The collector review book free download.Book Review: The Collector by John Fowles

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Hindsight tells me that I just wasn’t getting Fischer’s intent. I now see that he wrote a demented, perverted, and hyper-articulate version of “Bridget Jones’ Diary”, where the female protagonists are as likely to maim and murder their sexual conquests, as fall in love with them.

Also, there’s a professional matchmaker trapped down a well by a dissatisfied customer, and many frozen iguanas. This is all filtered through the magic-realist perspective of the main character, a 5,year-old bowl.

Who can read minds. And change shapes. If none of this makes sense to you, I take full blame, for Fischer manages to hold it all together perfectly. On the surface, there’s much here to giggle at, and think about. But underneath all that, there’s also a lot of loneliness in the book. People are constantly running from or pushing away romantic partners, for inexplicable reasons.

Rosa, in whose London flat much of the action takes place, is desperate for every man she meets to fall in love with her. And then we have our narrator, the bowl, who appears to have witnessed the entirety of human history, and has an endless catalogue of human characteristics stored away, but can’t speak with those around him her?

There’s really not much story here to hang your hat on. The book is a series of quick scenes, tableaus, culled from Rosa and Nikki’s everyday life interspersed with stories from the bowl’s memory.

I found that hard to handle at first, but got used to the style after a while. The Collector Collector is tols from the perspective of a year old bowl that has seen it all. After revealing a few examples, we are ready to forgive the cynicism. The title is a word play. The story opens with the bowl currently in the hands of Rosa, a romantically desperate young Londoner who works for an auction agency that has acquired the piece and is estimating and appraising it, a job that falls to Rose. Rosa is a perfect fit for the task as she possesses some latent extrasensory capabilities that allow her to sense the bowls stories and experiences, which both stimulate and distract her.

The primary distraction is from Nikki, her temporary roommate who is a psycho maniac slowly stealing Rosa blind behind her back. This book is not quite up to Fischer’s usual standards, and that is, I believe, a matter of a fault in construction. Fischer never seems to be sure if this is a novel or a book of short stories with a theme. As a result, the narrative exists somewhere in between and this leads to some awkwardness and disjointedness throughout the text.

That criticism notwithstanding, the book nevertheless provides considerable pleasure simple by allowing us to share once again in Fischer’s somewhat skewed and cosmically comic world view. The man may not always be polished but he is always funny.

On the whole, a pleasant diversion but not even close to Fischer at his best. See all reviews. Top reviews from other countries. 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. One person found this helpful. On a par or better than Thought Gang. Nice to have a hard copy. Seemingly a first edition. Report abuse. I bought this book because I was researching the literary device of employing non-human narration, for my PhD. I loved it. Jump to ratings and reviews. Want to read. Rate this book. The Collector 1 The Collector. Josie always liked visiting her grandmother in the countryside.

But when her mother loses her job in the city and they’re forced to relocate along with Josie’s sister, Annie, she realizes she doesn’t like the country that much. Especially because Grandma Jeannie has some strange rules: Don’t bring any dolls into the house. And never, ever go near the house in the woods behind their yard. Brooks, J. Black school, white school: Racism and educational mis leadership.

Log in with Facebook Log in with Google. Remember me on this computer. Enter the email address you signed up with and we’ll email you a reset link. Need an account? Click here to sign up. Download Free PDF. The Collector. Aline Theodoro. A book. Related Papers. In the evening I marked it in my observations diary, at first with X, and then when I knew her name with M. I saw her several times outside too. I stood right behind her once in a queue at the public library down Crossfield Street.

It was very pale, silky, like Burnet cocoons. All in one pigtail coming down almost to her waist, sometimes in front, sometimes at the back. Sometimes she wore it up. Only once, before she came to be my guest here, did I have the privilege to see her with it loose, and it took my breath away it was so beautiful, like a mermaid.

She sat three seats down and sideways to me, and read a book, so I could watch her for thirty-five minutes. Seeing her always made me feel like I was catching a rarity, going up to it very careful, heart-in-mouth as they say. A Pale Clouded Yellow, for instance. I always thought of her like that, I mean words like elusive and sporadic, and very refined—not like the other ones, even the pretty ones.

More for the real connoisseur. I heard her mother speak once in a shop, she had a la-di-da voice and you could see she was the type to drink, too much make-up, etcetera. So I knew she was up in London studying art. It really made a difference, that newspaper article.

It seemed like we became more intimate, although of course we still did not know each other in the ordinary way. I used to have daydreams about her, I used to think of stories where I met her, did things she admired, married her and all that.

She drew pictures and I looked after my collection in my dreams. It was always she loving me and my collection, drawing and colouring them; working together in a beautiful modern house in a big room with one of those huge glass windows; meetings there of the Bug Section, where instead of saying almost nothing in case I made mistakes we were the popular host and hostess.

She all pretty with her pale blonde hair and grey eyes and of course the other men all green round the gills. They all behave like that. Those were days I let myself have the bad dreams. She cried or usually knelt. Once I let myself dream I hit her across the face as I saw it done once by a chap in a telly play.

Perhaps that was when it all started. My father was killed driving. I was two. That was in They never told me what really happened, but she went off soon after and left me with Aunt Annie, she only wanted an easy time.

