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The Collector by John Fowles
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The Collector (1963)

by John Fowles

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,090None1,833 (3.99)222
Recently added byBookEndsIntl, private library, kbeihl, elyreader, AC_Mostar, BoekenTrol71, Olemo, kowgod
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    whimsicalkitten: While only a very small portion of Dying to Please describes the relationship between the obsessed abductor and his victim, that part did remind me of The Collector, although much more heavy handed and less elegant than John Fowles' work
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» See also 222 mentions

English (79)  French (1)  Italian (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (82)
Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
I was pulled into the world of this novel immediately. The opening paragraph has a quiet feeling of menace, of not-quite-rightness as we meet our narrator. Frederick is matter-of-fact to the point of being off-putting as he describes his place in the world. His coworkers don't like him; his aunt (he was orphaned and taken in by her) doesn't understand him and wants to be too involved in his life. He sees a beautiful art student on the street and becomes sure that if he can just get her attention, she'll fall in love with him. Unfortunately for her, his plan for getting her attention involves kidnapping her and locking her in a basement room so she can get to know him. Fowles lets you see the story from both Frederick's and Miranda's viewpoints, switching to Miranda's diary partway through.

For me, the change in perspective is what gave the novel its punch. For others, it might seem tedious to cover much of the same ground through different eyes. I ended up not liking Frederick or Miranda very much, but as it turns out, the book is less about them and the circumstances of their interactions than it is about social classes and the ramifications of harboring a separation between them. Occasionally the observations of the characters are a little on the nose regarding that separation, but mostly Fowles hits the right balance between emphasizing the theme and keeping the story rolling.

It put me in mind of some lyrics from Peter Gabriel's song "Family Snapshot," which is from the point of view of an assassin.

"We were made for each other
-Me and you
I want to be somebody
-You were like that too
If you don't get given you learn to take
And I will take you. "

If those lyrics speak to you at all, you'll probably enjoy this book.

Recommended for: Socialists, people who like their thrillers more suspenseful than gory, chess players.

Quote: "Stop thinking about class, she'd say. Like a rich man telling a poor man to stop thinking about money." ( )
  ursula | Dec 22, 2013 |
This is not one of my favorite books by the author. Perhaps this is because the story of the kidnapping and captivity is just downright nasty and disturbing. Fowles' other books have a lot more to offer. ( )
  datrappert | Nov 21, 2013 |
This debut novel by John Fowles tells the story of an abduction of Miranda Gray by Frederick Clegg and is told from two perspectives, the perpetrator of the abduction and the victim. This book was published in 1963 and is considered the first psychological thriller. Frederick Clegg is obsessed with Miranda Gray. Frederick Clegg is orphaned, raised by an aunt. He is socially awkward and a collector of butterflies. Miranda is a beautiful young woman who is studying art on scholarship. The shift in perspective is dramatic and takes us from the mind of Clegg to Miranda through a diary that Miranda has kept through the ordeal. Through this narration technique the reader is able to gain insights into both characters. There are allusions to The Tempest. Frederick Clegg refers to himself as Ferdinand and Miranda the object of his love. While Miranda refers to him as Caliban, a deformed man or monster from The Tempest. Fowles is a British author who has several great works of literature. Previously read The French Lieutenant's Woman and soon to read The Magus, I looked forward to reading this debut novel of John Fowles. ( )
  Kristelh | Nov 16, 2013 |
Frederick is a loner, doesn't really fit in anywhere. When he starts obsessing over Miranda, he builds a room in his basement, where he plans to keep her as his “guest”.

This turned out to be very good, I thought. I wasn't terribly interested in the short set-up at the beginning, but it pulled me in quickly once he had Miranda in his basement. For a while, I was a bit horrified as I thought about the girls recently found in Ohio. The book itself – for the first part – was told from Frederick's point of view, then later from Miranda's point of view as she wrote in a journal. There were parts of Miranda's past that I tuned out because I was bored, but skipping over those parts, it really drew me in, and I really liked it. ( )
  LibraryCin | Sep 16, 2013 |
I picked this up because it is crime fiction and was delighted to discover something more. The walk alongside this protagonist's suffering is intense, frightening and absorbing. One of the best thrillers I've read. ( )
  Laine-Cunningham | Jul 21, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (40 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Fowlesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Schouwen, Frédérique vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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que fors aus ne le sot riens nee
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When she was home from her boarding-school I used to see her almost every day sometimes, because their house was right opposite the Town Hall Annexe.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
This is a tale of obsessive love-the story of a lonely clerk who collects butterflies and of the beautiful young art student who is his ultimate quarry - remains unparalleled in its power to startle and mesmerize. (0-316-29023-8)
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Ferdinand has always loved collecting butterflies, but when he becomes obsessed with a young college student, he decides to add her to his collection, against her wishes.

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