Read The Ebony Tower by John Fowles Online

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The Ebony Tower is a series of novellas, rich in imagery, exploring the nature of art. In the title story, a journalist visiting a celebrated but reclusive painter is intrigued by the elderly artist's relationship with two beautiful young women. John Fowles reputation as a master storyteller was further advanced by this collection, which echoed themes and preoccupations frThe Ebony Tower is a series of novellas, rich in imagery, exploring the nature of art. In the title story, a journalist visiting a celebrated but reclusive painter is intrigued by the elderly artist's relationship with two beautiful young women. John Fowles reputation as a master storyteller was further advanced by this collection, which echoed themes and preoccupations from his other books....

Title : The Ebony Tower
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780099480518
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Ebony Tower Reviews

  • mark monday
    2018-11-02 07:31

    exquisitely written bourgeois entertainment. perhaps not the edifying exploration of emotion, identity, and human nature that the author intended - and rather a comedown after my excellent experience with his brilliant A Maggot - but a pleasant trifle nonetheless. Fowles has a beautiful hand with the prose; his characterization is deep and nuanced but unfortunately the characters themselves are quite uninteresting, so rather sadly it will be all those pretty sentences strung together that I will mainly remember."The Ebony Tower" - 2 stars. Fowles explores the outer life of an elderly painter and celebrated enfant terrible of the art scene, and the inner life of the artist and critic tasked with interviewing him. as noted, characterization was rich and real. unfortunately, I have scarce interest in the life of a tantrum-prone, drunken lecher and even less interest in an angst-filled critic contemplating an affair. the ebony tower of the title is an idea, and a malleable one at that: to the older gent, it is a terrible place where lives art that is all thinking and not feeling; to the younger, it is the dark gulf that lies between what he should do (stay true to his loving, talented wife) and what he wants to do (fuck that young art student living with the older gent). my ebony tower is a place where I'd like to send both characters."Eliduc" - 1 star. Fowles recounts a medieval tale of a faithless knight torn between his loving wife and the ardent young lady he'd like to make his own. the story appears to be a self-serving justification for even exploring the conflict of "The Ebony Tower" in the first place. the writing itself is surprisingly lackluster so this was a tedious slog."The Enigma" - 4 stars. this is the gem of the collection. an older writer finds himself the captive of an enigmatic young thief who proves to be intelligent, political, disinterested in physically tormenting his cowardly prey, and yet who ends up dealing out the most sadistic punishment imaginable for a writer just about to finish up his labour of love - a book four years in the making about 19th century author Thomas Peacock Love (had to LOL at the choice of subject). the enigma in question is "why would the young man do such a terrible thing - and, dear me, why ever would he flash a thumbs up sign after doing it?" although this wasn't the most absorbing of things to contemplate, Fowles does such a superb job at showing us who this writer is, and he does it so mordantly, that I was fascinated, almost against my will. and when the terrible deed does occur, I found my reactions to be just as horrified as the author, when my inner anarchist should have rejoiced. it is hard to rejoice though when the creative work of even the most bourgeois of writers is mercilessly destroyed. apparently I am not so allied with the revolution after all - off with my head!"The Cloud" - 3 stars. although featuring the same sorts of characters indulging themselves in the same sort of maudlin navel-gazing present throughout the book, this novella was the most beautifully written of the collection and ended on a disturbingly ambiguous note that was much to my liking. it recounts a balmy afternoon during a vacation in the south of France (of course): five men and women discussing their perspectives on life and art, making occasional feints and jabs at each other, all quite civilized, while one of them is slowly imploding on the inside. vaguely annoying but there were many lovely flights of prose and several rather interesting moments - overall, it was much like the book that contained it.

