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Curator Reviews

1969 Book Club

Widely hailed as a postmodern classic, the seeds of The French Lieutenant’s Woman were planted by an image that came to Fowles, of “a woman [who] stands at the end of a deserted quay and stares out to sea.” The novel’s principal device it to overlay the story of a disgraced and abandoned woman in an English fishing town in the mid 19th century with the narrator’s voice intervening in the action, and eventually becoming a part of it. A successful movie starring Meryl Streep helped expand the novel’s reputation, and in 2010, Time magazine included it among the “100 best English-language novels published since 1923.”

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Suzanne Vega

What a clever book this is! Again, I love the setup and the self-consciousness of the narrator; and the obsessive searching of Sarah Woodruff at the horizon again and again, as she returns to the ocean’s edge, cloaked in black. I don’t agree with those people who feel she is a plot device and not fleshed out — she is as real to me as anyone I know.

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