My cousin Mabel once told me when we were kids, in a quarrel she was a woman of the streets who went off with a foreigner. I was stupid, I went straight and asked Aunt Annie and if there was any covering-up to do, of course she did it. Uncle Dick died when I was fifteen. That was We went up to Tring Reservoir to fish, as usual I went off with my net and stuff. When I got hungry and came back to where I left him, there were a knot of people.

They got him home, but he never said another word or properly recognized any of us again. Aunt Annie and Mabel used to despise my butterflies when I was a boy, but Uncle Dick would always stick up for me. He always admired a good bit of setting.

He felt the same as I did about a new imago and would sit and watch the wings stretch and dry out and the gentle way they try them, and he also let me have room in his shed for my caterpillar jars. When I held the pools cheque in my hands, he was the person, besides Miranda of course, I thought of.

I would have given him the best rods and tackle and anything else he wanted. But it was not to be. I did the pools from the week I was twenty-one.

Every week I did the same five-bob perm. Old Tom and Crutchley, who were in Rates with me, and some of the girls clubbed together and did a big one and they were always going at me to join in, but I stayed the lone wolf.

I never liked old Tom or Crutchley. Old Tom is slimy, always going on about local government and buttering up to Mr. Williams, the Borough Treasurer. I always hated vulgar women, especially girls. So I did my own entry, like I said.

I rang up Mr. Williams as soon as the pools people confirmed the Tuesday that all was well. Some of them at Town Hall lose all sense of proportion. I did what the pools people suggested, moved straight up to London with Aunt Annie and Mabel till the fuss died down. You could see they thought I was mean.

The only fly in the ointment was Miranda. She was at home at the time of winning, on holidays from her art school, and I saw her only the Saturday morning of the great day. There were even times I thought I would forget her. But I may say I have never been like that, I was never once punished at school. Aunt Annie is a Noncon-formist, she never forced me to go to chapel or such like, but I was brought up in the atmosphere, though Uncle Dick used to go to the pub on the q.

Aunt Annie let me smoke cigarettes after a lot of rows when I came out of the army, but she never liked it. Even with all that money, she had to keep on saying spending it was against her principles. What this is all leading to is I got a bit drunk once or twice when I was in the Pay Corps, especially in Germany, but I never had anything to do with women. I never thought about women much before Miranda. They still treated me behind the scenes for what I was—a clerk.

It was no good throwing money around. As soon as we spoke or did something we gave the game away. I remember a night we went out and had supper at a posh restaurant. It was on a list the pools people gave us. I read the other day an article about class going—I could tell them things about that. One evening—it was after the posh restaurant, I was feeling depressed—I told Aunt Annie I felt like a walk, which I did.

If you want a bit of you-know-what, he said. I was too nervous, I tried to be as if I knew all about it and of course she saw, she was old and she was horrible, horrible. I mean, both the filthy way she behaved and in looks. She was worn, common. I thought of Miranda seeing me there like that. Though he knew when to be slimy when it paid; to Mr.

Williams, for instance. A bit more life, Clegg, Mr. Williams once said to me, when I was on Inquiries. That really riled me. I can say I was sick to death with the Annexe, and I was going to leave anyhow. I was not different, I can prove it, one reason I got fed up with Aunt Annie was I started to get interested with some of the books you can buy at shops in Soho, books of stark women and all that.

I always wanted to do photography, I got a camera at once of course, a Leica, the best, telephoto lens, the lot; the main idea was to take butterflies living like the famous Mr.

Of course the business with the woman upset me though, on top of all the other things. It was not that I hated them, but you could see what they were at once, even more than me. They took it not too bad, I suppose they had time to reckon it was my money after all. The first time I went to look for Miranda it was a few days after I went down to Southampton to see off Aunt Annie; May loth, to be exact. I was back in London. What I thought I would do I already, in preparation, bought the best equipment in London was to go to some of the localities where there were rare species and aberrations and get proper series.

I mean turn up and stay somewhere for as long as I liked, and go out and collect and photograph. I had driving lessons before they went and I got a special van. Things most collectors only get a go at once a lifetime. There were moths too. I thought I might take them up. It was easy, I looked up the Slade School of Art in the telephone directory, and I waited outside one morning in the van. The van was the one really big luxury I gave myself.

The whole idea was sudden, like a stroke of genius almost. She came out with a lot of other students, mostly young men. My heart beat very fast and I felt sick. Like a bird. All the time she was talking to a young man with black hair, cut very short with a little fringe, very artistic- looking. There were six of them, but then she and the young man crossed the street.

I got out of the van and followed them. It was full of people, students and artists and such-like; they mostly had that beatnik look. I remember there were weird faces and things on the walls. It was supposed to be African, I think. She was sitting in a second loom at the back. I sat on a stool at the counter where I could watch. Then she was standing right next me. She was in a check dress, dark blue and white it was, her arms brown and bare, her hair all loose down her back.

It was all over in five seconds, she was back with the young man, but hearing her voice turned her from a sort of dream person to a real one. She spoke like she walked, as you might say. I paid as quick as possible and went back to the van and the Cremorne and my room.

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I was really upset. It was partly that she had to borrow cigarettes because she had no money and I had sixty thousand pounds I gave Aunt Annie ten ready to lay at her feet—because that is how I felt. I felt I would do anything to know her, to please her, to be her friend, to be able to watch her openly, not spy on her. I would have if I could have seen her face when she opened it.

