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The Collector (1963)
by John Fowles
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Cerebral, dark and a bit disturbing, but also somewhat tame by today's standards.
Finally got around to this after years of wanting to read it. Not what I expected, in a good way.
For a debut novel, this is pretty quality. Fowles does a great job of writing from the perspective of a creepy stalker, but an even better job of writing from the view of a desperate, enraged, proud young woman. The horror of this book is how mundane and utterly possible it seems. I hope I never meet my Caliban.
Eerie. Interesting point of view and not the ending that I was expecting!
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Withdrawn, uneducated and unloved, Frederick collects butterflies and takes photographs. He is obsessed with a beautiful stranger, the art student Miranda. When he wins the pools he buys a remote Sussex house and calmly abducts Miranda, believing she will grow to love him in time. Alone and desperate, Miranda must struggle to overcome her own prejudices and contempt if she is understand her captor, and so gain her freedom.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)823.914Literature English & Old English literatures English fiction Modern Period 1901-1999 1945-1999
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Hachette Book Group
An edition of this book was published by Hachette Book Group.
The description sounds more like a sordid thriller, but it's actually neither of those things. Frederick collects butterflies, but when he sees Miranda, he becomes obsessed with her. The book relates the story of a kidnapping from both the perspective of the kidnapper and the kidnapped. And in the telling, it manages to address life, love, art, class and more from a more philosophical perspective. For some readers, this may detract from the storytelling itself, but I really thought that this approach made the book unique and more than just a suspenseful plot.
Both characters, Frederick and Miranda, are very well drawn, and Fowles helps you empathize with Frederick on some level. Miranda has incredible will to live and uses her wit to attempt to manipulate Frederick. Interestingly, in order to survive, in some ways she needs his company even though he is her captor. Another aspect that I found fascinating is that Miranda alludes to a relationship with a mentor that has sexual overtones, and in which she allows herself to be "trapped" in a different way by a man who objectified women and manipulates her.
The book just has a lot of layers under the veneer of a thriller style plotline. There are literary allusions as well and having not read The Tempest, I was not well prepared to appreciate all of them, but it's just another layer of literary deliciousness that Fowles serves up. ( )