  • Deniz Balcı
    2018-11-07 01:29

    “Abanoz Kule” Fowles’ın 1974’te, üç büyük romanınından sonra (Koleksiyoncu, Büyücü, Fransız Teğmenin Kadını) kaleme aldığı, her satırını o zamana kadarki edebiyatına göndermelerle süslediği, acayip zengin bir eser. Türkçede ilk olarak 1990 senesinde İletişim Yayınları tarafından basılmış; 2008’de Ayrıntı Yayınları’na geçmiş ve bildiğimiz baskısıyla kitapçılarda bulunmaya başlamış.Kitapta bir kısa roman, dört tane de öykü bulunmakta. Kitaba ismini veren ‘Abanoz Kule’ isimli kısa romanı okurken yine Fowles’ın dehasına hayran kaldığımı söylemek istiyorum. Fowles, okurken en çok zevk aldığım yazarların başında gelir ve her cümlesinin yoğun bir entelektüel birikimin yansıması olduğunu fark etmenin hazzını, bir okur olarak zevkle duyumsarım . “Büyücü”yü okuyanlar buna şahit olmuşlardır zaten. İşte kitabın ‘Abanoz Kule’ bölümü de benzer yoğunlukta ve aynı edebi seçkinliğe sahip. Aynı zamanda “Büyücü” ile bilinçli bir benzerlik (hatta ön izleme) taşıdığı da fark edilirken; bu kez konunun tamamen sanat üzerinden işlenmesi, örgünün bendeki etkisini kat be kat arttırdı.İkinci öykü ‘Eliduc’, 12.yy yazarlarından Maria de France’ın yazdığı, Fowles’ın çevirip esere dahil ettiği bir parça. Bir kelt öyküsü olan bu hikaye, 12.yy’da yazılmış ‘lai’ isimli özel bir türe ait geleneksel bir aşk hikayesi. Fowles’ın çeşitlemelerinin içerisine bunu koymakla vermeye çalıştığı mesajı tam anlayamamakla birlikte, kitaptaki en az sevdiğim bölümün burası olduğunu söyleyebilirim.Ardından gelen ‘Zavallı Koko’ ve ‘Muamma’ isimli öyküler ise şaheser. Michael Haneke filmlerinden alışık olduğumuz soğukkanlı bir eleştirinin edebiyattaki eşdeğeri resmen. Okurken hikayenin ritmine tamamen dahil olurken diğer yandan acımasızca yöneltilen eleştirilerle, özdeşleşme sınırında muhatap olunan rahatsız edici öyküler. Fowles ‘Tanrı’ rolünden vazgeçmiyor ve öykülerin en can alıcı yerlerinde bir anda merkezde kendini var ediyor. Tam özdeşleşmeyle en olasılıklı ilişki kurulmuşken, bıçak gibi yabancılaşma darbesi hem sizi hem de öyküyü kesiyor. Özellikle ‘Muamma’nın sonu bence çok başarılı bir yazarın elinden çıkabilecek hamlelerle örülmüş.Son öykü ‘Bulut’ ise benim yine mesafeli durduğum ve fazla özümseyemediğim bölümlerden biri. Salingervari bir anlatıma sahip olan öykü aynı zamanda şiddetli bir Rainer Werner Fassbinder filmi havasına sahip. Marguerite Duras’ın eleştirel içeriğiyle, Salinger’ın diyaloglarını; Fassbinder görselliği üzerinde düşünün. Öyküyü bu hissiyatla okudum ve teknik açıdan başarılı bulmama rağmen kişisel olarak keyif alamadım.Fowles cidden gerçek bir yetenek. Aceleye getirmeden, keyifle okunmalı. Anglofililik ile incecik bir bağ kurabilirsem zorlamayla, bunun edebiyat kolunu Fowles sağlayacaktır, eminim. Okumanızı tavsiye ederim.İyi okumalar!Not: 4 verme sebebim, yazarın diğer eserlerine duyduğum saygıdandır.8.5/10

  • Lobstergirl
    2018-11-07 04:24

    I'm glad this wasn't my first exposure to Fowles, because it would have turned me off him for good and I never would have read The French Lieutenant's Woman. I didn't realize that it was a novella and four stories. (Nowhere on my copy of the book is this indicated.) The novella, The Ebony Tower, is about a dirty old man, an expat British artist living in France, his two young concubines, named the Mouse and the Freak, and David, the artist/writer who drops into their lives briefly to interview the old man for a book. The novella grossed me out, soured me, and left me disinclined to give Fowles the benefit of the doubt on the stories that followed.There's a discussion of realist vs. abstract art running through the novella (the dirty old man, Breasley, is a well known realist painter who despises abstraction) that feels impossibly silly and dated. As does everything else - the way nipples are constantly being observed through hippie clothing, the way the men have last names and the women don't (though we do eventually find out their real first names), the way the women strip nude for picnics as if in a Manet painting. I wanted to put a bullet in each character's head. Breasley, for being a misogynist asshole and speaking in staccato fragments:"Cock. Not fundamentals. Fundaments. ...Pair of tits and a cunt. All that goes with them. That's reality. Not your piddling little theorems and pansy colours.""Absolute piffle, my dear man. No idea. Spent half your life getting their legs open. Other half wishing you hadn't. Either that. Catching the clap off some tart. Dog's life. Don't know how we stood it."The Mouse and the Freak, for being willing objects of a dirty old man's lusts and domestic needs. David, for finding the whole situation pleasurable, though he is sketched as a less misogynist counterpoint to Breasley.The second story, Eliduc, is a retelling of an archetypal medieval love story about a knight and his two lady loves. The Eliduc story is referenced briefly in The Ebony Tower, too, with the Mouse and the Freak standing in for the two lady loves. Poor Koko is about a writer confronted with a bizarre intruder while staying in the isolated cottage of some friends. The Enigma is about the disappearance of a conservative member of Parliament, and the attempts to figure out a motive for why he might have disappeared. In The Cloud, a family gathering at the beach turns ominous. I had a hard time with The Cloud because I don't do present tense. I skimmed it quickly.

  • Laila
    2018-11-15 07:37

    Şu ana kadar okuduğum fowles kitapları içinde en farklı olanı diyebilirim. İnsanın bilinçaltını yoklayan, yaptığı sembolik göndermelerle kararlarımızın altında yatan ferçeklerle yüzleşmemizi sağlayan bir yanı var.

  • Moses Kilolo
    2018-10-25 02:13

    Though each of these stories are very interesting, I found the last two unable to match up to the first ones. I am tempted to choose a favorite among them, but that would be hard, for there are different things to love so much about each of them. My attention was however arrested by a small portion to be found in poor Koko. Fowles speaks of the nature of words, of art. Of how some of us struggle as much as we can to make sure that this form of art survives. Yet the enemy triumphs. A triumph of the visual, of television. So true, and had me wondering whether this isn't the reason why so many young people don't read anymore, given the easy, and [more] entertaining television that within an hour or two makes you think like you've experienced the most amazing story...yet easily, and soon forgotten..., jumping on to the next. Each of the other stories have a lot of human insight to offer. And it is a joy reading them, too.

