The Collector

The Collector

by John Fowles


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316290234
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 08/04/1997
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 75,630
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile: 670L (what's this?)

About the Author

John Fowles (1926-2005) was educated at Oxford and subsequently lectured in English at universities in Greece and the UK. The success of his first novel, The Collector, published in 1963, allowed him to devote all his time to writing. His books include the internationally acclaimed and bestselling novels The Magus, The French Lieutenant's Woman, and Daniel Martin. Fowles spent the last decades of his life on the southern coast of England in the small harbor town of Lyme Regis.

Read an Excerpt

"Seeing her always made me feel like I was catching a rarity, going up to it very careful, heart-in-mouth as they say. A Pale Clouded Yellow, for instance. I always thought of her like that, I mean words like elusive and sporadic, and very refined-not like the other ones, even the pretty ones. More for the real connoisseur."
—from The Collector

Customer Reviews

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Collector 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story begins slow and unclear. Then the auther pulls the story together to create a mysterious and suspenseful journey. John Fowles shows two different points of view, one of the abductor and one of the abducted. My own opinion is the first part, the kidnapper's thoughts, is very well written and revealing. You can see into deranged man's life and thoughts. The second part, the veiw of the kidnapped, I found much less thrilling and interesting, though. The author ended the book wonderfully with generally back forth thoughts between the two main characters.
Lea3011 More than 1 year ago
I wanted to read this book, since it is mentioned so many times on the TV show and the book of Criminal Minds. It did not disappoint my expectations. It was a little hard to get into at first, but soon I couldn't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book years ago and I'm talking some 37 years ago. This book has stuck with me for years and I found it very enjoyable. Some of these older books are great! Try "Bunny Lake is missing" or "Joy in the morning" All of these books are GREAT!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fowles has created an excellent, gripping story. I couldn't put it down! Without going into great detail, I was moved to tears by the end of the book. You feel as if you are actually watching this unfold right before you.
KatieMShan More than 1 year ago
This book kept me on the edge. I don't think I have ever read a book faster. The guy in this book is not your typical crazy guy and I can't imagine the mind it took to write this, especially the way John Fowles did. INCREDIBLE BOOK!
craso on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A shy, disturbed young man stalks and then kidnaps a beautiful young woman. He doesn't keep her bound and gagged all the time. She is imprisoned in a cellar and he brings her everything she asks for. They start to talk and he realizes keeping her is going to be harder than he thought.This is one of the most British novels I have ever read. John Fowles lived in southeast England and taught school before writing this novel in 1963. It is very much of it's time. It is a commentary on British class system and society in the 1960's. The female character writes to keep her sanity. She writes about the things she is interested in; art, beauty, the threat of the H-bomb, and the man she idolizes. She mentions "Teddy Boys", another name for juvenile delinquents, and how older people can't understand how the younger generation talks and dresses; a complaint of British youth or "Mods" in the 1960's. The theme of the novel is the contrast between the middle class intellectuals and the lower class "New People" that were acquiring money, but not the sophistication to go with it. The kidnapper represents that new class. He is a lowly clerk until is wins the pools. This gives him the money to bring his sick daydreams into the real world. He buys a house with a basement that he renovates into a prison for the young woman. He could have done anything with his money; given it to charity, gone back to school, collected works of art. He speaks in a lower class dialect, is overly concerned with morality, and incapable of understanding the beauty of life. The kidnapped woman is a well educated and thoughtful person who tries to teach him about art, literature, and social causes but it is beyond him. The social commentary takes away from the flow of the story. The first half of the novel is told by the kidnapper in a very sparse matter-of-fact way. This is very much like the characters personality; logical and unemotional. The middle of the novel is told by the victim who goes on and on about art and social issues and absolutely bogs down the story. Writing about these subjects is true to the character, but after awhile I started to skip through these long passages.This novel is considered by some to be a horror story. The horror of the tale is that a vibrant, beautiful, intelligent young woman can be so easily erased from the world. The kidnapper collects butterflies and then her and expects her to stay in her place and be happy. Keeping a person like her away from the world is like suffocating her with a killing jar. The truly chilling section of the novel is the last few paragraphs which foreshadow what will happen in the future.
Joybee on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Great story. While it is not scary, I think this is a great horror novel because of the suspense and creepiness.The story starts in the words of the main character and narrator, who claims to not be 'mad' but is obsessed ('in love with') with a young woman he sees in town. He begins just watching her, then stalking, and eventually kidnapping her and keeping her prisoner. It is creepy because he talks so logically and you even begin to feel sorry for him. He doesn't want to hurt the girl, he just wants her to get a chance to know him and maybe love him.