That was the day I first gave myself the dream that came true. It began where she was being attacked by a man and I ran up and rescued her. Gradually she came to know me and like me and the dream grew into the one about our living in a nice modern house, married, with kids and everything.

It haunted me. It kept me awake at nights, it made me forget what I was doing during the day. I stayed on and on at the Cremorne. There was always the idea she would understand. In one of the Sunday papers I saw an advert in capitals in a page of houses for sale. Just like that. Then it went on: Old cottage, charming secluded situation, large garden, 1 hr. The next morning I was driving down to see it. I phoned the estate agent in Lewes and arranged to meet someone at the cottage.

I bought a map of Sussex. There are no obstacles. I expected something broken-down. It looked old all right, black beams and white outside and old stone tiles. It stood right on its own. The estate agent came out when I drove up. I thought he would be older, he was my age, but the public schoolboy type, full of silly remarks that are meant to be funny, as if it was below him to sell anything and there was some difference between selling houses and something in a shop.

He put me off straight away because he was inquisitive. Still, I thought I better look round, having come all that way. The rooms were not much, but it was well fitted out with all mod cons, electricity, telephone and all. Some retired navy admiral or somebody had had it and died, and then the next buyer died unexpectedly as well and so it was on the market.

What you do blurs over what you did before. The chap wanted to know if it was just for myself. I said it was for an aunt. I told the truth, I said I wanted it to be a surprise for her, when she came back from Australia and so on. How about their figure, he wanted to know. We were just coming downstairs when he said that, having seen everything, I thought. You had to go out through the back where there was a door beside the back door.

He took the key from under a flowerpot. Of course the electricity was off, but he had a torch. It was cold out of the sun, damp, nasty. There were stone steps down. At the bottom he shone his torch round. Someone had whitewashed the walls, but it was a long time ago, and pieces had come off so that the walls looked mottled. He shone the torch and I saw a doorway in the corner of the wall facing us as we came down the stairs.

It was another large cellar, four big steps down from the first one, but this time with a lower roof and a bit arched, like the rooms you see underneath churches sometimes. The steps came down diagonally in one corner so the room ran away, so to speak. Just the thing for orgies, he said. What was it for? I asked, ignoring his silly facetiousness.

He said they thought it might be because the cottage was so on its own. Or it might have been a secret Roman Catholic chapel. Well, we went back upstairs and out.

It was two worlds. He looked at his watch. Very interested. I really surprised myself. Because before I always wanted something up to date, what they call contemporary. Not an old place stuck away.

He stood there looking all gormless, surprised that I was so interested, surprised I had money, I suppose, like most of them. He went away back to Lewes then. He had to fetch someone else interested, so I said I would stay in the garden and think things over before a final decision. It was a nice garden, it runs back to a field which had lucerne then, lovely stuff for butterflies.

The field goes up to a hill that is north. East there are woods on both sides of the road running up from the valley towards Lewes. West there are fields. There is a farmhouse about three-quarters of a mile away down the hill, the nearest house. South you have a fine view, except it was blocked by the front hedge and some trees. Also a good garage. I went back to the house and got the key out and went down into the cellars again. The inner one must have been five or six feet under the earth.

It was a bit frightening, but I am not the superstitious type. Some might say I was lucky to find the place first go, however I would have found somewhere else sooner or later. I had the money. I had the will. But I would like to see Crutchley organize what I organized last 5 summer and carry it through. I am not going to blow my own trumpet, but it was no small thing. When Miranda became the purpose of my life I should say I was at least as good as the next man, as it turned out.

I had to give five hundred more than they asked in the advert, others were after it, everyone fleeced me. The surveyor, the builder, the decorators, the furniture people in Lewes I got to furnish it. I got long letters from Aunt Annie, which I wrote back to, giving her figures half what I really paid. I got the electricians to run a power cable down to the cellar, and the plumbers water and a sink.

I made out I wanted to do carpentry and photography and that would be my workroom. Nothing nasty. Just couples. At the end of August, the men moved out and I moved in. To begin with, I felt like in a dream.

But that soon wore off. Then the vicar from the village came and I had to be rude with him. I said I wanted to be left alone, I was Nonconformist, I wanted nothing to do with the village, and he went off la-di-da in a huff. Then there were several people with van-shops and I had to put them off. I said I bought all my goods in Lewes.

I had the telephone disconnected, too. I soon got in the habit of locking the front gate, it was only a grille, but had a lock. Once or twice I saw tradesmen look-ing through, but people soon seemed to get the point. I was left alone, and could get on with my work. I worked for a month or more getting my plans ready.

I was alone all the time; not having any real friends was lucky. After I got it dried out I put several layers of insulating felt and then a nice bright orange carpet cheerful fitting the walls which were whitewashed. I got in a bed and a chest of drawers. Table, armchair, etcetera. I got other things, cases and a lot of art books and some novels to make it look homely, which it finally did.

One problem of course was doors and noise. There was a good old oak frame in the door through to her room but no door, so I had to make one to fit, and that was my hardest job. It weighed a ton and it was no joke getting it hung, but I did it.

I fixed ten-inch bolts outside. Then I did something very clever. I made what looked like a bookcase, only for tools and things, out of some old wood and fitted it with wooden latches in the doorway, so that if you gave a casual look it just seemed that it was just an old recess fitted up with shelves.

