is like no one I know or read about.
Read it! I'd like to know what you think of her, of the book and of Fowles's style of writing!

8Nickelini
Jun. 7, 2013, 2:28am

I read this a few years ago and loved it. It's fun to watch the Meryl Streep/Jeremy Irons film along with it. It's interesting to see how they took the postmodern aspects of the novel and worked them into the film. And a young Meryl Streep at the end of the Cobb is just . . . perfect.

9wookiebender
Jun. 8, 2013, 10:50pm

I've started it, but am not very far into it yet. Finding the post-modern asides from our narrator slightly discombobulating, and sometimes I have to re-read sentences to disentangle all the double negatives. But definitely interesting so far.

10Henrik_Madsen
Jun. 11, 2013, 2:39am

I'm new to this group, but really like the idea of community reading of classics - I usually enjoy them but often need an opportunity to get started.

So, I'm about thirteen chapters into the book. So far I'm enjoying it without loving it, and I'm surprisingly un-irritated by the postmodern aspects. Actually, I rather enjoy the historical parts about the Victorian age, and it is interesting to see a novellist quote Marx at the beginning of chapters.

11Deern
Jun. 12, 2013, 7:39am

I started 2 days ago and up to chapter 13 I really enjoyed it, especially for the side notes and irony. Chapter 13 however was a bit too much direct addressing of the reader for my liking, it kind of delutes the story at an too early point (I read the wikipedia entry and know what to expect later on - this felt just too early). Now starting chapter 18, a long way to go...

I always have to remind myself that the author is male. I can't say why, but the writing feels decidedly female to me and when I'm posting here I'll have to be careful not to write automatically 'she' when saying something about the author.

12george1295
Jun. 12, 2013, 5:25pm

I am about 100 pages in and loving it. I love the characters. They are so Victorian and so real. I really enjoy the writing style and the use of language in the this. Fowles seems to have mastered it. I enjoy the way that Fowles takes us off on tangents of what he is thinking. Why shouldn't we know what the author is thinking if he wants to tell us? I think this one is going to be pretty highly rated on my book list.

13ALWINN
Jun. 13, 2013, 10:16am

Is it just me or does anyone else just want to pimp slap the old woman and her butt kissing no business of her own lacky????

14Lakenvelder
Jun. 13, 2013, 2:20pm

I just ordered the book. I wanted to join one of the group read but keep missing them.

15Henrik_Madsen
Jun. 16, 2013, 10:10am

I have finished the book now and posted my review at the book page. It's in Danish, however, so it's probably not accessible to very many.

In short: I did enjoy the book a lot. I thought it had some great charachters, particularly Charles who is both trying to be the perfect gentleman and rebelling against the ideal and of course Sarah Woodruff who remains an enigma, even if we time and again think we have figured out, what she is really about. The love story (stories?) was interesting, and I was curious how it would turn out until the end.

Obviously, the novel is also a literary experiment. Fowles regularly steps forward to comment on the Victorian age or even the novel itself. I didn't have a problem with the first kind of comments. It underlined the differences between then and now, and it gave me a broader understanding of the society the story is placed in.

I didn't really like Fowles talking about the novel being a novel, however. Of course any piece of fiction is constructed. If reading was purely intellectual, pointing it out would be a great service to the reader. (Much like stating the premises is helping the reader deconstruct a scientific paper) The problem is, reading a novel is also about empathizing with the story and the characters - and is just harder empathizing with a character that is very explicitly a construction, even if the author claims, that the character is taking him places he hadn't thought of before.

Four stars for a good but not great read.

16george1295
Jun. 19, 2013, 12:13pm

I finished this and am so glad that someone recommended it. I think it is a wonderful story. I really enjoyed the way that Fowles played with us as readers by commenting on his book and changing the story back and forth. I also found the side comments about the Victorian era very interesting and enlightening. I have to admit that I am at a loss to figure Sarah out, but then Sarah admitted that she was at a loss as well. I ended up feeling sorry for Charles overall. But I also feel that Charles got the result of the seeds that he sowed -- or perhaps, failed to sow.

17ALWINN
Jun. 19, 2013, 2:23pm

Well everyone thought they knew Sarah and her story without really knowing Sarah it was all word of mouth. And all the rumors and such was completely false. Busy bodies in any society is never good for anyone.

18Simone2
Jun. 19, 2013, 2:34pm

Nice, Alwinn!!

19george1295
Jun. 20, 2013, 5:10pm

Judge not lest ye be judged. Isn't it ironic that (at least as far as we know) she was never know as 'The Gentleman's Woman.'

20ALWINN
Jun. 25, 2013, 10:06am

And come to find out she wasnt even The Lieutenants women either.

21japaul22
Jun. 25, 2013, 10:18am

I just finished this book and am confused about my feelings toward it! Here is some of my review.

I cannot decide whether I loved this book or was annoyed by it. Fowles wrote this Victorian era novel in the 1960s, but it never struck me as historical fiction. I guess it felt more like a writing exercise with really well thought out characters. Fowles inserts himself into the book, exploring his control or lack thereof over the characters, and comments on Victorian era psyche from the perspective of the 1960s. He also supplies 3 different endings to the book, never really saying which he feels is the right one.

I found this all interesting and annoying at the same time. I think it was even more annoying because the characters are so interesting and the plot so familiar (at the beginning at least) that I kind of wanted it to just be a straight ahead Victorian novel. I think it's kind of brilliant that Fowles was able to mesh these two things but it was also kind of jarring to read.

22sjmccreary
Jun. 28, 2013, 5:30pm

Finished the book yesterday, so I've had overnight to think about it. Like Henrik said in post #15, I enjoyed the author's comments to the reader about the Victorian age, but not his going on about the construction of the novel.

As far as the story goes, I'm at a loss to determine whether I have less regard for Sarah or for Charles. Come to think of it - I don't know which characters I did like. Maybe Mr Freeman - he at least seems to be true to himself. I found it to be an interesting story and I'm glad I read the book. I won't be watching the movie again, however.

23JonnySaunders
Jun. 29, 2013, 5:59pm

Finished it just in the nick of time to end the month.

I really enjoyed it. I thought all the existentialist diversions were fascinating, even the infamous Chapter 13. My favourite though was the introduction of the bearded gentleman in the train carriage and his magical coin/pocket watch. I just found the idea really interesting and thought provoking, opening up the possible interpretations of the story.

24crosswords11
Nov. 21, 2013, 7:49am

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