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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spooky and thrilling
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...
Published on 7 Mar 2006 by barenakedlady

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The collector
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...
Published on 7 Oct 2012 by hazanne


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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spooky and thrilling, 7 Mar 2006
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
5.0 out of 5 stars John Fowles - The Collector, 4 Feb 2006
By 
RachelWalker "RachelW" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A Chilling and Disturbing Psychological Thriller, 4 April 2011
By 
Dr. Bojan Tunguz (Indiana, USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
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
3.0 out of 5 stars The collector, 7 Oct 2012
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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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In my all time top ten, 7 Mar 2010
I am amazed there are not more reviews on this. I first read this almost 20 years ago (god that makes me feel ancient!)and have read it at leat five times since. Even though I know what is going to happen it still sucks me in and the eeriness of the main character Fredrick is truly spine tingling.

This is a twisted psychological tale. It manages to grip and scare you without resorting to shock tactics. Forget novels who rely on gruesome (and ridiculous) murders and unbelievable plots. This is a masterpiece in suspense writing.

Fredrick Clegg is the most chilling character yet so real. Another beauty of John Fowles writing is the confusion you feel towards the victim Miranda. Despite her desperate situation you at times feel more sympathy for her abductor until the it flips back the other way leaving you exhausted!

The last pages are truly shocking and this book stays with you long after you have finished. I hope I haven't been to vague - I try not to give to much away but at the same time I desperatley want to say enough to make you read this book! Only reason why I have not reviewd before is that I assumed it would have been reviewd within an inch of it's life!
PS Don't let John Fowles other novels put you off - I didn't get on with any of them - The Collector is truly unique.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Butterfly on a wheel, 6 May 2009
Relentlessly disturbing tale of a disturbed loner who captures the woman he has been idolising from afar in the vain hope that she will eventually fall in love with him. Creepy, atmospheric and utterly absorbing; I highly recommend this.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic portrayal of a young woman's emotional awakening, 28 Jan 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Collector (Contemporary Classics) (Paperback)
Having been utterly captivated by The Magus, I had to read some more of Fowles' work. He vivdly captures the feelings of an individual and transports you into their world and mind. The book is a haunting account of a woman imprisoned and leaves you questioning your innate feeling of trust in mankind. The story is gripping, yet simple. Fowles' writing is fluent, persuasive, absorbing and perceptive. He writes from a woman's perspective in a remarkable way - it becomes a fantastic account of a young woman's emotional awakening and of her growing feelings of the importance of life, experience, art, literature, music, and love, and of her frustration at being "collected". This is just a superb book for anyone who appreciates and values these things.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully melancholic, 5 July 2006
I read this book in two days, which is pretty impressive for an idle student such as myself. Whilst reading 'The Collector' I realised I had to be on my own, I was that overwhelmed by its beauty and sadness that I often cried. When I wasn't reading I was thinking about it constantly, and now I've finished I want to start reading all over again. This is the power of this stimulating, disturbing and very haunting tale of sexual obsession. There are various themes that Fowles weaves throughout the story with incredible skill, such as the boundaries of both class and gender between the main characters.

This novel is so beautifully written, I cannot imagine anyone not enjoying it. It is darkly melancholic, and although you probably won't really *like* either of the main characters, you will never forget them. It is quite similar to Nabokov's novel 'Lolita'. Just as sad. Just as beautiful.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the book by which all others are judged!, 23 Dec 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Collector (Contemporary Classics) (Paperback)
"The Collector" and I crossed paths by accident but isn't that the best way to discover new books!?
John Fowles' classic remains, 8 years after my first reading of it, my favourite book. I hadn't heard any of the hype or reviews before reading it so had no idea of what I was letting myself in for...and came away from it stunned. The book is broken up, not into conventional chapters, but sections which alternate between the voices of anti-hero Frederick, and his "love" - Miranda. This was a simple but incredibly effective twist in the narrative as you find yourself torn with sympathy or at the very least understanding, for both characters.
I came away from this book with tears in my eyes and wandered around for some time afterwards in a complete daze. This is the book by which all others are judged...if a book moves me anywhere near as much as "The Collector", it gets my vote.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will keep you awake at night and give you very bad dreams, 17 Mar 2004
Few first novels can boast an opening paragraph as captivating as the opening paragraph of 'The Collector'. And few debut novels are as perfectly constructed throughout. Emotionally intense and acutely observed, Fowles' novel is a satisfying blend of page-turning thriller and intelligent psychological study. A distinct and believable narrative voice is created in precise, beautiful writing, with not a word or phrase seemingly out of place. And the literary subterfuge is such that too frequently you forget about Fowles behind the curtain, controlling things. 'The Collector' is a chilling and refreshingly complex masterpiece - a novel you absolutely have to read.
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The Collector (Contemporary Classics)
The Collector (Contemporary Classics) by John Fowles (Paperback - 1 Jan 1998)
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