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Withdrawn, uneducated and unloved, Frederick collects butterflies and takes photographs. He is obsessed with a beautiful stranger, the art student Miranda. This is one book that horror enthusiasts shouldn’t miss! 4 spooky stars! The Collector is one of the more creative middle-grade horror books, with a fair amount.


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Notify me of new posts via email. Book Description: Withdrawn, uneducated and unloved, Frederick collects butterflies and takes photographs. My Thoughts: The first half of this novel is told from the viewpoint of Frederick, the collector, who has upgraded from collecting butterflies to collecting women. Like this: Like Loading Published by Janel Keeper of Pages. Feel exactly the same way. Old crime novels are cool, classics are slow and boring haha Like Liked by 1 person. I really liked it! Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:.

Email required Address never made public. Name required. Write a Comment He watches an art student named Miranda who starts to become his obsession. When he suddenly has a lot of free time and money on his hands, his daydreams about Miranda turn dark and he plans to kidnap her and hold her hostage in the cellar of an old cottage he buys until she gets to know him and Fredrick is a clerk and butterfly collector who wins some money that lets him retire.

When he suddenly has a lot of free time and money on his hands, his daydreams about Miranda turn dark and he plans to kidnap her and hold her hostage in the cellar of an old cottage he buys until she gets to know him and falls in love with him. I really enjoyed the book personally, I liked the writing style and even though its about something macabre Fowles doesn’t make it exploitative or gore-y to shock the reader.

A lot of the focus is on the characters change and development as well as their thought process through out. I think it’s really well done, both the Fredrick and Miranda parts are distinct and feel like two separate people. Everything unfolding the way it does felt so real too, the way Fredrick distances himself from what he’s doing and tries to justify it, insisting he doesn’t mean to do it until he does it even though everything is being meticulously planned.

Also Miranda’s conflicted feelings over Fredrick and her slow breakdown from living confined and alone. I originally read this book because I was listening to last podcast on the left which I recommend to anyone who likes cults or serial killers but isn’t sensitive to jokes that may be considered offensive and they mention Leonard Lake being obsessed with the book. I checked and there are multiple murders associated with the book and so I just wanted to see what about this book was causing all these people to feel like yes killing is great.

Anyways the only thing I can come up with is that since the book was published in the s there wasn’t as much about sadistic killers or people doing crimes like these out there so it appealed to them and Fowles does such a good job capturing a certain kind of personality in Fredrick that people really identified with it.

It also gave them a good model of how to escalate to the point of doing things like kidnapping and murdering because really in the book Fredrick just starts off by dreaming about it and it goes from there. That’s all I’ve got because view spoiler [ Fredrick never really hurts Miranda or forces her to do anything especially at first, he kind of just likes having her hide spoiler ] so I’m not sure why that would inspire Leonard Lake to want a slave that he can use for sex and to take care of the house?

The author in interviews said that the book is about social class and money and I do see that much more clearly in the book than any message about how its a good idea to kidnap women. I’m not sure how much I agree with the social commentary though probably because it has been decades since the book has been written.

I do understand the point that money and idle time given to people can lead to them doing things they might not have otherwise but I don’t think the class or money is the problem so much as the person themselves. View all 16 comments. Nov 30, Paul Bryant rated it really liked it. This is one of those boy meets girl, chloroforms her, throws her in the back of the van and stuffs her in his basement type stories.

Fred is the sweetest psycho ever! The kindest and most attentive! No slurping and grunting at all! This is a brilliant stroke by John Fowles and really messes with your mind. As does the whole book. After that things just go badly.

View all 11 comments. Aug 09, Dana Ilie rated it it was amazing Shelves: classic-literature. I definitely think Book Readers should have this book on their shelf. View all 17 comments. Impotent sociopath kidnaps beautiful art student. Told partly from the sociopath’s perspective. That’s my jam! I should have loved this book! But something left me cold.

I suppose it may have been all the bitching and complaining the beautiful art student did in her stupid diary. What a helpless twit! Not to imply that I’d be brave and cunning or anything In fact, I’m pretty sure I’d be a helpless twit as well. But I’ll be goddamned if I’d expect anyone to enjoy readi Impotent sociopath kidnaps beautiful art student. But I’ll be goddamned if I’d expect anyone to enjoy reading the daily chronicles of what a helpless twit I’d been.

The ending really made me smile, though. The creepy ending made it all worthwhile. Crazy fucker. View all 29 comments. Jan 25, Fabian rated it really liked it. This novel is over fifty years old!

