Le Grand Meaulnes by Alain-Fournier, it tells the story of Nicholas Urfe, a young and dourly unpleasant Oxford graduate student, who finds himself washed up with a teaching assignment on an isolated Mediterranean island. There he meets a mysterious wealthy recluse, Maurice Conchis, an older Greek man with a shrouded past, an intellectual bent, and sadistic tendencies, who has a predilection for staging scenes from something he calls "The Godgame," elaborate and often cruel set pieces designed to teach its target, usually Nicholas, some kind of lesson. As the games become more and more oppressive for Nicholas, they grow from a strange diversion that preoccupies him while he is on the island to a consuming, potentially traumatizing obsession that even begins to have dire effects on his life back in England. For the most part Fowles plays fair here. Even as the action remains as straightforward as it is weird, the real motivations behind it—who is who, who knows what, and why these things are even happening at all—remain an enthralling mystery that carries all its own momentum. The first time I read it, in my early 20s, I had a copy that was missing the last 120 pages, which about drove me batty and which I wasn't sure for some time wasn't just another trick engineered by Fowles. The second time through, more recently, I made sure ahead of time that I had a complete copy (recommend that you do too), and while it remained as diverting as ever I found it more difficult to enter into the fantasies whole. The resolution is not entirely free of disappointing cheats—mostly the kind of "you decide" ambiguities that more typically indicate an author who couldn't. Still, if the payoff is a bit of a letdown, the trip there tends to be anything but.
In case it's not at the library.