Books: The Toughest Question

DANIEL MARTIN by John Fowles; Little, Brown; 629 pages; $12.95

Can an English playwright turned Hollywood scenarist find, in his late 40s, happiness and the right woman? By making this question the premise of his fourth novel, English Author John Fowles runs several risks, chief among them being another question: Should anybody care? And Fowles is far too thoughtful a writer not to have anticipated this reaction in advance. His novel raises and then rubs constantly against the doubt that any single life—particularly that of an overprivileged, overpaid clerk in the bureaucracy of mass...

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