Thursday, October 19, 2006
Talk about pleasures recalled in tranquility. Last week I encountered and bought for 50 cents "The Magus" by John Fowles in Kauniainen Library. It is the revised edition - I am not totally certain but I think I read exactly this version of the text (in Finnish) for the first time in the tender age of 13. I was burningly unhappy, just beginning a desert of long, painful years, and it was such a sublime experience to forget my surroundings in that dark winter month. I happened to be in a hospital and asked my parents to bring it in order to finish it. Such ecstasy. It is a novel to be read when young. It actually was one of the many literary, artistic gates that opened my way and expanded the sometimes cruelly narrow circumstances that I unluckily (and through personal inadequacies) found myself in, in that now very distant youth. I have of course reread it since and largely share the author's own views (as expressed in the Preface to the revised edition): it is not disciplined, mature enough, disguising undoubtedly deep personal uncertainties. That is why it so strongly appeals to young people. Of course, those faults in a strange way are its strengths. A hugely meaningful book indeed.