Mantissa - John Fowles [This note was made in 1983:]. John Fowles' Mantissa left me perplexed - not because I couldn't figure out that it's a novel about the creative process; that much stares you in the face - but because I can't quite put my finger on why it leaves a bad taste in my mouth (said she, madly mixing metaphors). Perhaps the book's streak of narcissism was just too broad for my priggish tastes?