coloradogirl14 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Proof that a horror novel can aspire to great literary heights while still shocking the hell out of the reader. The story follows a lonely young man, Frederick, who becomes obsessed with Miranda, a young art student. Hoping that Miranda will learn to love him and accept him, the man kidnaps her and holds her hostage in a secluded cabin, giving her everything she asks for but refusing to set her free. As time passes, Miranda tries to escape again and again, but finds herself paradoxically hating her captor and pitying him at the same time.What makes this novel truly unique is the reader's ability to hate and sympathize with Frederick, just as Miranda does. His refusal to accept art and literature frustrates us, but he treats Miranda so well that we forget that he has become her captor. "Look at everything he does for her, and think about what he COULD be doing to her," we tell ourselves, forgetting that Miranda is still being held captive in a small cellar room.At the same time, we begin to frown upon Miranda for her idealistic and stubborn views about the world, and her snobbish views of those who will not create or appreciate the beauty of the world. She tells herself that she is not snobbish, but she also acknowledges that she is superior to Frederick in every conceivable way, because she is a part of that elite group of people - those who create, who experience, who live for the beauty of life. Who, then, is the inferior character? Fowles also delivers in terms of sheer suspense. Ferdinand's narration is full of skillful foreshadowing that keeps the pages turning, and Miranda's diary entries not only offer an alternative explanation of Ferdinand's exposition, but also deep ruminations on beauty, art, decency, and her complicated desires for her artist friend, G.P. - a man nearly twice her age. Overall, a fantastic psychological thriller that blurs the boundaries between horror and literary fiction.
phebj on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I never heard of this book before LT (not sure why) but it¿s exactly the kind of book I enjoy--a thoughtful psychological thriller where you get inside the mind of a sociopath.Right from the beginning, you learn that Frederick Clegg, a lower-class administrative clerk who collect butterflies in his spare time, has lost all the people close to him by the time he was 15. He leads a lonely life that increasingly centers around his preoccupation with Miranda Grey, a beautiful and vibrant young art student who lives with her family across the street from his office. Clegg worships Miranda from afar until he wins a substantial amount of money in the football pools. This turn of events allows him to buy a house in a remote location with a basement suitable for holding Miranda captive.The beginning of the book is told from Clegg¿s point of view and you develop a certain amount of sympathy for him. He is unable to see things as Miranda does and believes he is taking good care of her and that she will eventually fall in love with him. When Miranda gets to tell her side of the story, you¿re forced to see just how disturbed Clegg is and how cruel it is to imprison someone as full of life as Miranda.The suspense of wondering if Miranda will be able to escape or not kept me turning the pages most of the time. But Fowles also uses her character to explore a number of subjects such as art, beauty, class differences in England in the early 1960s and religion. Some of the references that were specific to life in England during that time went over my head and I occasionally got bogged down in some of Miranda¿s ramblings about the meaning of life but overall this was a book I became absorbed in and would highly recommend. It¿s the kind of scary that slowly creeps up on you and all the more scary because it¿s so realistic. 4 1/2 stars.A quote (from Miranda as she realizes she is like one of Clegg¿s butterflies): ¿I am one in a row of specimens. It¿s when I try to flutter out of line that he hates me. I¿m meant to be dead, pinned, always the same, always beautiful. He knows that part of my beauty is being alive, but it¿s the dead me he wants.¿
actonbell on LibraryThing 8 months ago
My latest read is The Collector, by the late John Fowles, which was his first successful book, back in 1963. It is a dark tale about a young male sociopath who makes a shift from collecting butterflies to collecting a young woman he's been admiring and stalking obsessively.Frederick Clegg was living a miserable life as a strange loner of a clerk until he won a lottery. After that, he led an even stranger existence, for what he decided to do with all this money was to buy a very secluded house where he set about making all the necessary alterations he would need to keep a "house guest" a secret. In other words, he built a fortified prison in his basement. Then, Frederick bought a van, came up with a plan that included stalking, baiting, chloroform, and bondage. This time, though, instead of successfully netting a rare species of butterfly, he abducted Miranda Grey, a local art student.The first part of the story is told in first person by Frederick, but then the narrative is given to Miranda, so the reader gets two very different points of view about what is happening. Miranda's story is of course very sad, but also very brave; she tries very hard to reason with her captor, wracks her brains trying to think of ways of escaping, and keeps a diary of her recent past and her future aspirations. It's all the idealism and hope of a very young woman desperately trying to survive. Miranda is a strong character.John Fowles paints a fascinating portrait of two diametically different people, both doomed in such different ways. This novel is what I would call "a heartbreaking work of staggering genius." My compliments go to Dave Eggers for that moniker! It's a depressing work, but in my humble opinion, you must read this.