  • Tim Weed
    2018-11-13 06:39

    In a 1971 interview about his brilliant first novel The Magus, John Fowles admitted that he was obsessed by “the basic idea of a secret world, whose penetration involved ordeal and whose final reward was self-knowledge.” This passage from Joseph Campbell’s groundbreaking 1949 study The Hero With a Thousand Faces could have been written with a Fowles protagonist in mind:"Once having traversed the threshold, the hero moves in a dream landscape of curiously fluid, ambiguous forms, where he must survive a succession of trials. This is a favorite phase of the myth-adventure. It has produced a world literature of miraculous tests and ordeals."Fiction is a modern form of mythology, a remnant of a primordially ingrained storytelling instinct predating science and psychology. Digging under the surface of a character can turn up illuminating archetypal correspondences. There are dangers in applying structuralist archetypes to storytelling of course; as Hollywood continually demonstrates, over-relying on them can lead to a deadening formulaic approach. Writers would do well to heed Fowles’ own advice: “Follow the accident, fear the fixed plan—that is the rule.”Read the rest of my review here: http://bit.ly/1lhpw1K

  • Bettie☯
    2018-11-01 07:43

    short storiesspring 2013nutty nuutpub 1974artebook Original cover: Pisanello, fragment of fresco in Ducal palace, MantuaThe Ebony TowerEliducPoor KokoThe EnigmaThe CloudTBR Busting 20133* A Maggot4* The Magus4* The French Lieutenant's Woman4* The Collector3* Daniel Martin 3* The Ebony Tower

  • Lavinia
    2018-11-05 09:22

    What I really liked about Fowles’ stories is that each of them has a different theme and narrative technique which makes the reading very interesting. I really like some of them.***turnul de abanos e o colectie de 5 nuvele ale lui john fowles. prima, cea care da titlul cartii, aduce pe undeva cu magicianul [un batrin izolat, doua fete]. prima parte e destul de descriptiva, semi-plictisitoare, o teoretizare a artei secolului 20 [caci batrinul cu pricina e un pictor retras]. abia in a doua parte incep sa se intimple lucruri si sa fie mai interesant. ce-mi place e ca fiecare din cele 5 nuvele e diferita de celelalte, nu numai ca tema ci si ca tehnica narativa, ceea ce a facut ca lectura sa fie foarte interesanta. undeva la ultima [norul] m-am pierdut, recunosc ca nu mi-au fost suficiente 70 de pagini pentru a-mi da seama who’s who, cine cu cine e casatorit s.a.m.d.

  • Betherin
    2018-10-25 03:18

    I was actually quite disappointed in how every one of these stories ended. I found them to be initially interesting, but they all petered out at the ends...so much so that I couldn't get myself to finish reading the last one. It just seemed like a waste of my time to take the time to read it when it was a) not interesting to begin with, and b) probably just going end like every one of the other stories. The Magus is one of my all-time favorites, but The Ebony Tower in no way lives up to Fowles' other writings.

  • Ana
    2018-11-18 04:39

    The importance of the once endless forest.

  • Cody
    2018-10-22 04:21

    oh my god here's another story about a creepy old man and his weird triad with some sexy nymphs, john fowles has done it againHe said gently, "Balls."

  • Claudia Putnam
    2018-10-28 01:21

    Fowles is one of the greats, that's for sure. I've been under the spell of The French Lieutenant's Woman for so long I've been afraid to read anything else, including what everyone says is his real masterpiece, The Magus. Not just because I was afraid nothing else would live up, but because I was afraid it might. Weird? Maybe. I just didn't want TFLW to get knocked off its pedestal. One of the things that's so fantastic about Fowles is how ahead of his time he was in terms of his handling of women's POVs, and the male POV toward women. It's hard to squirm. He squirms as a male. And this is in the 70s and earlier. Even when he delivers a bombshell, as in the narrator POV saying something like "she invited regiments and rape." Then gradually the whole story redeems itself pages later. You just can't give up on him. Gradually being the key word with Fowles. I have to come out and say this, I feel: you have to be a bit old-fashioned for him, despite what I just said about him having been ahead of his time, and a fairly modernist writer, even verging postmodern (though I've had arguments about this, and pretty much lost them). I think you have to have had a damn good education to appreciate him, maybe even gone to one of the good prep schools, I'm sorry to say. By which I mean a really foundational education... Maybe I'm wrong. I hope I'm wrong. I think it may be something that's shifted in the past 10 years or so in terms of our education systems... In the case of the stories/novellas in this collection, there's a very old-fashioned approach. For example, in the mystery story about the vanished MP, you get a lot of backstory to start out with, and not a lot of emotional connection to the characters. This is a Victorian style, where the author assumes he has you because, well, he's writing a story and you're reading it. And, in the end, that's so and the argument carries off. The final story takes almost an Woolfian approach, starting out with dialogue, a lot of people on a picnic, and you don't know why you're supposed to care. It's only as you gradually zoom in that the emotional impact builds and builds. You're left devastated. The first novella, the title story, is an absolute masterwork. Imagine you were able to walk into a romantic painting. A landscape with mythological overtones (slightly Arthurian, say), with nudes, as a male, and find yourself interacting with the women there. And also with the extremely gifted painter...who, quite naturally would have to be a selfish and probably chauvinistic bastard much as described in, say, Zola's The Masterpiece... Let's say you are sort of a nice guy with some principles and an extremely fine understanding of art, maybe quite a bit of talent yourself, not to mention ideals. Throw in not a few allusions to Childe Roland and the Arthurian corpus because this story is set in Brittany... Did I forget to mention that the painter lives alone (except for his nudes/assistants) in a remote manor in the Breton countryside? Which you are visiting sans wife for a weekend? Knights errant and their dark towers and perilous gards. What you have is a spectacular meditation not on art as you might expect but on the wild male. The tale is spin on this same theme--a translation of Eliduc by Marie de France. Which by coincidence, or so it seems, may be extraordinarily helpful to me in a project of my own I may or may not get to before I die regarding M de F. Highly recommended.