Though its semi predictable, the end is nonetheless terribly terrific. That there are two strands of narrative is sometimes a revelation, sometimes an encumbrance like living through a terrible ordeal not once but twice! Both psych This novel is over fifty years old! View 2 comments. It’s been hard for me to focus lately — gee, I wonder why? Over the past month, I’ve begun several books, lost interest, shelved them. Instead, I find myself studying grim news items and statistics, scrolling through memes on social media, staring blankly out my window onto empty streets and watching old black and white movies or TV shows I’ve missed over the past decade.

All while trying to work from home while I still have a job. Then I came across this book. I knew vaguely what it was about, having long ago seen the acclaimed movie adaptation starring Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar.

About 50 pages in, I realized it was the perfect book to read in semi quarantine. Ferdinand, a. Frederick, Clegg is a nondescript something clerk in London who collects butterflies and has one other obsession: Miranda, a young, attractive art student he’s seen and stalked.

When he wins the pools the UK equivalent of the lottery , he decides to abduct Miranda and keep her in the house he’s bought in the country, complete with highly secure cellar, which he’s outfitted for the newest item in his collection.

That’s essentially the story. Miranda tries to escape, of course, and Ferdinand tries to stop her. She requests items from town, including some things that could perhaps hint that she’s that missing girl from the art college. Above all, she tries to find out what Ferdinand wants from her. What’s so fascinating about John Fowles’s first novel is that it has the outline of a thriller but it’s really so much more. While the first part of the book is told from Ferdinand’s POV — Fowles is very good at getting inside the twisted mind of what we might call an “incel” today — the second switches to Miranda’s POV, and it’s here that the book gets really interesting.

Miranda keeps a secret diary, and through her accounts of her time in the cellar we see different takes on scenes we’ve already witnessed.

Plus, she’s got obsessions of her own, including a much older semi-famous artist. While it’s easy to have sympathy for her in the first part — she’s clearly a victim — things get more complicated when we read her thoughts about class, education, physical beauty and art in the second. What makes this such an effective quarantine novel is how isolated and trapped Miranda feels, removed from her friends, her family, her home. She longs to breathe fresh air, look up into the sky. She misses even the simplest, most banal activities.

Through her diary, you can also see how her entrapment has changed her feelings about life, art and freedom. There are lots of literary references — to The Tempest , of course, with Miranda referring to Clegg as her Caliban — and Emma , but also to more contemporary books about other anti-social characters like The Catcher in the Rye and Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.

The discussions about art are thoughtful and engaging. This novel must have made a huge splash when it appeared in the s, decades before such fiction became a subgenre. Based on this, I’m definitely going to seek out — and perhaps, um, collect — some of his other novels.

View all 33 comments. So much for starting the year with a literary bang. This novel made me feel like a dud firework. I didn’t find it chilling or claustrophobic. Not once was I creeped out. It did however leave me feeling rather sad, after the glum ending. What I could really do without right now. As soon as the narrative went from the perspective of the possessive kidnapper to the diary entries of the young woman held captive, I was starting to lose interest.

Alright, to start off with anyway, I liked reading of h So much for starting the year with a literary bang. Alright, to start off with anyway, I liked reading of her attempts to outwit him and get away, but it just wore off eventually. It may be a case of a decent book that I just happened to read at the wrong time, I don’t know. I could think of only a few scenes between Sarah Woodruff and Charles Smithson in The French Lieutenant’s Woman that did more for me than the whole of this novel did.

I was going for three stars, but considering I really struggled to finish it, it’s more likely somewhere around two I’m afraid. As a first novel the writing was pretty good, and that is about all the positives I can give it.

I felt nothing for Frederick. Didn’t feel pity for him. Of course I felt sorrow for Miranda. Poor girl. So, not a great reading experience at all for me.

I can’t say that I’m that interested in butterflies, but I would rather this had actually been about some nice lovely butterflies, and not feeling locked up. I’ve had enough of that already! View all 20 comments. Thought by some to be the first psychological thriller, this book left me slightly wanting. The Collector is broken into three parts.

The first part is from Clegg’s point of view. Clegg is a man obsessed with a young woman and decides to “collect” her, much as he collects butterflies. The second part is from the woman’s point of view, once she’s been “collected”. This was the part that I found unsatisfying.

There were some observations in this section about class, money and society wh 3. There were some observations in this section about class, money and society which probably were more pertinent in the 60’s, which is when this book was written , than they are now.

