The movie was a HUGE let down! I can, ofcourse, understand the philosophy behind it... except that it wasn't the one Fowles was intending to get across.
Sorry to be so late to this comment but I've only just signed on to Shelfari. That said, you are exactly right in your comment here. What Pinter did was compress the lushness of a phenomenal novel into a 1 hour and fifty minute commercial film. I don't fault Meryl Streep for her performance, though she didn't look as I'd imagined Sarah Woodruff to look. But the film within a film construct turned out to be a shallow device...consistent only in intention with Fowles' efforts to interrupt his story and provide multiple endings.
I think the novel is a bit complicated in the end. I simphasized with Sarah Woodruff at the beginning of the novel, but at the later stage, she turns out to be vice. it was hard for me to understand the meaning behind. I'd love the novel to have one concret conclusion, however greatness of this novel propaly lies in its unusual and exotic ending.
Indeed the greatness does lie at least in part in its ending. What Fowles was doing was allowing Sarah Woodruff the freedom to have behaved out of any number of different motives and to remain "unfixed" from a determined ending. He supplies two possible endings here, but really there are many others that could have been written. His point in part was to point out to the reader the dynamic with which we invest in the novel. So what he wrote was one of the most romantic of stories and then confounded the readers wish to identify with a single satisfying (or unsatisfying) conclusion. I don't know that what I'm saying here will be altogether understood. My apologies if not for the haste in which I've written. Very simply, this is a phenomenal work of art, a deeply moving novel.
Probably one of my all-time favorite books,incredible!
The book is about a gentleman named Charles Smithson who is engaged to Ernestina Freeman. They were planning on getting married until Charles is introduced to Tragedy aka Sarah Woodruff who is left behind by a French Lieutenant who promised to come back for her and didn't. Charles becomes obsessed with Sarah soon learns that she never had anything with the French Lieutenant. He then breaks his engagement with Ernestina and tries to find Sarah who has disappeared.