The French Lieutenant’s Woman

Necromancy Never Pays

After I wrote about my list of favorites, someone asked me why The French Lieutenant’s Woman was on it, and I said that it was because novels by John Fowles were trendy in literary circles when I was in college in the 1980s and I’d read and liked them all, but thought that The French Lieutenant’s Woman was the one to begin with, if you want to read Fowles. Then, of course, I had to reread The French Lieutenant’s Woman to remember why I’d liked it so much. I remembered that it wasn’t so much the tale as the way it was told, and that turned out to be absolutely correct. It’s a Victorian love story, but the narrator is constantly putting a modern perspective on it, musing about Victorianism and how the story might have turned out differently in another age (in fact, the novel has more than…

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