jayne_charles on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A tale of kidnap and imprisonment, partially narrated by the kidnapper, partly by the victim. I thought the kidnapper's narrative voice was very convincing - he is not supposed to be a particularly intelligent guy, and is a bit of a weirdo, so it would have felt wrong if he had spouted superb literary prose. Sometimes his sections were odd to read, but necessarily so I thought.At one point the narrative switches, and we go back in time so are in fact going back over familiar events from the opposite point of view. This unfortunately disrupted the tension a bit.The kidnap victim's reminiscences of a relationship with an artist 'GP' provided counterpoint to the oppression of the incarceration storyline, and whilst I am sure there were profound themes of freedom and choice being explored by the narrative, I just enjoyed the superb writing and evocation of 'arty' society.
maggie1944 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A very tightly written and ultimately captivating novel of a young man's obsession with a young woman. The title is very apt and by the end of the book the reader will well understand that the protagonist is a collector, and perhaps understand in part why. I do not want to tell much of the story because its slow reveal is such a integral part of the novel's effectiveness. I recommend it for those who will enjoy a creepy book which is superbly written.
whirled on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Though well-written, The Collector was a thoroughly unpleasant reading experience (not least because a disturbing number of real-life Cleggs have emerged blinking into the media spotlight in recent years). During the sections narrated by the kidnapper, I kept noticing how familiar his deep hostility towards people - especially women - seemed, from news stories, books, television and especially the venomous, anonymous rants found everywhere online. I kept thinking of the men who secretly admire Clegg and the way he works around pesky concepts like consent and free will. The parts from the point of view of the kidnapped Miranda were a little less revolting, though I've still wondering why Fowles included long reminiscences about her middle-aged lover, G.P. If you want to remain hopeful about the human condition, give The Collector a wide berth.
wendyrey on LibraryThing 11 months ago
A young man kidnaps a girl and keeps her hidden away until she dies, of neglected (more by ignorance than malice) pneumonia. The first half tells the story from the viewpoint of the man , the second from the girls perspective. Somehow Fred, with his clearly abnormal thought processes becomes a more compelling, sympathetic character than the spoilt, pretentious girl, until she nears death when the tragedy and pathos of her end defines the story .
astroantiquity on LibraryThing 11 months ago
One of the best novels about abduction (the other being The Vanishing). The book is divided twofolds and gives us the abductor's and the abductee's POV.
plasticspam on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I read this years ago. I'd read some Fowles and really loved the french lieutenant's woman. I love the format of the book and the structure of both describing the same things occuring. Really an eerie book.
bookladymn on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I first read this book as an 8th grader and loved it. Miranda Grey is a beautiful, talented, and artistic young woman who falls prey to a man who appears to be completely ordinary, but is not. James Willby collects beautiful butterflies, and more than anything, wants to collect and keep Miranda just as he has collected butterflies before her.This book had such a profound affect on me and I love the character Miranda so much that I named my own daughter after her.In these days, the story is perhaps not so startling as it was then, but it is certainly just as compelling.
soylentgreen23 on LibraryThing 11 months ago
It's been a long, long time since I last sat down and just read a whole book, almost in a single sitting. By the end, I was completely drained emotionally, with a sick-to-the-stomach kind of feeling.I hate to admit this, but I identify with "Ferdinand," the lost soul so in love - or what he thinks is love - with Miranda, a girl he doesn't know, that he kidnaps her and makes her his guest. I too have felt that longing to be with someone in the way that Ferdinand feels he should be, and to possess someone so entirely. Thankfully, I am not that man, but I think it's Fowles' art that makes it possible to sympathise with, essentially, a monster.
Jebbie74 on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Let me preface this by saying that I think I read too much current fiction/thrillers. I was looking forward to reading this one as I had heard how frightening it was from an older gentleman I know. Perhaps I should have taken that comment in context. While reading through The Collector I was left wondering when the scary parts were coming. And when nothing came, I was disappointed. Perhaps I will read it again someday and not expect the frightening pieces to be spelled out for me, thus perhaps changing my rating.
FrancescaAthruZ More than 1 year ago
not bad
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I finished this book a couple of days ago and I find myself thinking about this book wishing it wasn't over. It was 500 pages so it was a nice long read. I felt as if these characters where a part of my family. You won't regret your purchase!
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