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The Collector Hardcover – Dec 1963

4.2 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Dec 1963
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd; 4th impression edition (December 1963)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224602179
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224602174
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.7 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,581,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"The Collector" introduced me to John Fowles' debut novel many years ago, and I have reread it numerous times since. Recently, I did so to remind myself of how masterful Fowles was at creating setting. In this case, the environment is an isolated country home of a psychopath.

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.
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By A Customer on Jan. 28 2003
Format: Paperback
A young woman is abducted by a man who's grown obsessed with her in the previous months (or years), and wants her to fall in love with him too. But once she's in his power, he is at a loss what to do with her ..
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.
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Format: Paperback
when i finished reading 'THE COLLECTOR', i threw the book across the room in frustration and disgust. such is the power of john fowles, luring the reader deeper and deeper into a world of twisted fantasy which is portrayed in a terrifyingly realistic fashion. the book centres around two characters, fred clegg, a quietly insane and lonely man who loves to collect butterflies (hence the name of the book - a strong metaphor), and miranda, a girl that he imprisons in his house so that she can know and love him. clegg feels disadvantaged in many ways, and so takes out all his feelings of rejection and inadequacy on his unfortunate prisoner. i have read some reviews that suggest that the book should not have been divided into sections - miranda's and clegg's - and on this point i would have to entirely disagree. the juxtapositioning of the two points of view is the very essence of the story, showing the two sides of human life: on miranda's part, her passion for life and discovery, for learning and making a difference; and clegg's, showing his selfishness, rigidness and desire to own or kill everything that shows vibrance and emotion, everything he is not. this was fowles' intention, to show us that we all have both good and evil inside us,that mirnada was not entirely perfect and clegg was not entirely evil, but that the evil in clegg eventually overcame miranda's good. this book is a dire warning to human kind to embrace life and see that we have opportunities outside what we are given, that we always have the option of free thinking.in a way, clegg was more trapped than miranda: her in body, but him in spirit.
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Format: Paperback
No book plunges deeper into the heart of darkness than John Fowles extraodrinary first novel, *The Collector*. Patrick McCabe's *The Butcher Boy* comes close, but Freddy Clegg is the banality of evil given unwilling flesh with none of the operatic violence of McCabe's psychopath. His slow descent into murder is all the more frightening in that it is not a descent at all but a revelation, of the consistency of his alienation and sociopathy.
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.
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