A maggot

I read the novel A maggot, by John Fowles.

Even if it starts like an old 18th century novel, A maggot slowly slides towards a very risky and keen type of writing, presenting facts from either an agnostic observer, or from newspaper slips, or from judge – trial interview with key witness, people, from the presented events.

As usual , Fowles is very attracted to supernatural and unexplained events, by which he wants to transmit certain messages, and to leave the reader thinking about the meaning and the symbolism behind it.

We have a certain event in time, the strange travels of a group of people, who spend a few days crossing through the western England, with one apparent purpose, but with many hidden ones. We can also see the result, one dead man and many missing.

From a third person perspective we can only see one day and one evening, and we learn from the rest of the trip from testimonies by the involved people, starting from the most insignificant people, up to the final testimony of Rebecca Hockner, the main character, a woman who worked in a brothel, was hired for some unknown purposes , and ends up in ‘enlightenment’, being recruited by a Christian protestant sect, and being impregnated in the whole process. Rebecca is due to give birth to Ann Lee, the founder of the Shakers religious sect.

Fowles imagines with such high abundance of details, a kind of supernatural experience that happens to Rebecca during her travel, in which she claims to experience future, past, and heaven in the same time, to meet her God and the image of the God Mother, which completely changes her. Initially being a brothel worker, full of sins, unable to conceive, she believes she was absoluted, turned into a saint, a kind of Virgin Mary, being impregnated by a handicapped servant who performed suicide. She finds every reason to live in poverty and turn to the bible and wait for the second coming of Christ, which is the main reason of belief for her religious sect.

She finds a bunch of nice people, even her equivalent of Joseph, who accepts her as a saint she claims to be, and her unborn bastard child, to take them into his family.

Fowles imagines a modern 18th century conception of Jesus, in a fantasy way, full of details, with plenty of in depth century depictions, in a very interesting novel. He also manages to be very neutral in this book, and does not raise fingers, nor accuse the way of life of religious sects, leaving the author to draw the conclusions related to the fantasy in the mind of the believers.