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The Collector Hardcover – Jun 1963

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Little Brown & Co (T) (Jun 1963)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316290963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316290968
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.5 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 799,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"... fine psychological thriller... enthralling... an evening of compelling nastiness." Daily Telegraph" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

'Brilliant - an artist of great imaginative power' Sunday Times --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By barenakedlady on 7 Mar 2006
Format: Paperback
In 'The Collector', John Fowles explores the mind of a stalker who has the chance to make his fantasies come true. Throughout the novel, Frederick Clegg is likened to Caliban, from Shakespeare's 'The Tempest': stumbling ineptly after the object of his affections, and never managing to attract her or interest her. Winning some money gives Frederick the chance to kidnap and imprison Miranda, and we then see him attempt to fulfil his desires.
Frederick's character is both eerie and fascinating. There is a constant power struggle going on between him and Miranda. She is beautiful, well educated, confident, inspired, artistic - everything he is not, and although he is physically imprisoning her, he can't understand her. This frustrated desire to get inside her head undermines his capture of her, and at the same time, she is attempting to understand him, in order to be free. The relationship between the two characters is very well written, constantly changing and unpredictable.
Miranda, as the saner of the two, is easy to identify with, and yet the reader is also taken deeply inside Frederick's head as well. Again, it's an uneasy relationship between the reader and Frederick, as one hopefully doesn't support his actions(!), and yet the tone of his narration implies that the reader does. A very unsettling effect.
All in all, an excellent read, with an ending that will send shivers down your spine!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 Feb 2006
Format: Paperback
My first Fowles. Not my last. A remarkable book, unusual book. It has a strange combination of themes and plot, and Fowles works them together superbly. It's not always an easy book to read - at times, yes, I felt a degree of sympathy for lonely, inhibited, crushingly socially inept Frederick, but as the novel progresses, and we get the second strand from captured Miranda's point of view, that he is completely monstrous becomes abundantly clear. It is possible to understand him, but that makes the final sections of the novel no less horrifying and affecting. Inevitable, too. The reader probably has as much desperate hope as Miranda.
As a psychological study of two people, with all their various roles in life and in the context of one another, it is supremely good. The two differing styles are brilliantly conceived, and power the novel along nicely. It's clever, very affecting, and the ending is moving and vaguely horrifying. It's rather like some of Ruth Rendell's similar psychological thrillers. I reccomend it very highly.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Bojan Tunguz TOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 April 2011
Format: Paperback
Fred is a young man who was orphaned at an early age. Raised by aunts, he comes in possession of some money and seems to be financially secure. However, his own personal hang ups and social awkwardness prevent him from forming normal social relations. This is particularly problematic when it comes to his relations with women. He becomes fascinated with Miranda, a beautiful young art student. Although keenly aware that she is beyond his reach, he attributes this primarily to their class difference. This being England, everyone is highly conscious of the class structure, and this theme plays itself out throughout the novel. In a drastic measure to secure Miranda, he buys a secluded country house where he imprisons her after capturing her. Most of the book is devoted to their interactions while she is his prisoner.

There have been many highly publicized cases of men holding women hostage in recent years, and this particular scenario has been covered in literature and film quite a bit. However, what distinguishes this particular novel from the rest is the fact that a great deal of attention was paid to the nuances of interpersonal reactions and the psychological states of mind of the two protagonists. This uncanny ability to get deep within the minds of the main characters makes this a very unsettling and chilling book to read. We feel much closer to the psychologically disturbed Fred than we would have liked to and his skewed reasoning, though troubling, is in some ways relatable. Miranda's anguish and fear are all too palpable. Fowles is an absolute master of this kind of literary psychological thriller, and his considerable talent shines conspicuously throughout this book. Whether you are familiar with his other works or this is your first exposure to this great writer, you will find a lot to appreciate in this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By hazanne on 7 Oct 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I did enjoy The Collector, but mostly for the first half of the book, so from me it only gets 3 stars.

Frederick or Ferdinand as he calls himself originally collected butterflies, drawn to their beauty. But moving on he discovers Miranda and enraptured by her beauty he captures her hoping to draw her to him. He is a strange and lonely character and Miranda is way out of his league but he has a need to have her and keep her for himself which he does to some extent.

The storyline is engaging as we learn all about Fred, but the author instead of intermingling the two characters stories as he goes along, seperates them into two halves so that most of the second half of the book replays the previous events from Mirandas point of view which becomes a bore as we know what is going to happen and Fred seems to get lost somewhere along the line.

There is a lot of content about art and social politics surrounding Miranda as well as her relationship with a much older man but nothing that warmed me to her personally which was a shame as I would have liked to empathise with a young girl in such a shocking situation.

Obviously as a classic it is a book of its time, reflecting social attitudes of those days. Still I feel that the early Ruth Rendell would have acheived a 5 star rating from me with this story.
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