You lifted it out and there was the door through. It also stopped any noise getting out. Also a burglar alarm. Only a simple one, for the night. What I did in the first cellar was I put in a small cooker and all the other facilities. It was nearly ideal. All this time I never thought it was serious. I know that must sound very strange, but it was so. In my opinion a lot of people who may seem happy now would do what I did or similar things if they had the money and the time. Power corrupts, a teacher I had always said.

And Money is Power. Another thing I did, I bought a lot of clothes for her at a store in London. What I did was, in one I saw an assistant just her size and I gave the colours I always saw Miranda wear and I got everything there they said a girl would need. I could go on all night about the precautions. I used to go and sit in her room and work out what she could do to escape.

I thought she might know about electricity, you never know with girls these days, so I always wore rubber heels, I never touched a switch without a good look first. I got a special incinerator to burn all her rubbish. I knew nothing of hers must ever leave the house. No laundry.

There could always be something. Well, at last I went back up to London to the Cremorne Hotel. It was a very anxious time, but I kept on. I went twice to the coffee-bar. She was getting off a train coming from the north on the other platform. It was easy. I followed her out of the station, and saw her go off towards the College.

The next days I watched the tube station. It was Hampstead. I did the same thing there. I waited for her to come out the next day and she did and I followed her about ten minutes through a lot of little streets to where she lived. I walked on past the house she went into and found out the number and then at the end of the road the name of it.

In the van I had the bed ready and the straps and scarves. I was going to use chloroform, I used it once in the killing-bottle. A chap in Public Analysis let me have it. I drove round the Hampstead district and learnt the A to Z for that part off and how to get quickly away down to Fosters. Everything was ready. So now I could watch and when I saw the chance, do it. It finally ten days later happened as it sometimes does with butterflies.

This night I was outside the tube as usual with the van up a side street. It had been a fine day but close; and it came on to thunder and rain. I was standing in the doorway of a shop opposite the exit, and I saw her come up the steps just as it was teeming. I saw she had no raincoat, only a jumper. Soon she ran round the corner into the main part of the station.

I crossed, there were a mass of people milling about. She was in a telephone box. Then she came out and instead of going up the hill like she usually did she went along another street.

Then she suddenly shot up a side road and there was a cinema and she went in. I saw what it was, she had rung up where she lived to say it was raining hard and she was going in the cinema to wait for it to clear up. I knew it was my chance, unless someone came to meet her. When she had gone in, I went and saw how long the programme lasted.

It was two hours. I took a risk, perhaps I wanted to give fate a chance to stop me. I went into a cafe and had my supper. Then I went to my van and parked where I could see the cinema. I mean I felt I was swept on, like down rapids, I might hit something, I might get through. She came out alone, exactly two hours later, it had stopped raining more or less and it was almost dark, the sky overcast. I watched her go back the usual way up the hill. Then I drove off past her to a place I knew she must pass.

It was where the road she lived in curved up away from another one. There was trees and bushes on one side, on the other a whopping big house in big grounds. I think it was empty. Higher up there were the other houses, all big. The first part of her walk was in bright-lit streets. There was just this one place. I had a special plastic bag sewn in my mac pocket, in which I put some of the chloroform and CTC and the pad so it was soaked and fresh.

I kept the flap down, so the smell kept in, then in a second I could get it out when needed. Two old women with umbrellas it began to spot with rain again appeared and came up the road towards me. There were cars parked everywhere in that district. A minute passed. I got out and opened the back. It was all planned. And then she was near. But there was this wind in the trees. I could see there was no one behind her. Then she was right beside me, coming up the pavement.

Funny, singing to herself. I said, excuse me, do you know anything about dogs? She stopped, surprised. It dashed out. I looked into the back, very worried. She came towards me, to look in. Just as I hoped. Then she came round the end of the open back door, and I stood back as if to let her see. She bent forward to peer in, I flashed a look down the road, no one, and then I got her.

She made a sort of gurgling. I was ready to bolt for it. And then suddenly she went limp, I was holding her up instead of holding her quiet.

I got her half into the van, then I jerked open the other door, got in and pulled her after me, then shut the doors quietly to. I rolled and lifted her on to the bed. I put the gag on first, then I strapped her down, no hurry, no panic, like I planned. Then I scrambled into the driving seat. It all took not a minute. She was still unconscious, but she was breathing, I could hear her, as if she had catarrh, so I knew she was all right. Near Redhill I drove off the main road as planned and up a lonely side road and then got in the back to look at her.

I laid a torch where it gave a bit of light and I could see. She was awake. She remained staring at me.

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I said, are you all right, do you want anything, but it sounded silly. I really meant did she want to go outside. She began to shake her head. I could see she meant the gag was hurting.

She nodded, so I undid the scarf. Before I could do anything she reached up as high as she could and sideways and she was sick.



(PDF) The Collector | Aline Theodoro –


As someone who derives enjoyment from books of this nature, I was determined to remain objective from the onset. I wanted Frederick to earn my disdain, just as I wanted Miranda to garner my sympathy and support. Little did I know just how masterfully John Fowles would pen the book. Written in four sections, you are given Frederick’s POV, then Miranda’s via her diary , and finally two final portions of which the last seems like an epilogue.

