The Collector Hardcover – Dec 1963
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From Library Journal
Fowles launched his career with The Collector, which was welcomed with great critical enthusiasm, including that of LJ's reviewer, who found it "a distinguished first novel" (LJ 8/63). Mantissa, on the other hand, was a departure from the author's more popular material and received only a marginal response (LJ 9/1/82).
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"... fine psychological thriller... enthralling... an evening of compelling nastiness." Daily Telegraph" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Frederick, a socially awkward clerk becomes obsessed with a beautiful art student, Miranda. After admiring her from afar, he kidnaps her in the hopes that she may fall in love with him once she gets to know him.
Intelligent and passionate about life, Miranda is wrought with fear as she discovers how helpless she is to leave. Her bright spark is contrasted against Frederick's rigid and dark existence. Like the butterflies Frederick collects in his spare time, Miranda is merely a possession that feeds his obsession for beautiful things.
My heart breaks for Miranda each time I read this book as I see her spirit shrivel. Whatever power she had diminishes the longer she is imprisoned. Whereas Frederick thinks sustenance in the form of food and water is sufficient, Miranda needs so much more, and what she needs--intimacy, understanding, and love, are things Frederick can never give her.
If you have not read this book, I highly recommend it. The story has stayed with me for decades because of its enduring themes. Juxtaposed against the power struggle between the captor and his captive, we explore middle-class vs. lower class; sanity vs. insanity; good vs. evil.
"The Collector" is a brilliant study in human nature when there is ultimately nothing left to lose.
The story is told from his point of view, and then hers, which provides the reader with a distorted yet deeply interesting account of the same events. John Fowles's observations are very cruel but also very, very true - people like Frederick, his hero, can never fit in. They can only use violence to serve their own purposes - but even that does not always work - as you cannot force somebody's mind .. in the story, the woman never acts as he expects or would like her to, and it's very obvious she doesn't belong to his world, and never will.
Which can only lead to tragedy, even if people don't want things to end this way.
The plot of the Collector reminds me of stories by Edogawa Ranpo or Ernesto Sabato - I remember the former wrote a weird novel about a masseur using women's bodies to fulfill his desire for Perfect Beauty.
That said, Fowles mostly reminds me of the best writers/analyzers of the human mind like Kellerman or Mac Ewan.
But he's also a great writer of his own right .. I first read the Collector more than 10 years ago, when I only was in my early teens ... and it's still as good as it was at the time.
I've seen complaints that Freddy's tedious blandness is boring reading. My sympathy. I don't remember to clearly my first reading (I just read the book for the third time over the Millenium weekend), but I still read hoping, hopelessly, that he will crack somehow, that something will break through his crazed porcelain surface to a human heart.
The astonishing thing about the book is that it is not, in any sense, an exercise in sadism. Miranda's suffering is never enjoyable; Freddy's cruelty is never attractive. I always felt that the movie erred in casting a vaguely attractive person like Terence Stamp for the role, and early paperback covers depict a similarly romantic figure. Freddy begins as a non-entity, as heroic as Eichmann, and he descends from that depth to a degradation, an abdication of humanity that is absolute.
Miranda reminds me, in her vulnerability, of a statue I once saw at the Denver Art Museum. The artist was doing three-dimensional photorealism. He had sculpted one model as a sleeping nude so lifelike that she was startling. But his wonderful gem was a lifesize sculpture, also nude, of the same model standing up, staring back at us, her body language conveying so unambiguously the helpless humiliation of being nude in a room of the clothed, that she was unbearable to look at.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Became dry a bit during the the middle of the book but overall, the book was an interesting read. I would definitely recommendPublished 1 month ago by Anthony Di Clemente
This is a brutally frank and dire analysis of two people, a neurotic male psychopath and the naïve woman he kidnaps and enslaves. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Sverre Svendsen
I have the DVD of the movie. But the book is much much more ... It's wonderful
I gave it four since this is the original classic and basis for several movies and books of serial killers. Even though it was written 50 years ago it still stayed relevant todayPublished 10 months ago by derek hennig
Sharp, overall effect is well written with realistic clarity and points of view. Transfixed by the characters. The plot was probably shocking in its day. Channeling Anne FrankPublished on Jan. 6 2012 by Pithy
Ferdinand is a quiet, mild mannered clerk who has recently come into a large amount of money. Unsure what to do with it, at first he wanders about Europe with his deformed Aunt... Read morePublished on June 28 2004 by Damian Kelleher