I found this portion slowed down the pacing considerably. The third part goes back to Clegg’s point of view. Clegg is where this book lives. The peeks inside his mind, while presented as normal thoughts on his part, are truly chilling to us readers who are sane. I shivered to read some of the things he was thinking. These psychological tics and the detached way in which they were presented were what made this book great. You can see how I’m torn here between being unsatisfied, while at the same time finding some portions of The Collector to be outstanding.

To today’s jaded horror readers? This might not be the book for you. But to fans of stories like Silence of the Lambs, or even Red Dragon, I think this book will appeal, even though some of the themes are a bit outdated.

It’s to them that I recommend The Collector. Shelves: eek-the-creepies , , full-of-wonderful , owned-ebook , unreliable-narrators , recs-mom. He wants me living-but-dead. He makes preparations by buying a house out in the country, purchasing assorted objects and things he knows she will need, convinced that if he can only capture her and keep her that she will slowly grow to love him.

The first part of the novel was told from Frederick’s point of view and it was rather alarming at his thought process.

In his mind, there is nothing morally wrong with what he intends to do and what he actually ends up doing. She writes about G. To Miranda, G. At first I had a hard time determining the relevancy of these recollections, but it essentially just became another disturbing piece of the story to see how influential G.

Always sneering at him, jabbing him, hating him and showing it. But linked destiny. Like being shipwrecked on an island—a raft—together. In every way not wanting to be together.

But together. Suffice it to say, it gave me goosebumps. It was not the ending I had anticipated, but I still felt that the author was successful in creating the everlasting effect I believe he intended.

View all 48 comments. Jun 25, Lisa rated it it was amazing Shelves: books-to-read-before-you-die. And I answered: “It is not about that at all, and it is one of the most suspenseful and scary novels I ever read! One just rarely thinks of the fact that you kill them and pierce them with a needle to be able to look at “Oh”, said a friend, taking this novel off my shelf.

One just rarely thinks of the fact that you kill them and pierce them with a needle to be able to look at their beautiful wings at your leisure instead of chasing after them flying free.

So the cover and title say it all, just not straightforward. I guess this book made me a strong supporter of butterflies’ right to fly View all 9 comments.

May 30, Michael rated it it was amazing Shelves: unreliable-narrator. One of the first dark psychological thrillers–at least in modern times though depending on how you categorize them, James or Poe or even some of the ancient Greeks might usefully be described this way, too.

A tale of obsession and art and butterflies–need I say more? Wonderful for those who take their fiction black. What’s especially interesting here is the sheer banality of Frederick’s evil.

He kidnaps Miranda, then doesn’t really know what to do or how to relate to her as an actual person One of the first dark psychological thrillers–at least in modern times though depending on how you categorize them, James or Poe or even some of the ancient Greeks might usefully be described this way, too.

He kidnaps Miranda, then doesn’t really know what to do or how to relate to her as an actual person instead of as an object. View all 7 comments. Dec 19, Peter rated it really liked it.

That was quite an interesting piece of fiction. A collector of butterflies is obsessed with a girl and finally kidnaps her when he comes to a fortune. She desperately tries to escape her remote prison and the relationsship between those completely different characters is shown in an impressive way. There is a kind of narration by the male character and one of the female character, the victim, in form of a diary.

I won’t spoil the ending but this read was quite captivating. They characters in his That was quite an interesting piece of fiction. They characters in his novel come from different walks of life and the sub-plot is exactly about society and Caliban like characters. Many allusions to art and literature delight the well read reader. I’ve never read any novel like this before.

Clearly recommended! View all 4 comments. Jul 04, J. Other reviewers have said what I would say about The Collector. It’s haunting, disturbing, and impossible to forget once you’ve finished. While not a typical “horror” story, it is one that probably occurs more often in the real world than not, and the person s involved could be a distant relative, a sibling, a son or a daughter.

Allow me to state right now that it’s not an easy read. As someone who derives enjoyment from books of this nature, I was determined to remain objective from the onset.

I wanted Frederick to earn my disdain, just as I wanted Miranda to garner my sympathy and support. Little did I know just how masterfully John Fowles would pen the book. Written in four sections, you are given Frederick’s POV, then Miranda’s via her diary , and finally two final portions of which the last seems like an epilogue.

The format doesn’t seem to be all that special, but in truth, it is what makes The Collector so powerful — your emotions, quite literally, are used against you. Frederick is a gentle — yet, due to his fears and compulsions, dangerous — man. In the beginning, you want to understand his desire to earn Miranda’s “love.