The format doesn’t seem to be all that special, but in truth, it is what makes The Collector so powerful — your emotions, quite literally, are used against you. Frederick is a gentle — yet, due to his fears and compulsions, dangerous — man. In the beginning, you want to understand his desire to earn Miranda’s “love. Even more tragic is that as much as you dislike Miranda I’m ashamed to confess this, but almost the entire portion written from Frederik’s POV I didn’t care for her when it’s her turn to speak, you are presented an entirely different picture — of a girl with hopes, dreams, and the realization that the choices that were of such importance in her life — namely her inability to choose to reveal her love for another man, as well as her faith in God — are made all the more heartbreaking in light of the predicament in which she finds herself.

Of course, when you delve into the third and fourth parts, it’s just devastating. It’s disturbing in a multitude of ways, but it’s the ending that drives the final nail in the coffin no pun intended. Suffice it to say, those last few words gave me chills and even now I can’t stop thinking about them.

Feb 22, F rated it it was amazing Shelves: uk , Loved – so creepy! View all 3 comments. A great pal of mine, who shall remain nameless, is a collector. Truly and obsessively one. His house is filled from floor to ceiling with records and CDs and other bric a brac. It’s a very large, sprawling ranch with a half floor up as well as a basement.

It should be a spacious and roomy abode, but when you walk in there it’s like squeezing through the Fat Man’s misery section of Mammoth Cave – you have to turn sideways to get through.

He shares this space with a half dozen cats. It’s filthy. R A great pal of mine, who shall remain nameless, is a collector. Reading this, I wondered too if he might have a lady squirreled away in the basement, but dismissed this notion.

There is simply no room down there to do any such thing, every inch is piled with stuff. He compares himself to the Collyer brothers see Wikipedia , whose obsession with collecting proved fatal.

And so it is in Fowles’ “The Collector,” but how that is so constitutes a spoiler. There were no spoilers in it for me, as I’d seen the William Wyler film for the first time in the early ’70s on TV, and I think what caught my eye and kept my interest then was lovely Samantha Eggar, as Miranda, a role in which she was well cast. I think she captured the character of the book. I’ve since seen the movie again and it holds up, though reading the book I think that Terence Stamp may have been too glamorous looking to play the role of “The Collector.

Hers approach to the telling of it, which is not the strategy of the film, that simply incorporates both these into a straightforward narrative. So yeah, I’m reading it and the story seems to end halfway through and I begin Miranda’s diary and I begin to think, goddamn, I have to read this story all over again?! Son of a bitch. But it’s a very clever trope and in many ways Miranda doesn’t make a very good case for herself in her diary account.

She’s young and arrogant just the kind of snob that the collector ascertains. None of this justifies what he does to her, of course, and that’s one of the strengths of the book, toying at the readers’ sympathies for both characters. They’re both unlikeable, and yet one feels for both of them. The collector has a complex repressive psychology – he knows what he wants, but doesn’t. And she is highly impressionable, as her accounts of longing for her insufferable mentor, the Picasso-like womanizing artist, G.

The battle of wits here is good, and is well handled in the movie as well. I had hoped that Fowles would not have stated so obviously through Miranda’s voice that the collector was someone who treated her the same way as the butterflies in his collection, in such an aloof way, under glass, suffocating and snuffing out what he supposedly loved.

This is easy enough to glean without the author’s help. And this is the way I feel about my friend, the record collector – he has tens of thousands of LPs, but cannot play them, won’t listen to them. How can one ever choose from such a collection? Merely the having of them sates him, for the moment, for he is never sated. What does he want out of it?

He doesn’t know. He has the object, but can’t ever fully appreciate the true essence of what’s inside it – the music. And so it is with the collector, whose idealized view of Miranda trumps the reality of who she is. So, yes, this is a great story, well and cleverly told in plain language, often with thoughtful insights.

And yet, somehow, I never felt like I was in the presence of great literature – even though I felt I was in the presence of a writer capable of it.

Perhaps the dispassionate tone of the collector’s account made me feel this and yet Graham Greene is largely dispassionate and I feel great passion in his work. Fowles’ partisans suggest that “The Magus” is his great contribution to literature, so someday hopefully I can check that out.

Anyway I’m still absorbing what I’ve read, so all the aspects of the book I’d like to comment on will likely be unstated. I tend to move on.. View all 5 comments. When a book is being lauded as some kind of bible for a number of murderers and serial killers, then of course it will attract my attention. The Collector follows a butterfly collector who diverts his obsession with collecting onto a beautiful stranger, an art student named Miranda.

I was so sure The Collector would become a new favourite, the premise is deliciously dark and disturbing, a man obsessed with a woman, intent on kidnapping her and making her fall in love with him. I felt like I just wanted it to go further The first half is fantastic, as we are inside the mind of the collector, Frederick.

But the ending is pretty strong, so you do finish on a high note! All in all, really glad I read it. Incredibly well-written and crazy addictive for the most part. Oh boy what did I just read?! This was most definitely a strange sinister and creepy story. Beyond the obvious depraved strangeness of the whole scenario he had no backbone! Nothing going for him. Strange strange. Obsession, power and a beautiful captured butterfly in the form of Miranda and you get a wicked little story with plenty of arty metaphors to chew on.

I almost loved this book but not every second of it. The story flagged for me once the perspective shifted to Miranda. View all 16 comments. This was a little weird and slightly uncomfortable but throughly entertaining and memorable. It’s hard to believe that after so many novels and films about sociopathic kidnappers, I would still be shocked by a book written in the early 60s. The Collector is a traumatizing novel about a guy who kidnaps a young woman, although Clegg is not your typical kidnapper and Miranda is by no means your typical kidnapee.

