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The Collector

A book by John Fowles

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A Chilling and Disturbing Psychological Thriller

  • Jul 28, 2010
  • by
Fred is a young man who was orphaned at an early age. Raised by aunts, he comes in possession of some money and seems to be financially secure. However, his own personal hang ups and social awkwardness prevent him from forming normal social relations. This is particularly problematic when it comes to his relations with women. He becomes fascinated with Miranda, a beautiful young art student. Although keenly aware that she is beyond his reach, he attributes this primarily to their class difference. This being England, everyone is highly conscious of the class structure, and this theme plays itself out throughout the novel. In a drastic measure to secure Miranda, he buys a secluded country house where he imprisons her after capturing her. Most of the book is devoted to their interactions while she is his prisoner.

There have been many highly publicized cases of men holding women hostage in recent years, and this particular scenario has been covered in literature and film quite a bit. However, what distinguishes this particular novel from the rest is the fact that a great deal of attention was paid to the nuances of interpersonal reactions and the psychological states of mind of the two protagonists. This uncanny ability to get deep within the minds of the main characters makes this a very unsettling and chilling book to read. We feel much closer to the psychologically disturbed Fred than we would have liked to and his skewed reasoning, though troubling, is in some ways relatable. Miranda's anguish and fear are all too palpable. Fowles is an absolute master of this kind of literary psychological thriller, and his considerable talent shines conspicuously throughout this book. Whether you are familiar with his other works or this is your first exposure to this great writer, you will find a lot to appreciate in this book.

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review by . September 26, 2001
This is a really unusual book which is so well written that you can identify with both the kidnapper - the frighteningly normal Clegg, and the object of his "collection" Miranda. The book starts with Clegg's obsession with collecting beautiful things, and moves through his day to day interaction with the woman he has abducted. The second half deals with Miranda coming to terms with what has happened to her, and her plans and desires to escape.It is very well written, and you could amost imagine …
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Bojan Tunguz ()
Ranked #53
I am a benevolent rascal. I love lounging in bed on a Sunday morning. Rainy days make me melancholy, but in a good kind of way. I am an incorrigible chocoholic. I hate Mondays, but I get over it by Wednesday. … more
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About this book


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.
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ISBN-10: 0316290238
ISBN-13: 978-0316290234
Author: John Fowles
Publisher: Back Bay Books

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