Even more tragic is that as much as you dislike Miranda I’m ashamed to confess this, but almost the entire portion written from Frederik’s POV I didn’t care for her when it’s her turn to speak, you are presented an entirely different picture — of a girl with hopes, dreams, and the realization that the choices that were of such importance in her life — namely her inability to choose to reveal her love for another man, as well as her faith in God — are made all the more heartbreaking in light of the predicament in which she finds herself.

Of course, when you delve into the third and fourth parts, it’s just devastating. It’s disturbing in a multitude of ways, but it’s the ending that drives the final nail in the coffin no pun intended. Suffice it to say, those last few words gave me chills and even now I can’t stop thinking about them.

Feb 22, F rated it it was amazing Shelves: uk , Loved – so creepy! View all 3 comments. A great pal of mine, who shall remain nameless, is a collector. Truly and obsessively one. His house is filled from floor to ceiling with records and CDs and other bric a brac. It’s a very large, sprawling ranch with a half floor up as well as a basement. It should be a spacious and roomy abode, but when you walk in there it’s like squeezing through the Fat Man’s misery section of Mammoth Cave – you have to turn sideways to get through.

He shares this space with a half dozen cats. It’s filthy. R A great pal of mine, who shall remain nameless, is a collector. Reading this, I wondered too if he might have a lady squirreled away in the basement, but dismissed this notion. There is simply no room down there to do any such thing, every inch is piled with stuff. He compares himself to the Collyer brothers see Wikipedia , whose obsession with collecting proved fatal. And so it is in Fowles’ “The Collector,” but how that is so constitutes a spoiler.

There were no spoilers in it for me, as I’d seen the William Wyler film for the first time in the early ’70s on TV, and I think what caught my eye and kept my interest then was lovely Samantha Eggar, as Miranda, a role in which she was well cast. I think she captured the character of the book.

I’ve since seen the movie again and it holds up, though reading the book I think that Terence Stamp may have been too glamorous looking to play the role of “The Collector. Hers approach to the telling of it, which is not the strategy of the film, that simply incorporates both these into a straightforward narrative. So yeah, I’m reading it and the story seems to end halfway through and I begin Miranda’s diary and I begin to think, goddamn, I have to read this story all over again?!

Son of a bitch. But it’s a very clever trope and in many ways Miranda doesn’t make a very good case for herself in her diary account. She’s young and arrogant just the kind of snob that the collector ascertains. None of this justifies what he does to her, of course, and that’s one of the strengths of the book, toying at the readers’ sympathies for both characters. They’re both unlikeable, and yet one feels for both of them.

The collector has a complex repressive psychology – he knows what he wants, but doesn’t. And she is highly impressionable, as her accounts of longing for her insufferable mentor, the Picasso-like womanizing artist, G. The battle of wits here is good, and is well handled in the movie as well. I had hoped that Fowles would not have stated so obviously through Miranda’s voice that the collector was someone who treated her the same way as the butterflies in his collection, in such an aloof way, under glass, suffocating and snuffing out what he supposedly loved.

This is easy enough to glean without the author’s help. And this is the way I feel about my friend, the record collector – he has tens of thousands of LPs, but cannot play them, won’t listen to them.

How can one ever choose from such a collection? Merely the having of them sates him, for the moment, for he is never sated. What does he want out of it? He doesn’t know. He has the object, but can’t ever fully appreciate the true essence of what’s inside it – the music. And so it is with the collector, whose idealized view of Miranda trumps the reality of who she is.

So, yes, this is a great story, well and cleverly told in plain language, often with thoughtful insights. And yet, somehow, I never felt like I was in the presence of great literature – even though I felt I was in the presence of a writer capable of it. Perhaps the dispassionate tone of the collector’s account made me feel this and yet Graham Greene is largely dispassionate and I feel great passion in his work. Fowles’ partisans suggest that “The Magus” is his great contribution to literature, so someday hopefully I can check that out.

Anyway I’m still absorbing what I’ve read, so all the aspects of the book I’d like to comment on will likely be unstated. I tend to move on.. View all 6 comments. Oh boy what did I just read?! This was most definitely a strange sinister and creepy story. Beyond the obvious depraved strangeness of the whole scenario he had no backbone! Nothing going for him. Strange strange. Obsession, power and a beautiful captured butterfly in the form of Miranda and you get a wicked little story with plenty of arty metaphors to chew on.