  • Danièle
    2018-11-05 07:40

    In the proper John Fowles tradition, this collection is well crafted and somewhat off the wall. It's not every book you pick up that contains a novella, a translation of an 11th-century Celtic romance, a mock autobiographical tale, and two short stories. It gives the impression that these were some items that the author had lying around and decided randomly to bring together for publication. As such, it worked pretty well as a summer holiday read, offering a few tidbits that engaged without requiring too much stamina.I liked the original fiction offerings the most; different in setting but similar in tone, that of the 'retro' setting on modern cameras, turning everything slightly yellow and hazy and giving the impression of a hot summer day. Characters are complex, have hidden depths and repressed agonies that torture the soul. The settings seem out of touch with real life, time proceeding at a slower pace, and events seemingly unlikely to have any real consequence.In The Enigma, my favourite of the stories, Fowles is knowing about the role of the author. "Let's pretend everythign to do with theFieldings, even you and me sitting here now, is in a novel." says one of the characters, reminding you that that is exactly the case. She goes on to explain how the Enigma of the title would have been set up and then resolved by the author, offering a potential solution. The same conversation points out how, in the real world, mysteries are not always resolved, thus softening for the reader the blow that this particular enigma ultimately remains unexplained - usually an unacceptable conclusion in literature.I remember putting down this book without the sense of 'Wow, that was brilliant' that I always hope to gain from each new work of fiction that I approach, but with a sense of warm, languid satisfaction, not unlike how one might feel at the end of a hot, sunny day in an unfamiliar but pleasant location.

  • Max
    2018-10-26 06:26

    I don't know what my issue was here, but reading this felt like a plodding chore. Fowles' prose is still a delight, but I don't know if his storytelling works for me in the short fiction mode. The title story was sort of a light Magus, in fitting with his "variations" theme for the collection, but it doesn't reach the scope of the longer novel, despite threading in a wonderful sense of dread. There's no real release to the tension. The Cloud is the other worthwhile story, but even that suffers from too many ill-defined characters and muddy, vague psychologies. Eliduc is an ill-fitting oddity. Poor Koko feels in its first half like a lesser writer's story: potboiling and tension, contrasting character pairs; and its latter half features the kind of heavy philosophizing (Fowles at his worst) that absolutely halts momentum. I can respect the string of ideas that ties together this story package; it's quite interesting really to see Fowles touch lightly on all his thematic obsessions. But it all fizzles out; I rarely felt invested in the stories he was telling. Eh...

  • M.
    2018-11-14 04:28

    Eğer daha önce Fowles okumadıysanız kesinlikle ve kesinlikle Büyücü ile başlamak zorundasınız. Bu adamı anlamanın başka yolu yok.Abanoz kule... Başlarda müthiş sıkıldım. Fazla detaydan özellikle Fowles'ın 'of resim hakkında ne çok şey biliyorum ya' diye bağıran terimlerinden ve isimlerden fenalık geldi. Ayrıca okuduğum kadarıyla adamın sapık bir düş dünyası olduğu izlenimine kapılıyorum. Hikaye, Büyücü'nün saçmalar saçması bir versiyonu. Okuduğum üç eserinde de başka adamlara kadınları hapsettiren Fowles'ın kısıtlı hayal gücünü etkili bir şekilde örmesine hayranım. Türk filmlerinin oyuncularının değişip senaryonun belli değişiklerle sabit kalması gibi.Sonu beni tatmin etmese de garip bir şekilde hikayeyi beğenmediğimi söyleyemem. Bu adam gerçek bir Büyücü. Ama hiçbir eseri asla Büyücü kadar müthiş değil, bence.Diğer hikayeleri sırf yazarın hatrına okudum diyebilirim. Ayrıntı'dan kitap okumak, sivrisinek tarafından ısırılmaya benziyor. Başlarda çok rahatsız edici, hiç bitmeyecekmiş gibi gelen bir kaşınma hissi. Zamanla alışılan bi uyuşma ve elin devamlı oraya gidip sıvazlanma isteği.

  • Lucy
    2018-11-06 02:27

    This book was chosen by my book club. I had read The Collector and The French Lieutenant's Woman years ago and looked forward to reading The Ebony Tower. I liked two stories out of the five - Poor Koko and The Enigma. I found the others (all five are novellas more than short stories) too wordy, very sexist and difficult to get into. I don't mind complicated stories but I really don't like it when I have to look up a lot of words. I find it pretentious and it makes me feel a bit stupid and uneducated. Even his 'personal note', explaining Eliduc, is hard to read and understand!At least Poor Koko and The Enigma were good stories and pretty much stayed to the point (The Enigma does stray a little but only into a sub-story). Neither were 'too wordy'.If I had never read John Fowles before I certainly wouldn't want to read anything else by him after this book. I may just leave it at that, anyway.

  • Dennis Nehamen
    2018-10-26 08:30

    When I read Fowles I'm prepared to sit not only with the book but my dictionary as well. As a pure writer, he is a master. As a storyteller, he's spectacular. What I love about Ebony Tower (a collection of novelettes) is one story in particular. The set up is that he's off in a mountain cabin lent to him by a friend. He's completing a manuscript when he's intruded on by a thief. Not suspecting the encounter, the robber ties up the protagonist and then proceeds to burn his manuscript. It's Fowles' psychodynamic interpretation that is astounding and brilliant. Why would this man care to burn what had taken the author months, years to bring to the final editorial stage? That's the question that Fowles dwells on. Without revealing the answer, I'll simply state that if a country wanted to build a foundation for prosperity for its people, his conclusion would serve as the central theme.