What really makes it exceptional is the uniqueness of the two characters and how this shows through the alternating narratives. It soon becomes clear that neither of them is totall It’s hard to believe that after so many novels and films about sociopathic kidnappers, I would still be shocked by a book written in the early 60s.

It soon becomes clear that neither of them is totally reliable and what truly matters is what each decides not to tell as well as how they do or don’t tell it.

Once more, Fowles builds his characters in perfection. The way they both struggle to gain power over each other is thrilling and the reader is in a constant effort to understand the motives behind their deeds. There is also a powerful symbolism here, as Frederick and Miranda represent two opposite forces that were both blooming in England at the time. Old vs new, modern vs archaic, art vs lack of it, imprisonment vs freedom, and ultimately, as Miranda puts it, The New People vs The Few.

Miranda is the power of life and art is the ever-blooming means through which it is expressed. Nothing is served in a plate in The Collector , which makes it truly rewarding in the end.

Although, by then, you will probably be too numb to actually feel anything except a growing sort of uneasiness. It’s heartbreaking in the least cheesy way imaginable. The idea, the execution, Fowles’ extraordinary portrayal of the characters’ psychologies, its darkness and all those feelings it gave me are worth nothing less than all the stars I can give.

Jul 24, Richard Derus rated it really liked it. Real Rating: 3. It was a dark and stormy day in Austin, Texas, in This book deeply unsettled me, left me trying to comprehend what the heck I was experiencing.

What a great way to get a something passionate reader to buy all your books! Now, reading them This was the oldest book of hi Real Rating: 3. This was the oldest book of his I could find after reading A Maggot , which also blew me away.

But these words, this exceedingly dark book, this awful nightmare of an experience from Miranda’s PoV anyway was just so very very unsettling I couldn’t go deeper into this strange and disturbing psyche. I might not sleep, and that’s a lot more serious a problem than it was in my 20s. Have fun, y’all. Feminists: Avoid. Dec 22, P. An adept stalker is keeping you up to date with his observations.

An amateur lepidopterist, he is now on the hunt for a completely different species. And make no mistake, he is acutely methodical about putting down the evolution of his fixation. Let us call him Fred. Fred’s father, a travelling salesman, died on the road when he was 2. His mother went off shortly after her husband died, leaving Fred to his uncle and aunt. In turn, Uncle Dick died when F. From now on, he is taken care o An adept stalker is keeping you up to date with his observations.

From now on, he is taken care of by Aunt Annie. A remarkable example of helicopter parenting, of the prig sort, and lives with his resentful disabled cousin. Apt combination for a decent, lasting guilt trip. Later on, Fred comes to work some time as a clerk in the Town Hall Annexe.

Fred wins out a formidable sum of money in the football pools. Then, Fred quits his job and is able to indulge in any of his whims and fantasies. He decides to buy a country house, one hour from London. Then in turn to adbuct Miranda and keep her captive in the cellar until Miranda grows fond of Fred. The book is divided in 4 parts, mostly 2 sections : the narrative from Fred on the one hand, Miranda’s diary on the other hand.

Fred I found compelling the way John Fowles designed Fred’s personality. A general, cursory portrayal could be : grandiose but outwardly polite, mildly quaint, meek, subdued even. For starters, he is a nostalgic, or better, he seems to be stuck, in the past or somewhere else. Also, from the beginning he is intending to keep past events under constant check. Fred holds very clear-cut, sharp opinions on people, some of whom you should dispose of.

A natural-born voyeur, he likes photography and enjoys some occasional smut, that is, when it is unnoticed by Aunt Annie. Clinical, judgmental, Fred thinks lowly of everyone ; he looks down on lots of fellow humans and coworkers which, by the way, he does not consider he belongs to.

Yet, these are not the most alarming traits and behaviour Fred harbours, miles from it. They have yet to surface. Self-deceiving, looking for reasons, pretending and telling himself stories, rationalizing and never doubting he can tell the right from the wrong.

You can’t figure out Fred, he hardly can himself. Dismissive, Fred is not taking responsibility for any of his acts, and his narrative feels off from the beginning, as though he was describing another man’s life.

In his own words : ‘As they say ; I was only like it that night ; I am not the sort. Finally, the way Fred winds up overtly self-centered even more as you could think of a adbuctor is sheerly unnerving and hateful. His very idiosyncratic use of the English language all along is only reinforcing this increasing hostility you feel in the guts towards the lowly bastard. Finally, along with his particular upbringing, a belief in sheer luck and blind patterns is lying at the core of his worldview and conveniently makes him what he is.

There’s nothing. Miranda The Collector proves also to be a story of power dynamics between captor and captive, when Miranda thinks up many tricks and ways to establish a sort of foothold on his captor. Actually, for the most part, she seems to be the one setting the pace! Soon enough, a nasty little game ensues, with nasty little rules, provisos, promises from both parts. A nasty piece of make-belief from both.

I found Miranda’s standpoint to be a convincing rendering of the wariness, the uncertainty, the strain of time, the frustration, the impatience to live, also the fascination that are likely to be part of such a ghastly predicament. She has some fancy, irritating sentences closing entries in her diary. And also considers her fate at some point as martyrdom for the cause, for the artists, for the Few. For all her principles and eduction, she still has difficulties trying not to treat people as part of a class, or compare them as if sheer abstract types.