I almost loved this book but not every second of it. The story flagged for me once the perspective shifted to Miranda. When a book is being lauded as some kind of bible for a number of murderers and serial killers, then of course it will attract my attention.

The Collector follows a butterfly collector who diverts his obsession with collecting onto a beautiful stranger, an art student named Miranda. I was so sure The Collector would become a new favourite, the premise is deliciously dark and disturbing, a man obsessed with a woman, intent on kidnapping her and making her fall in love with him.

I felt like I just wanted it to go further The first half is fantastic, as we are inside the mind of the collector, Frederick. But the ending is pretty strong, so you do finish on a high note! All in all, really glad I read it. Incredibly well-written and crazy addictive for the most part. This was a little weird and slightly uncomfortable but throughly entertaining and memorable.

Oct 03, J. I thought this was just a brilliant novel by John Fowles. Very unsettling, and very chilling, with enough plot twists to keep you guessing. Highly recommended.

Jul 24, Richard Derus rated it really liked it. Real Rating: 3. It was a dark and stormy day in Austin, Texas, in This book deeply unsettled me, left me trying to comprehend what the heck I was experiencing.

What a great way to get a something passionate reader to buy all your books! Now, reading them This was the oldest book of hi Real Rating: 3. This was the oldest book of his I could find after reading A Maggot , which also blew me away. But these words, this exceedingly dark book, this awful nightmare of an experience from Miranda’s PoV anyway was just so very very unsettling I couldn’t go deeper into this strange and disturbing psyche.

I might not sleep, and that’s a lot more serious a problem than it was in my 20s. Have fun, y’all. Feminists: Avoid. It’s hard to believe that after so many novels and films about sociopathic kidnappers, I would still be shocked by a book written in the early 60s. The Collector is a traumatizing novel about a guy who kidnaps a young woman, although Clegg is not your typical kidnapper and Miranda is by no means your typical kidnapee. What really makes it exceptional is the uniqueness of the two characters and how this shows through the alternating narratives.

It soon becomes clear that neither of them is totall It’s hard to believe that after so many novels and films about sociopathic kidnappers, I would still be shocked by a book written in the early 60s. It soon becomes clear that neither of them is totally reliable and what truly matters is what each decides not to tell as well as how they do or don’t tell it. Once more, Fowles builds his characters in perfection. The way they both struggle to gain power over each other is thrilling and the reader is in a constant effort to understand the motives behind their deeds.

There is also a powerful symbolism here, as Frederick and Miranda represent two opposite forces that were both blooming in England at the time. Old vs new, modern vs archaic, art vs lack of it, imprisonment vs freedom, and ultimately, as Miranda puts it, The New People vs The Few.

Miranda is the power of life and art is the ever-blooming means through which it is expressed. Nothing is served in a plate in The Collector , which makes it truly rewarding in the end. Although, by then, you will probably be too numb to actually feel anything except a growing sort of uneasiness. It’s heartbreaking in the least cheesy way imaginable. The idea, the execution, Fowles’ extraordinary portrayal of the characters’ psychologies, its darkness and all those feelings it gave me are worth nothing less than all the stars I can give.

Jun 24, CC rated it it was amazing Shelves: classics , darkish-to-depths-of-hell , damaged , thriller-suspense-mystery , bbs-challenge. Frederick Clegg is a simple man who led a lonely life.

Working as a town clerk, Frederick tries to make friends, but his oddities prevent any real connections. Her life seems to be bright and full of potential until she encounters Frederick. Waking bound and gagged in a cellar, her life drastically changes. To her credit, Miranda is determined to take steps necessary to survive. Not his. Not selfishness and brutality and shame and resentment. However, his need to keep Miranda overrides any sense of morals as he provides everything she wants given she remains his possession.

At first, she seems snobbish and demanding, and in some ways she is, but she is resolute about doing what she must to ultimately escape. Reading about her coping mechanisms is compelling, along with her ideas of beauty, love, violence and art which make broader statements about the state of society at that time yet still relevant today. The way Frederick treats Miranda is perverse in certain ways, being a butterfly collector by hobby, she becomes his prized aberrational specimen. Though he believes he wants unconditional acceptance, it becomes clear what Frederick wants.

Ultimately, the truth about Frederick is revealed leaving a lasting impression. In this novel, the dynamic between captor and captive is deeply complex. The dichotomy between creating worlds to justify reality was also fascinating and the author used these elements with exacting precision. And, the character references to The Tempest are skillfully apt. The Collector is a book that resonates long after reading the last word.


