This is a book I picked up in New Zealand at an airport (the copy I have is a UK-release-only version). I found it there listed among the 'best fiction of the 20th century', according to a source I can no longer recall.
This fantasy novel is about a boy who shows magical talent; a boy whose talents lie in a type of magic not known in his homeland. The book follows his adventures into the world as he grows into a powerful wizard.
I had difficulty wading through it, honestly. I think the author was aiming for something along the lines of The Lord of the Rings, but this story has neither the flat-out wonder of that work nor its tone. Magician takes itself seriously, and its pacing pays the price.