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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
14
4.2 out of 5 stars
The Collector Collector
Format: Paperback|Change
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on 20 November 2017
Oh dear! This was really awful! I thought at first it was just the style of writing but no, the actual content was rubbish too! What a missed opportunity! This could have been such a good book. Instead, it was just a weird dialogue of odd sexual encounters. I did persevere until the end (it's very rare I give up on a book). I have given it one star for the idea (it would have been half a star if I could have given a score that low). I'm afraid I won't be reading more from this author.
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on 18 February 1999
This is a novel written from the point of view of an antique bowl that "collects" (or, more accurately, catalogues) the people that collect it - hence the title. From this fanciful "fly on the wall" perspective, Tibor Fischer constructs an endlessly inventive and entertaining tale. In the main narrative people that appear normal later turn out to be deranged in a variety of interesting ways, and those that initially appear to be bizarre turn out to be behaving quite rationally. As if the interplay of characters in the present day were not enough stimulation, the book is liberally spiced with flashbacks into fantastical highlights from the bowl's observations over the previous 4000 years. The only flaw (if it is one) is the bowl's tendency to assign everything to ranked lists (e.g. "I equivocated about whether to place her at 133 or 132 on my list of people-readers"). This is initially amusing, then irritating, and finally ignorable. Overall, highly recommended.
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on 6 May 1999
This book looks pretty uninteresting, and the synopsis reads very strangely indeed. A book narrated by an antique bowl is not one I would normally think of reading. Suspending my disbelief however was very rewarding.
An inanimate object makes an excellent narrator because, as the bowl itself observes, people don't notice it and act in ways in which they wouldn't in company. Also, the bowl is full of interesting and amusing anecdotes about the things it has seen in its long and varied 'life' which take over the narrative at times and stop monotony setting in.
The bowl, besides being a raconteur, is a philosopher and something of a magician. There are plenty of ceramic observations on the human condition here!
I'm sure this still sounds far too strange a book to consider reading, but it's definitely worth a go. The plot which revolves around the bowl's latest owner, her 'flatmate', a butch guardian angel and an obese tycoon is entertaining in itself.
A must for antique dealers and anyone from Market Harborough.
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on 19 January 2016
Did I mention rebarbative style? (See my previous review.) This takes the biscuit and runs with it. It doesn't help that it's related by a bowl. A tiresome bowl. An affected bowl. A lecherous bowl. A bowl with no mates. A bowl one yearns to smash. I got as far as page 22; boy, was it hard. The Angolan Agualusa did something similar - but he can write
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on 27 March 2008
As people tend not to suspect that their ornaments might be watching, they will do all sorts of things right in front of them... this is the extraordinary premise on which this story begins. This ancient Sumerian bowl is an observant narrator with metamorphic powers and an irrepressible ability to catalogue absolutely everything about everyone he (is the bowl a he?) has ever met or been owned by over many, many years.

The bowl's present owner is the lonely Rosa who allows her friend, the calculating Nikki, to stay at hers for a while. The ensuing story of theft, prostitution, an obese angel, a kidnapped agony-aunt, more theft and several assassins is intertwined with historical tales from the bowl's vast back-catalogue, as well as a bit of mischievous shape-shifting.

Although a couple of readers felt that Fischer simply invented words to suit his purpose (you might need a dictionary at hand!), different types of effective word-play reoccur throughout the book. Despite this title not officially having an LGBT theme, there are a couple of unanticipated moments that can be counted! This was a very unusual book and, although it might take a few chapters to get into, is well worth a go.
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on 28 November 2010
I bought this book because I was researching the literary device of employing non-human narration, for my PhD. I loved it. Quirky, funny, and ultimately engaging, which I didn't think anything narrated from the view point of a bowl could be! The characters were all great - weird and memorable, and the writing was wonderful. I'll definitely be buying more of Tibor Fischer's books.
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on 25 September 2013
This is very unique - there aren't many books written from the perspective of a piece of ancient ceramic
The style is at first funny, intriguing, passes through irritating and back to intriguing again
If you want to read something unusual, that you will remember for some time - definitely worth a try
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on 25 January 2000
Authors often struggle to write from anything other than their own viewpoint - men rarely write well about female characters, Europeans struggle with African ideas and so on. To write in the character of another species is heroic (any offers?) but to become inanimate yet sentient is the sign of a certifiable loon. But what a loon! At least the pseuds can't accuse you of being "inauthentic". Free from the strictures of existing, the bowl treats us to a feast of sublime observations. You will be left in no doubt of man's peripheral place in the world after this. A winner for the existentialists and misanthropists alike.
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on 20 November 2014
outstanding idea and execution, fine writing style
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on 12 March 2008
Tibor Fischer's "Under the Frog" is my favourite book of all time...so when I picked this up and read the blurb, I though "He is *never*, in a million years, going to be able to pull this one off." But he does. Brilliant, witty and laugh-til-you-cry funny.
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