In his fourth novel, Daniel Martin, Fowles writes his first happy ending. The protagonist, Daniel Martin, a writer and alter ego for Fowles, struggles throughout the novel with the concept of the happy ending and whether the late twentieth century world can accept it. He finally decides, as his own life reveals to him, that the happy ending is possible. The route to that decision forms the action of the novel. At the same time, Daniel’s story becomes Daniel Martin, the novel Daniel has wanted to write.
The quester has now come of age; in fact, he is middle-aged. His dilemma is like that of the questers of the earlier novels whose stories were of younger men confronting issues of choice and freedom. Once again, the protagonist is a man who seems to have everything. In this case, his “everything” is a successful life as a playwright and now screenwriter in Hollywood and a beautiful young actress for a lover. Yet the same longing and sense of incompleteness are within him, just as they are within Nicholas and Charles in Fowles’s previous novels. For Daniel, the call to the quest comes in the form of a phone call that returns him to the bedside of his former best friend, who is now dying. Returning to England, he is faced with the unfinished business of his life. With Anthony’s suicide, the way is cleared for him to become reunited with Jane, his true love and now Anthony’s widow. Daniel sees his opportunity to come alive again; Jane resists.
To know where they...
(The entire section is 617 words.)