- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Classics; New Ed edition (5 Feb. 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099470470
- ISBN-13: 978-0099470472
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 160 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Collector (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 5 Feb 2004
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"He has a magnificent narrative gift...brilliant" (Independent)
"A brilliant, unusual theme... Short and spare and direct, an intelligent thriller with psychological and social overtones" (Sunday Times)
Withdrawn, uneducated and unloved, Frederick collects butterflies and takes photographs. A chance pools win enables him to capture the art student, Miranda and keep her in the cellar of the Sussex house he has bought with the windfall. The situation is seen first from the collector's point of view: he thinks the chloroform pad no more vicious than his butterfly net, and patiently waits for the barriers of class and taste that inhibit their love to break down in the limbo of their isolation. She, the creator, desperate for her freedom, tries to be understanding but cannot banish her contempt for everything anti-life that the collector stands for.See all Product description
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However, I did enjoy the characterisation of Miranda. I could relate to her personality, her love of art. She is feisty, clever, cunning, and I think she is this book’s saving grace. Perhaps most intriguingly, she gives the reader an insight into the relationship between captor and captive when the book turns from the protagonist Frederick’s POV to Miranda’s diary. This aspect definitely helped to flesh the story out, but the ending of The Collector felt a bit flat for me. It was anti-climatic, Frederick was a dull character (just because you are ‘withdrawn, uneducated and unloved’, it doesn’t mean you can’t be interesting), and I was left wondering quite what the point of the story was – if there even was a point.
All in all, if you like psychological games of cat-and-mouse, you might enjoy this. But Frederick isn’t evil, and this book isn’t gripping. It’s a quiet, curious sort of a novel, but I don’t think I will pick this up again. I don’t regret reading it, but I got nothing out of it.
This book is excellent and superb like the
l965 film John Fowles vividly depicts the story of Freddy Clegg a shy working class clerk who on winning the pools buys a Sussex mansion and kidnaps the beautiful Miranda, the middle class girl of his dreams and holds her captive in his mansion.
This is a fascinating novel showing the conflict between kidnapper and captive, the battle between the working classes and the privileged classes and the relationship between men and women as a whole.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and I highly recommend it because it is a good interesting read.
The author also succeeds in showing us how victims of such crimes come to develop Stockholm Syndrome, whereby they sympathise so strongly with the perpetrators that they often defend their actions. Miranda didn't reach that point but she was obviously on the path to doing so. This started with her attempting to understand the man holding her so that she might manipulate him into setting her free. This is when sympathy would begin for such a victim - and so it does for the reader, so pointless and pitiful is Frederick's obsession. Not many authors are able to pull off this kind of thing yet Fowles does so subtly and with apparent ease.
I agree with others that the section narrated by Miranda was long winded but I believe this was intentional: how must Miranda have felt, alone for weeks and weeks, not knowing whether she'd see her friends and family again? I feel she, in fear of her life and/or long term freedom, would indeed spend time recording thoughts and feelings and generally reviewing her life. What other options did she have? how else could she hold onto her sense of self in order to survive psychologically?
I'm usually disappointed by thrillers but, happily, this one hit the mark. I imagine I'll read this book again and have already purchased The Magus by the same author.
Highly recommended to those who appreciate character studies and are disappointed by most thrillers. This is something special.
John Fowles is a great writer and all his books have that piece of wow to keep you engaged all the way through the end.
Yes: it's like collecting a butterfly; also there are references to Miranda and Caliban; and the given is very like the question put at the start of Plato's Republic: if you knew you could get away with it, what would you in fact do?
Part of the books is told from the point of view of the collector; part is the diary of the art student. There are two completely different, completely convincing voices. From a pscyhological standpoint, the man does not singlemindedly pursue his main objective, to become loved; and the woman does not singlemindedly pursue her main objective, to be released (not yet a singleminded objective to live according to her principles). But there are moments of pscyhological contact...We are of course not singleminded; and we're all not completely moral...
This is gripping, entirely persuasive, and deeply unsettling....but very strongly recommended.
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