John Fowles, with the success of his first three major novels, took a seat among the representative postmodern metafiction novelists. His novels thoroughly manifest many features of postmodern metafiction, including ideas such as “the death of the author,” “the end of the novel,” “the self-conscious novelist,” and the conflict between fiction and reality.
However, Fowles often revealed his belief in the usefulness of realistic novel traditions and moralistic didacticism in literature. His literary world depicts the chaos of the world, confusion of existence, and meaninglessness of experience. But these deconstructions are soon reorganized, recontextualized and naturalized to produce a commentary on the total significance of human existence. For Fowles, life, not art, always comes first. In David Lodge’s metaphor, Fowles stands at the crossroads, considering the alternative routes toward the ‘nonfiction novel’ and ‘fabulation,’ but never committing to one path, instead, trying to reconcile the traditions of realism and antirealism.