  • Sarah Sammis
    2018-10-29 02:29

    "The Ebony Tower" returns to the theme of mentorship, telling another version a meeting with a roll model. In this case, it's a meeting of artists. David Williams, a frustrated artist detours from his holiday with his wife to interview the cantankerous Henry Breasley who lives in seclusion with two beautiful former art students: Diana (the Mouse) and Anne (the Freak). David spends the weekend being lectured on morality, sexuality and modern art. He is tempted to join this hedonistic lifestyle in the wilderness but does end up returning to his wife saying that he "survived."The story captures the culture class of the fifties and the seventies, at a time when things were becoming more informal but the era of free love was waxing.

  • Andrew
    2018-11-10 08:42

    John Fowles doesn't get much respect in the States, which is pretty unfortunate. He's so good at sculpting these impressionistic, slightly sinister atmospheres. And then, rather than using them as backdrop, he plays with them, constantly forcing them to interact with human agents. It's a trick that readers of Borges and Calvino should find pretty enjoyable. The stories in The Ebony Tower, the title one above all, manages this atmosphere. And, like all the others, it's able to weave together mythologies and sign systems into a tightly woven whole.

  • Valentina Chugunova
    2018-11-10 06:21

    Это была такая хорошая книга ровно до момента, когда она ему не дала. Такие изящные диалоги с легкой сумасшедшинкой от абсурдности всего происходящего. А потом все скатилось к неразделенной любви/желанию самого пошлого толка. И вообще забавно наблюдать, как герой резко глупеет, начиная определять свою успешность через секс.

  • Riff
    2018-10-22 08:34

    Collection of five novellas from the genius that is Fowles. Stunningly brilliant, eloquent and profoundly intelligent. It is surely impossible not to learn from this man about both writing and life itself. This writer took literature towards a new frontier. Amazing.

  • Steve Smoot
    2018-11-10 08:31

    well written but not interesting.

  • Moljac
    2018-11-13 07:41

    Prevod ove knjige bi slobodno mogao glasiti kao "Kula od jebanovine" - bez negativnih konotacija, naravno.

  • Mont
    2018-11-19 02:32

    David Williams, an English art critic and color-field painter, arrives in northern France to interview an older painter named William Breasley, who is living in self- imposed exile from England and Paris. Away from his wife, David finds himself affected by the atmosphere at Breasley's manor, which is deep in one of the old woods of Brittany, filled with priceless paintings, and inhabited not only by the great painter but also by two young art students, Diana and Anne.The girls befriend David, and warn him that he can expect to be baited by their host. At dinner, as Breasley becomes increasingly drunk, he attacks the art establishment and, sometimes, Williams himself. Finally, the girls put Breasley to bed, and Diana explains that Breasley's reference to an "ebony tower" was his attempt to denigrate contemporary artists who work with abstraction because they are afraid to be clear; then she encourages David to dismiss what Breasley has said by telling David that an ebony tower is where you dump things you are too old to appreciate.The next day Breasley is back to his usual cantankerous self. They all go on a picnic in the woods, where Diana and Anne go swimming in the nude as Breasley explains to David that he passed a kind of test the night before. After lunch--an enactment of Manet's Le Dejeuner s ur I'herbe --Breasley goes to sleep and the women tell David about their lives. The three of them go swimming, and then the four of them return to the house, where David conducts one more interview, about Breasley's politics and his sources.That night's dinner is friendlier. Afterward, Diana puts Breasley to bed early, and Anne explains that Breasley wants Diana to marry him. The two women take David upstairs to look at Diana's artwork, which he is impressed by. After Anne leaves, Diana tells David more about herself. They then decide to take a walk in the garden, where David kisses Diana and she responds with passion. He hangs back, and she senses that sexual intercourse would be a mistake. "She had broken away; and he had let her, fatal indecision." He then tries to persuade her to come to bed with him, but she goes to her room and locks the door. He believes that he has both come alive and been prevented from living, that he has both lost his principles and feared to act against them.The next day Diana absents herself from the house until David has left. He spends the drive back to Paris thinking about her with regret, feeling that he has been in a dream. At the airport, he meets his wife, who is flying in from England for a holiday. When she asks him how things went, he answers, "I survived."