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At some point, she also misses Fred when he doesn’t come, out of deprivation of human contact. All of the above make her a particularly convincing character. As someone who writes a diary to keep track of events and personal states, if there had been any disbelief lingering around, I have been specially willing to suspend it!

Two renditions Indeed you can see you are bound to have two conflicting accounts on the gruesome events. It becomes keenly startling when you set to compare them with one another. First off, Miranda freely admits she embellishes things she have said or done. She is openly putting an act to herself in her diary, sometimes, somewhat.

Only, in her case, it is avowed, contradictory, changing, she questions her shortcomings, some questionable decisions she made in the past. Whether she can live up to her principles and survive.

Also, she drawing comparisons with characters from The Tempest by Shakespeare, from Emma, from other novels by Jane Austen Somehow trying to keep alive her capacity for wonder? Her memories involve G. Opiniated, judgmental, outspoken, brazen, he seemed to me a manipulative, authoritarian old man. At the same time, Miranda expresses ideas about what an art should be.

She is also expressing jealousy towards him for having a complicated sexual life So there is jealousy, and also a kind of guilt-trip involved here. Isn’t G. However, for all he is, G. He teaches her something about the deep nature of love and human relationships. It may amount to a consistent explanation as to why Mirand tries to have her way in nearly every way possible with Fred: coercition, persuasion, violence, sympathy, lameducking that is, exerting herself to be kind with him.

It does explain some of her contradictory thoughts about her using disloyal methods and violence towards the madman. And why I found the whole attrition and the way it ends particularly horrid In the end, I hold this book as both an absorbing novel about alienation and a fairly impressive story about story-telling. View all 13 comments. I bought this book at some point, I don’t remember buying it. It kept falling off of the pile of mass-market books I have precariously piled up in front of some other books on one of my bookshelves.

After maybe the hundredth time picking this book up and putting it back on the top of that pile I thought, maybe I should just read it instead of just picking it up ever couple of weeks. The particular edition I read was the third Dell printing, from May I don’t know if the book had the same co I bought this book at some point, I don’t remember buying it. I don’t know if the book had the same cover on earlier Dell editions.

Goodreads says this edition is from I think. By this particular type of cover had gone a bit out of style. It looks lurid. A bound woman has her arms around a man on top of her. There is a feeling of lust about to be satiated. Explosive Chilling, shocking Evil You’ll be shocked It will be difficult to find this book shocking today.

The most shocking thing was maybe how many little details Thomas Harris might have taken from the book to make up Silence of the Lambs. In the years since this book has come out it’s hard to find the story of a stand-offish type who kidnaps a girl and keeps her in his cellar, showers her with gifts and gives her everything she wants except for her freedom as all that evil. Somewhat evil. Like an Eichmann in the pantheon of guys who do fucked up things to other people.

A banal version of a Ted Bundy or a Jeffrey Dahmer. You can’t blame the book though that we’ve become a whole lot more fucked up as a society since the words in this book were penned. Even when the blurbs that decorate this book were written Charlie Manson hadn’t yet heard Paul McCarthy screech about riding on a slide.

Ted, Just Admit it. I can’t adequately put myself in the position of a reader in the early s to see this as particularly sinister or shocking. As an expose of evil, or a thriller or whatever you would want to call this type of book I think it fails. The villain, a mild-mannered loser of sorts who doesn’t fit in anywhere wins the lottery.

With his new found wealth he buys a house in Thomas Hardy’s neck of the woods and fortifies the house as a prison for the object of his affections; a young art student who he has developed a fascination with. So he kidnaps her and keeps her prisoner. He wants nothing from her except that she be his. No sex or even really her love, just her presence.

In his basement. In the room hidden behind some fake shelving. The first half of the book is his story. The second half the diary she keeps while his prisoner. The big problem I have with the book is that he never comes alive, and I think this is sort of the point of the book. He’s a dead character, he’s the Petite bourgeoisie , the lifeless masses of restrained ‘good taste’. The collectors of things who never really live. His whole character is a thing rather than a person. It made what he does seem fucked up, but not evil.

He’s so devoid of any kind of passion or deviancy that he’s more just a pathetic loser that comes across as having possibly eaten a few too many chips of lead paint as a child. I felt the main section of this book is Miranda’s diary. The device of getting to see the situation from her point of view could have been used quite well to counteract the way that the first person narration of her capture and imprisonment had been shown.

If this had been done, it would have been a different book entirely, and it’s not really fair to whine that a book doesn’t do what you want, so I’m hoping it doesn’t sound like I’m doing that. It could have been an interesting way to juxtapose the narrative, that’s all I’m saying. Instead her diary turns into mostly an account of her friendship with an older artist who she was both fascinated and repelled by for his unconventional views on art and life. These two figures in her life, her mentor of sorts and her jailer are pitted against one another in the way the world works.

Two extremes, the one the unconventional artistic view and the other the so overly restrained ‘normal’ world that has kept itself wrapped up so tight in it’s own neuroses that it results in her captor.

Instead of what the ‘s marketing team of Dell made up the book to be, it’s really just another novel about a young person wanting to break free from the confines of polite society. Just in this case it’s a more literal escape she is looking for. Seen in this light, the novel is ok, but it didn’t really do that much for me either. It seems too much like a less pedantic version of a DH Lawrence novel, complete with the priggish hero of individuality–but with a kidnapping.

