BBC NEWS Writer John Fowles dies aged 79: “Fowles died at his home in Lyme Regis, Dorset on Saturday after battling a long illness, his publisher said. Born in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, Fowles’ writing career spanned more than 40 years and also included works such as The Magus and The Collector. The French Lieutenant’s Woman, which became an Oscar-nominated film in 1981 starring Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons, remains his arguably most famous work.”
Fowles had an early influence on me because I was fascinated by his writing, especially the novels The French Lieutenant’s Woman and The Magus, and the philosophical tract The Aristos. I carried the second back and forth between the States and Peru and read it many times. His writing lit an intellectual fire in me and also touched me emotionally with the ironic ambiguity of real life well told. Although I would not have admitted it at the time, I went into my extended exile in Peru because I wanted to be like Nicholas Urfe, the lead troubled character of The Magus or better yet, Fowles himself. His place in British literature may be debated, but the US received him far better than Britain. He represented a kind of creative milestone in my life.