  • Олена Гриньків
    2018-10-22 06:16

    Ця книга – моє перше знайомство з Дж. Фаулзом. Тому я поки що не можу достатньо об'єктивно і цілісно оцінити його як письменника. У відгуках обізнаних і не дуже критиків, що зустрічаються в інтернет-мережі, зазвичай нарікається на складність викладу і заплутаність сюжету романів автора, а відтак – на їхню незрозумілість. Тому я уявляла його таким собі інтелектуалом, який багато знає, але дуже мало дбає про те, в якому вигляді ідеї його творів дійдуть до читачів. Виявилося, що Фаулз далеко не такий. Так, він інтелектуал, але це зовсім не означає, що в нього труднощі зі стилем викладу (стиль в нього, правду кажучи, довершений) чи побудовою сюжету (той, можливо, не є аж таким захоплюючим або близьким кожному, але сприймається дуже легко, не викликаючи в голові читача зайвої плутанини). Щодо незрозумілості – то це дійсно проблема для Фаулза, але тільки в тому сенсі, що він намагається її розв'язати. Взагалі прагнення письменника чи митця бути зрозумілим є ключовою ідеєю Фаулзової «Вежі».«Вежа з чорного дерева» (1974) – свого роду підсумовуючий твір. В ньому письменник відправляє читача до своїх давніших романів автора «Мага» (1965), «Колекціонера» (1963), «Жінки французького лейтенанта» (1969). Людині, яка необізнана з ними, дуже складно відчитати весь символізм книги. Проте Фаулз не залишає читача напризволяще: подекуди він дуже люб'язно в процесі розповіді сам пояснює, до якого з його творів той чи інший момент має відношення. Решту можна з'ясувати для себе із заключної критичної статті. Цікаво, що письменник через пов'язаність «Вежі» з іншими романами планував назвати свою збірку «Варіаціями», але редактор видав її під назвою першої повісті (взагалі книга включає в себе п'ять творів: власне «Вежу з чорного дерева» та новели «Елідюк», «Бідолашний Коко», «Загадка» і «Хмара»; остання, на жаль, не увійшла до цього видання). І, мабуть, редактор таки був правий, бо «вежа з чорного дерева» є центральною ідеєю кожного оповідання з книги.Цей термін є своєрідною алюзією на вже існуючий – «вежу зі слонової кістки», що означає самоізоляцію митця чи науковця від зовнішнього світу і його проблем. Не можна сказати, що межа, яку проводить Фаулз між цими образами дуже чітка, але сам він сказав про неї так: «Вежа з чорного дерева – це те, що прийшло на зміну вежі з слонової кості […]; те, що невиразне, бо художник [і митець загалом] боїться бути зрозумілим». Окрім самої лише незрозумілості, автор натякає на позірну інтелектуальність митців і постійний страх виявитися або бути викритим як посередність. Це породжує ще одну проблему – нещирість і перед собою, і перед іншими.Більшість творів, включених до збірки, так чи інакше показують це зіткнення «вежі зі слонової кістки» та «вежі з чорного дерева». Подекуди воно виглядає як протистояння батьків і дітей, але це, мабуть, навмисне спрощення, на яке пішов Фаулз, щоб «бути зрозумілим». Більше того, часто вустами своїх героїв він сам здійснює детальний психологічний аналіз їхніх вчинків. Завдяки цьому поділ на «вежу зі слонової кістки» та «вежу з чорного дерева» виглядає чіткіше і його легше інтерпретувати.У повісті «Вежа з чорного дерева» обидва образи присутні в чистому вигляді. Художник Бреслі уособлює «вежу зі слонової кістки». Він вже у віці, самоізолювався від світу (в котрому був визнаний, але не знайшов опори) в готичному замку Котміне посеред лісу. Абстракціоніст і мистецтвознавець Девід Вільямс (вежа з чорного дерева) відвідує Котміне, бо готує передмову до книги про Бреслі. Отут і відбувається найголовніший конфлікт твору, що внутрішньо спустошує «вежу з чорного дерева», а «вежу зі слонової кістки» робить ще міцнішою.Новела «Елідюк» - єдиний твір, який не вписується в модель «слонова кістка – чорне дерево», бо не є власне твором Фаулза. Це лише авторський переказ середньовічної бретонської епічної поеми («ле») Марії Французької. Вона є ключем до розуміння «Вежі» і збагачує її символічним матеріалом. До того ж це своєрідна іронія над головним персонажем повісті і його дилемою, під час пошуку розв'язання якої і виявляється уся його посередність.У «Бідолашному Коко» зіткнення між «вежею зі слонової кістки» і «вежею з чорного дерева» постає у новій інтерпретації: руйнування зазнає перша, а не остання. Родзинкою твору є й те, що Фаулз чіткіше змальовує риси, притаманні «мешканцям» обох веж. Один з двох головних персонажів, підстаркуватий письменник (тип «митець у літах») готує літературознавчу працю про Томаса Пікока і для того усамітнюється в заміському котеджі («вежа зі слонової кістки»). На запитання «Бідолашного Коко» «Навіщо ти про нього пишеш?» він відповідає примхливим «Бо я захоплююсь його творчістю». Відразу впадає в очі деякий дисбаланс між прагненням своєю працею принести користь іншим і отримати від її написання задоволення самому. «Бідолашний Коко» (у новелі він безіменний) теж якнайкраще вписується в тип «вежі з чорного дерева». Не вважаючи себе посередністю, він прагне, щоб й інші вважали його не простим злодюжкою, а злодюжкою-інтелектуалом.Наступна новела - «Загадка», вже не ілюструє протистояння «слонова кістка – чорне дерево», мабуть, тому що площина, у якій розгортається сюжет не мистецька, а політична. Критерій незрозумілості, який у попередніх творах був ключовим ніби випадає. Парламентар Джон Філдінг і його оточення навпаки є зрозумілим для усіх, але його переслідує страх виглядати посередністю в очах інших. Переломний момент настає тоді, коли головний герой здійснює спробу вийти з «вежі». Лише після цього він стає незрозумілим. Хтозна, чи саме це мав на увазі письменник, але, здається, він натякає, що вихід з «чорної вежі» може коштувати життя.Остання новела зі збірки – «Хмара», яку видавництво «Дніпро» не видало, - написана ніби іншим Фаулзом. Протистояння між «вежею зі слонової кістки» та «вежею з чорного дерева» стає в чомусь другорядною сюжетною лінією і фоном для усієї розповіді. Двоє друзів, які проте не є центральними персонажами, - науковець Пол і продюсер науково-популярних телевізійних передач Пітер проводять разом вихідні на сімейному пікніку, щоб обговорити майбутню передачу Пітера, для підготовки якої потрібна допомога Пола як експерта. На те, що саме ці персонажі є важливими для Фаулзової дихотомії, натякає його порівняння їх з апостолами Павлом і Петром. Освіченість, знання і досвід таким чином протиставляються деякій спрощеності і неотесаності, «вежа зі слонової кістки» - «вежі з чорного дерева». В «Хмарі» немає вже тієї типової вікової різниці між персонажами, які протиставляються, проте (і тут, можливо, присутня певна насмішка Фаулза) Пол змальований з бородою, яка символізуючи вік, має підкреслити ту мудрість, моральний авторитет і багаж знань, яких у Пітера немає. Деякий дисонанс у твір вносять жіночі персонажі, навколо яких обертається сюжет. Якщо в попередніх новелах вони увиразнювали ідеї автора, то тут вони затьмарюють їх. Також у «Хмарі» відсутній вже звичний авторський аналіз поведінки героїв. Тому новела виглядає незавершеною. Принаймні в ідейному сенсі їй начебто чогось бракує і, в порівнянні з іншими творами збірки, вона виглядає слабшою.Як би там не було, а «Вежа» поки що залишається для мене відкриттям цього року. Це якраз та книга, яку вартує не лише читати, а й перечитувати.

