The Collector

The Collector

Book - 1997
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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.
Publisher: Boston : Back Bay Books/Little, Brown and Co., 1997, c1963.
Edition: First Back Bay paperback edition
ISBN: 9780316290968
0316290963
9780316290234
0316290238
Branch Call Number: FOWLES J 1997
Characteristics: 305 pages ; 21 cm.

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SCL_Justin Aug 05, 2017

John Fowles’ The Collector is a novel of the 1960s about a man who wins the lottery and then kidnaps a young woman, keeping her in a dungeon in the British countryside. It’s an unsettling book, even in our age of antiheroes, but what’s great about it is the structure. (I am such a sucker for an interestingly constructed novel.)

See, the first half of the book is the story from the collector’s point of view. We’re in his head and we see his reasons for everything he’s doing, and because he doesn’t rape the young woman immediately there’s this dread that builds and builds. The hassles and frustrations of buying a house and building a dungeon in it are all treated in a very matter of fact way and it lulls you into this weird headspace. It never has you rooting for him, but you can find yourself feeling sorry for him.

Then for the second half of the book we see everything through the victim’s eyes, including her preoccupation with an affair she was having with an older artist. It’s kind of amazing. I love that we don’t alternate points of view on things as they happen (or even on a chapter by chapter basis). Since we know the incidents that will happen from how the collector experienced them, it builds even more dread in the second half, not about what will happen, but about how will she feel when that thing we know is coming happens?

The conclusion isn’t anything special (I was kind of hoping for something amazing like in Fowles’ The French Lieutenant’s Woman) but this was his first novel, so I’ll forgive that. The whole book is quite restrained, and makes something like The Silence of the Lambs (just to pick a kidnapping story) seem really crass and obvious.

VaughanPLAlex Dec 13, 2016

Written mainly from the perspective of an impotent sociopath, ‘The Collector’ is a fascinating read. It is pathological, it is haunting, and it is impossible to put down. A collector of butterflies seeks out to “collect” a young girl and hold her prisoner; his thought processes and planning carefully articulated for the reader. If you are looking for a good book to end the year, this is it!

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Eil_1
Jul 05, 2016

An unusual book. A journey into the minds of the two protagonists. The flashbacks to Miranda's life were somewhat tedious relative to what was occurring in the present. Her ability to actually escape was in all probability futile. Altogether a depressing story - one I wouldn't recommend.

ECiriello Jun 06, 2016

An excellent book. Wonderful to get into the minds of both kidnapper and victim.

b
bs_freiheit94
Sep 13, 2015

Such an insanely creepy book. This was a very intense read and it took a lot to finish. The whole time I was on the edge of my seat just hoping for something good to happen. But nothing ever really did... It was just so hard reading about the mental breakdown of a human being in an attempt for freedom that will never come. And the impending doom of knowing that it just might happen again...

w
wilqser
Apr 22, 2015

British novel copyrighted in 1963 about a lonely soul ( who doesn't think highly of himself) who takes it in his mind to kidnap a girl he admires and holding her hostage in a ready-made basement. A little hard to understand because of the jargon of the British 1960's and street references. Not the way I thought it was going to end and a little long in making points about classes. Average to good

s
stewstealth
Jan 23, 2015

Very clever well written thriller with enough symbolism to be a great novel. Very good narrative and characterizations. Well worth reading though a tad macabre.

l
lukasevansherman
Nov 03, 2014

Creepy, charged psychological thriller about a seemingly mild-mannered man who kidnaps a woman. From the author of "The French Lieutenant's Woman." Made into a film with Terrence Stamp.

m
macierules
Oct 11, 2011

Such an excellent psychological study...much creepier than Room by Emma Donoghue.

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wiltonsugiyama
Jun 13, 2011

well written, readable. changes of POVs made for more compelling reading. hardly dates, tho written in 60s. recommend.

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Eil_1
Jul 05, 2016

Eil_1 thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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bs_freiheit94
Sep 13, 2015

bs_freiheit94 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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