I might have enjoyed this book more at a different time in my life. Currently, I’m a little impatient with the young artist who sees the world as it really genre, never mind the glorification of the asshole artist as exemplar of how to live not that I think Fowles is doing that here, kind of doing it, but not really doing it, it’s more like he’s doing it in the contrasting between the two extremes he has created in the two main male characters of the book.

I think for the contemporary reader this fails as a shocking novel, and for a novel about ‘authentic’ living it would be better to just go read some Lawrence or Hesse if this is your kind of thing. Jun 24, CC rated it it was amazing Shelves: classics , bbs-challenge , damaged , thriller-suspense-mystery , darkish-to-depths-of-hell. Frederick Clegg is a simple man who led a lonely life. Working as a town clerk, Frederick tries to make friends, but his oddities prevent any real connections.

Her life seems to be bright and full of potential until she encounters Frederick. Waking bound and gagged in a cellar, her life drastically changes. To her credit, Miranda is determined to take steps necessary to survive. Not his. Not selfishness and brutality and shame and resentment. However, his need to keep Miranda overrides any sense of morals as he provides everything she wants given she remains his possession.

At first, she seems snobbish and demanding, and in some ways she is, but she is resolute about doing what she must to ultimately escape. Reading about her coping mechanisms is compelling, along with her ideas of beauty, love, violence and art which make broader statements about the state of society at that time yet still relevant today. The way Frederick treats Miranda is perverse in certain ways, being a butterfly collector by hobby, she becomes his prized aberrational specimen.

Though he believes he wants unconditional acceptance, it becomes clear what Frederick wants. Ultimately, the truth about Frederick is revealed leaving a lasting impression. In this novel, the dynamic between captor and captive is deeply complex. The dichotomy between creating worlds to justify reality was also fascinating and the author used these elements with exacting precision.

And, the character references to The Tempest are skillfully apt. The Collector is a book that resonates long after reading the last word.

A psychological thriller in genre, and perhaps one of the earliest of its kind, it delves into the minds of its characters and offers brutal honesty even when the reader is hoping for an alternative reality. I highly recommend! Jul 16, Kelly and the Book Boar rated it liked it Shelves: liburrrrrry-book , crunken-love , creepy-books , nutters , mc-i-love-but-am-supposed-to-hate , read-in The theme has become a fairly common one.

And it tends to be a winner for me — the most recent example I can think of being The Butterfly Garden. Unfortunately it can all be blamed on Miranda. Yeah, she was the worst.

I would have never been interested in her viewpoint to begin with, but to make her an insufferable asshole was just the icing on the cake. The magic in The Collector is held by Frederick alone — changing the narrator for the middle portion of the story made the wheels fall off a bit for me.

That ending saved things, though. View all 6 comments. Oct 31, Clumsy Storyteller marked it as to-read. It was thoughtful, quiet and creepy.

The writing is rather unique, feeling a bit stilted and awkward. However I personally did not mind it since it fit the narrative voice so well. While the story was not quite perfect, I generally really loved it.

It is particularly impressive for the age of the book, written before the explosion of the modern thriller genre. Oct 29, Lotte rated it really liked it Shelves: x-added-star-ending , cth-century , t-twisted-minds , a-classics , ed-vintage-classics , read , ge-classic-crime , ge-suspense-noir.

That ending gave me chills. A deeply unsettling but very good! Readers also enjoyed. About John Fowles. John Fowles. He recalled the English suburban culture of the s as oppressively conformist and his family life as intensely conventional.

Of his childhood, Fowles said “I have tried to escape ever since. After briefly attending the University of Edinburgh, Fowles began compulsory military service in with training at Dartmoor, where he spent the next two years. World War II ended shortly after his training began so Fowles never came near combat, and by he had decided that the military life was not for him.

Fowles then spent four years at Oxford, where he discovered the writings of the French existentialists. In particular he admired Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre, whose writings corresponded with his own ideas about conformity and the will of the individual.

He received a degree in French in and began to consider a career as a writer. Several teaching jobs followed: a year lecturing in English literature at the University of Poitiers, France; two years teaching English at Anargyrios College on the Greek island of Spetsai; and finally, between and , teaching English at St. Godric’s College in London, where he ultimately served as the department head.

The time spent in Greece was of great importance to Fowles. During his tenure on the island he began to write poetry and to overcome a long-time repression about writing. Between and he wrote several novels but offered none to a publisher, considering them all incomplete in some way and too lengthy. In late Fowles completed the first draft of The Collector in just four weeks.

He continued to revise it until the summer of , when he submitted it to a publisher; it appeared in the spring of and was an immediate best-seller. The critical acclaim and commercial success of the book allowed Fowles to devote all of his time to writing. The Aristos , a collection of philosophical thoughts and musings on art, human nature and other subjects, appeared the following year. Then in , The Magus – drafts of which Fowles had been working on for over a decade – was published.

It resembles a Victorian novel in structure and detail, while pushing the traditional boundaries of narrative in a very modern manner. In the s Fowles worked on a variety of literary projects–including a series of essays on nature–and in he published a collection of poetry, Poems.

Daniel Martin , a long and somewhat autobiographical novel spanning over 40 years in the life of a screenwriter, appeared in , along with a revised version of The Magus. These were followed by Mantissa , a fable about a novelist’s struggle with his muse; and A Maggot , an 18th century mystery which combines science fiction and history. He also wrote the text for several photographic compilations.

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