every great novelist, one might say, earns the right to do a memoirish/personal philosophy non-fiction piece, and if that worked spectacularly for J.G. Ballard, a b-list scribbler of apocalyptic sci-fi pieces until his thinly-disguised autobiographical [b:Empire of the Sun|56674|Empire of the Sun|J.G. Ballard|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1338519188s/56674.jpg|55232], then of course for John Fowles, who had already had three blockbuster literary fiction works under his belt by 1969, naturally the 'cry of the heart' philosophy piece will naturally elicit a more divisive reception. One might say that the 1963 Collector or 1965 Magus already contained Fowles's philosophy, so by the '79 quick dash-out "I explain the novel and novels impact on me" The Tree, only perhaps a true Fowles devotee will search out the work or accord it a status near-equivalent to the aesthetics and criticism pieces Tolstoy put out--and that are held in higher estimation in some fields than his world famous novels.
The Tree is about Fowles' literary career, the past that led up to it, the criticism and family background and impact of all aforementioned on his works and days. a short 122 pages, 'The Tree' would possibly be a serial in a major magazine if written today, but what it lacks in length is made up for in quality.
solid 4/5 non-fiction work and well worth a peek to those interested in the person behind the craftsman.