  • Eugenia Podkuyko
    2018-11-03 05:23

    Мені здається, я вже пройшла найбільш психоделічні твори Фаулза (я дивлюся на вас, «Мантісса» і «Личинка»), тому до подібних сюжетів я була готова. Втім «Вежа» здивувала, причому не в найприємнішому плані.Як читач я люблю доходити висновків сама, люблю вбачати приховані ідеї або посили. У повісті, на моє велике розчарування, всі наміри автора було ретельно розжовано та покладено читачеві до рота. Іноді здавалося, ніби я читаю не оригінальний текст, а аналітичний розбір повісті.Міранда Ґрей з «Колекціонера» є однією з моїх улюблених героїнь уже більше десяти років, і тому я одразу відчула схожість між нею та Мишею з «Вежі з чорного дерева». Подібність їх поглядів безпомилкова, а стосунки Миші та Генрі Бреслі за характером чимось нагадують стосунки між Мірандою та Дж. П. (або хоча б фантазію на цю тему). Миша, як на мене, виявилася найцікавішим персонажем твору, і я хотіла дізнатися про неї більше. Мабуть, уся суть повісті полягала в тому, що ми могли б познайомитися з нею ближче, якби події не завершилися так, як завершилися.Про головного героя мені немає чого сказати. У нього був слабкий характер, він був скутий обмеженнями, які сам собі вигадав, а його поведінка в останні години в Котміне остаточно відвернула мене від нього.Поки це найслабший твір Фаулза, що я читала. Це більше схоже на замальовки до повісті, ніж на саму повість. Міркування Фаулза щодо творчості багато в чому перегукуються з «Колекціонером», от лише в «Вежі з чорного дерева» їх було подано в лоб, що позбавило мене задоволення віднайти їх самостійно.

