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The Collector [Paperback]

John Fowles
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 17.00
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Book Description

Aug. 4 1997 0316290238 978-0316290234 0
Hailed as the first modern psychological thriller, The Collector is the internationally bestselling novel that catapulted John Fowles into the front rank of contemporary novelists. This 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.

Frequently Bought Together

The Collector + The French Lieutenant's Woman + The Magus
Price For All Three: CDN$ 32.87

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Product Details

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.


"... fine psychological thriller... enthralling... an evening of compelling nastiness." Daily Telegraph" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great one Jan. 28 2003
By A Customer
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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5.0 out of 5 stars the power of free thought June 2 2002
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 a way, clegg was more trapped than miranda: her in body, but him in spirit.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Deepest Heart of Darkness May 10 2002
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Psychologically deep and psychotically horrifying! April 24 2002
A truly original, and disturbing novel. Fowles does a masterful job creating feelings of sympathy for the socially lonesome, and rather compulsive Ferdinand Clegg, who kidnapps Miranda and keeps her locked up in a makeshift 'cage', analogous to his collecting of butterflies.
The story starts off with Ferdinand's point of view of the events, then shifts to Miranda's, before ending in Ferdinand's again. As the reader, you can't help but 'feel' for the kidnapper, who in his own mind thinks that what he's doing to Miranda is justified(read the book to learn why he thinks so). But you can't help but sympathize for Miranda as well, who is taken away suddenly from her everyday freedom, to be caged and starved of life much like a beautiful butterfly.
I had to give the book a 4 because I thought that Miranda's part of the story tended to be a little less eventful than Ferdinand's as she wrote in her journal of her life with her family and her friends. But only a 'little less'.
A great book worthy to be used as a study by psychology students. A must read.
(I am trying to find a copy of the movie, it's a little old, but heard it was great)
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Collector
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 Frank
Published on Jan. 6 2012 by Pithy
5.0 out of 5 stars The Collector
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 more
Published on June 28 2004 by Damian Kelleher
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the finest psychological thrillers ever written
Psychologically disturbed, sexually frustrated, and emotionally tormented ... these adjectives all describe the title character, Clegg, the collector himself. Read more
Published on April 21 2004 by L.M.W.
5.0 out of 5 stars A broken Butterfly's wing.
Mr Fowles has such a gift for getting the reader into the head of the subject. I really enjoyed this book. Read more
Published on Feb. 20 2004 by Scott V. Alley
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
Fantastic book. His writing style is rare and wonderful. You don't often read a book and really get into the minds of the characters the way you do with this book. Read more
Published on Jan. 16 2004 by Rick Brenner
2.0 out of 5 stars The Frustration
This book is definitely intriguing, so if that is your goal when buying a new book, then you'll love this book. Its completely unique and original in plot and in character. Read more
Published on Aug. 7 2003 by B. Garwitz
4.0 out of 5 stars The degrading and macabre exploration of the human condition
The Collector...well, where does one begin when concerning such an exhilirating but macabre piece? The reader witnesses the degenerating nature of a man who has been isolated from... Read more
Published on June 19 2003 by Phoebe
1.0 out of 5 stars Not really good at all.
This book I have to warn people about as it I didnt finsh it. It's really unenjoyable and sick in many ways. Read more
Published on June 6 2003 by Rosella Ann Myles
1.0 out of 5 stars Not really good at all.
This book I have to warn people about as it I didnt finsh it. It's really unenjoyable and sick in many ways. Read more
Published on June 6 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
I had to read this book for my Honors World Lit. class last year, and it was truely one of the best books ive ever read. Read more
Published on March 25 2003 by Eimi Star
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