The Magus (1965)
by John Fowles
The Magus is another book I read, and loved, in high school. Now I find it mildly embarrassing. Both the book itself, which is still regularly considered a "top 100 novels of the century" type of book, and my admiration for it. The Magus is the sort of book you read in college in the United States or England. It is a popular example of "metafiction." It's also a good example of just how popular and successful a work of meta-fiction could be in the market place.
It is also, in my opinion, a very good example of just how tedious metafiction can be. The Magus is nearly 600 pages long, and it winds through so many fun-house-mirror type twists that I was left only vaguely intrigued by the end of the book. I'm sure some of my attitude was engendered by my prior familiarity with the narrative. Like other novels from this time period on the 1001 Books list, the narrative appeals to a young person questioning his or her place in the universe.
Really though, The Magus is a work of popular fiction, not a piece of trailblazing literature. It's not both of these things, either. In fact, I very much doubt The Magus would be on the list at all if it hadn't sold so many copies over the years. The Magus isn't simply a top 100 title else where, it is one of the two (of four) Fowles titles on the original 1001 Books list to make it to the 2010 edition.