  • A.M.
    2018-11-14 03:25

    The ebony tower by John FowlesEbony towerThe first story is that of a young married man who used to be an artist and is now more into journalism, going to interview an old artist, Henry Breasley. The old man lives with two very young women on a farm in the French countryside; Mouse and Freak. They do a lot for the old man including cook, keep house, keep him painting and provide him with company and sex. They are all artists although the women are so busy looking after Henry that they neglect their own careers.Henry likes nothing more than to watch them at the dinner table as they discuss esoteric ideas about art and philosophy because it becomes obvious that his ability is reduced to gestures and short movements rather than epic brushstrokes.The story has an odd creeping dread with it. You expect something to happen, when it kind of doesn’t. They go for a picnic and a skinny dip and David is tempted; so very tempted that he almost cheats on his wife. It is the girl who puts the brakes on and says no.It does remind me of the Magus; the same themes - countryside or pastoral environment or at least some isolated idyll, older men and younger women, the spectre of temptation and of course, sex. The women, regardless of their nicknames, have the control.At the end when he meets his wife, he shrugs and says ‘he survived’ when she asks him about the weekend. He did? Or his marriage did?EliducA retelling of a medieval poem written in the late 12th century by a woman, Marie de France. It is the tale of a brave and successful knight who leaves his wife to fight in other lands and falls in love with a princess.Again, the women have the power at least on the one hand to forgive the knight and to grant him the right to live with his lover and on the other side, to beg his wife’s pardon. The princess did not know he was married until they were on the boat to Breton. The wife even resurrects the lover with the bite of a weasel and a special flower.I can see parallels with the first story; is this the ending David hoped for? That his wife would forgive him and let him go? That he gets to choose (or have) desire over loyalty and fidelity?Poor KokoA writer stays at the weekend home of his friends to work on his Thomas Love Peacock manuscript, when a burglar breaks in. They chat in a quite friendly manner, and then something changes, and the burglar burns his manuscript and all his editions and annotated notes.As a writer, this is a HORROR story!!! As a reader, burning books is still shocking.To write is to listen to your inner critic; ‘this is rubbish’… ‘do that again’… ‘oh, my god, that scene is awful’. But here, Fowles has made his inner critic manifest. And the reader knows this because he refers to the burglar with a possessive ‘my thief’, ‘my specimen of youth in revolt’. Does he believe he has brought this on himself?Or, is this all critics? From the one star reviewers to the journalists? Burning his book in front of him?I am at a loss as to where the title comes from; it isn’t a Peacock reference.The enigma A man disappears; but he is a member of parliament so a hushed search begins. Once lovers, defections, suicide and the usual things are ruled out… there is no clue as to his disappearance. At least until an intelligent police officer chases down his son’s girlfriend. She says he ‘might’ have had an epiphany. She has a very specific story; based on her ideas, not that there is any evidence to validate it. She lets slip that she had told him she would be at the museum; he went there in a taxi but disappeared after that. Did he go to meet her? It seems out of character according to everyone else he interviews.I don’t know why but her name Dodgson makes me think of Alice in Wonderland. Plus, she wears a blue and white dress. Has the man gone down the rabbit hole? Oh… got it… Dodgson was Lewis Carroll’s real name.The cloudA holiday in France. Catherine is grief stricken by the loss her poet husband who committed suicide. At least I think he was a poet. The others are sympathetic but lost as to what to do with her. They go for a walk; a swim (evoking the first story, as does the French countryside, artists and writers and so on) and they have a picnic. Her sister, Bel wears a hat with ‘fenestrations’; an odd thing to call it as they are the regular indented tops of castle walls - medieval ones. That makes me think of Eliduc. There are also snakes in the grass.The children fight, swim, shout and behave like children although not very nice ones. The adults lie around, smoking and drinking. Catherine tells her niece a story about a princess who had forgotten what she was and is granted magic to have clothes or a castle but not both; torn between choosing, she ends up with neither and shocks the king and queen by appearing naked standing in a bare field. Magic allows her and the prince to stay seventeen forever until they meet again, which they have not done. The princess has gone back to the forest to wait for him to come and get her. Well… that went well. (not)The men are described with words such as apostle, vulgar, ox-like or pretentious. Peter and Paul won’t fly away - evoking the nursery rhyme and making them seem even less impressive. Annoying bird-brains?The story feels … I can’t think of the word … negative? It’s hard to read, even compared to the others. Everyone is awful. That sense of creeping gloom invades again. Given that in The Enigma, the missing man is presumed to have drowned himself in a lake, I get the feeling that is what happens to Catherine, too. Plus she mentions Ophelia from Hamlet, who committed suicide by drowning.The others, including her sister, wander off and leave her when the cloud with storm approaches, after Peter tries to have sex with her and is initially allowed then rebuffed. She is accepting but he wants sex in another way, he demands that she face him, and in manhandling her, the moment is gone and consent withdrawn.I don’t know that the stories are supposed to be linked together but there are common themes between them. And they certainly do make you think, but I find it interesting that in a way, nothing really happens, or if it does, it happens off screen as it were. People just disappear from their own stories.

  • ger
    2018-11-07 08:37

    Fowler can certainly write and I think he can create a sense of place and character better than most. The stories in the book are all unusual and 'The Ebony Tower' itself stayed with me long after I read it. I think he is concerned with the idea of living vs thinking, of people who live with ideas and those who live with facts. Living lives which are created for us rather than creating our own and the losses associated with failing to live for ourselves.The problem is he always fails to give any answer and let's his characters remain cowardly or compromised or unknowing. Written in 1975 it's also dated in a 70's obsessed way about sex. I never mind people writing what most of us think but might not say but it just wasn't congruent in places. A bit too much 70's 'Bird' and 'Young Girls' and noticing nipples under long white dresses.I don't believe it's sexist and some comments seem to just be hung up on the actual use of specific words rather than context. Fuck them though. Enjoyable and strangely curative.

  • Svetlana
    2018-11-11 05:14

    Я согласна, может быть этот рассказ и не про супружескую верность и измену, а про что-то более высокое. Возможно, я не настолько возвышенна и вижу то, что меня больше волнует. И все же, про мужика, который приехал писать введение к книжке об известном художнике, и нашел у того дома две молодых леди (Мышь и уродка), в одну из которых – в Мышь, он практически влюбился. Ну так вот, мог бы изменить жене, но сначала не захотел, а когда захотел – девушка его отвергла. И он уехал восвояси. Жена, с беспощадностью настоящего, спросила у него, «Ну а ты, милый, как?» - «Уцелел», отвечает он. Но понятно, что ему хотелось совсем не этого… Жаль…. Знаешь, Света, видимо наступает момент, когда я думаю, что не так уж важно сохранять верность, а важно жить для себя и в то же время ценить другого, радоваться ему и каждой минуте с ним. Но не требовать и не обещать верности. Просто быть сама собой. Ведь и тебе нравятся другие мужчины? … Может, это шаг к чему-то большему?

  • Șerban
    2018-10-24 02:41

    O colecție interesantă de observații atente despre universul artei, toate rezultate secundare ale formării portretului unui pictor. Poziția foarte convenabilă a protagonistului( critic și artist) face ca experiența sa de oaspete să nu fie lipsită de prezența de spirit. Contrele dintre cei doi indivizi le reflectă cu ușurința limitele și nevoile cele mai mari; bătrânul de susținere și relegitimare( teama pierderii forței anterioare venind cu pierderea tinereții), iar tânărul critic luptă cu propria nevoie de tabu, chemarea interzisului pentru un om care s-a dezvoltat disciplinat. Nuvela are prezențele feminine pe care le mai găsești în proza lui J. Fowles, liniare; pun în scenă un mic joc al seducției în care se cer dominate și nu rezistă mult convențiilor impuse de ele. Cu toate astea, uneori tensiunea dramatică are cantitățile perfecte din Magicianul, așa ajunge narațiunea să curgă bine bine.