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All she could think about was him. He attended to her every need, and anticipated her wishes as if he could read her mind.

It was enchanting. A month after their first meeting he asked her to marry him; it had seemed inevitable. She had allowed him to enter her life, embraced him, without question. And he had somehow understood her receptiveness, picked up on it by silent instinct. His need of her and her response had been a perfect match. However, she sensed an inherent danger in this equivalence, in the hidden closeness of their intimacy and understanding.

That what lay underneath was real, but the equally attractive surface was an illusion like a mirage of water on desert sand. Open navigation menu. Close suggestions Search Search. User Settings. Skip carousel. Carousel Previous. Carousel Next. What is Scribd? Explore Ebooks. Bestsellers Editors’ Picks All Ebooks. Explore Audiobooks. Bestsellers Editors’ Picks All audiobooks. Explore Magazines. Editors’ Picks All magazines. Explore Podcasts All podcasts.

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Ebook pages 3 hours. Start your free days. Read preview. About this ebook In Edwardian England, Violet has a fairy tale existence: loving husband, beautiful baby son and luxurious home. Language English. Publisher Salt. Release date Jan 31, ISBN Read more. Read more from Alice Thompson. The Art of the Novel. Save The Art of the Novel for later. Pharos: A Ghost Story. Save Pharos: A Ghost Story for later. Better than Beauty: A Guide to Charm. The Existential Detective.

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Read more Read less. Customer reviews. How customer reviews and ratings work Customer Reviews, including Product Star Ratings, help customers to learn more about the product and decide whether it is the right product for them. Learn more how customers reviews work on Amazon.

Top reviews Most recent Top reviews. Top reviews from United Kingdom. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Verified Purchase. Bought for 8 year old daughter who hasn’t been much of a reader My daughter finished this book in a matter of days, I bought the next one, she has almost finished that too.

In the space of two weeks she has went from non reader to avid reader and has asked for all of this authors books! Always a fan of Halloween and spooky treats, I think we have found her genre! On the back of this author thank you K R Alexander! I might not sleep, and that’s a lot more serious a problem than it was in my 20s.

Have fun, y’all. Feminists: Avoid. Dec 22, P. An adept stalker is keeping you up to date with his observations. An amateur lepidopterist, he is now on the hunt for a completely different species. And make no mistake, he is acutely methodical about putting down the evolution of his fixation. Let us call him Fred. Fred’s father, a travelling salesman, died on the road when he was 2.

His mother went off shortly after her husband died, leaving Fred to his uncle and aunt. In turn, Uncle Dick died when F. From now on, he is taken care o An adept stalker is keeping you up to date with his observations.

From now on, he is taken care of by Aunt Annie. A remarkable example of helicopter parenting, of the prig sort, and lives with his resentful disabled cousin. Apt combination for a decent, lasting guilt trip. Later on, Fred comes to work some time as a clerk in the Town Hall Annexe. Fred wins out a formidable sum of money in the football pools.

Then, Fred quits his job and is able to indulge in any of his whims and fantasies. He decides to buy a country house, one hour from London. Then in turn to adbuct Miranda and keep her captive in the cellar until Miranda grows fond of Fred. The book is divided in 4 parts, mostly 2 sections : the narrative from Fred on the one hand, Miranda’s diary on the other hand.

Fred I found compelling the way John Fowles designed Fred’s personality. A general, cursory portrayal could be : grandiose but outwardly polite, mildly quaint, meek, subdued even. For starters, he is a nostalgic, or better, he seems to be stuck, in the past or somewhere else. Also, from the beginning he is intending to keep past events under constant check.

Fred holds very clear-cut, sharp opinions on people, some of whom you should dispose of. A natural-born voyeur, he likes photography and enjoys some occasional smut, that is, when it is unnoticed by Aunt Annie. Clinical, judgmental, Fred thinks lowly of everyone ; he looks down on lots of fellow humans and coworkers which, by the way, he does not consider he belongs to.

Yet, these are not the most alarming traits and behaviour Fred harbours, miles from it. They have yet to surface. Self-deceiving, looking for reasons, pretending and telling himself stories, rationalizing and never doubting he can tell the right from the wrong.

You can’t figure out Fred, he hardly can himself. Dismissive, Fred is not taking responsibility for any of his acts, and his narrative feels off from the beginning, as though he was describing another man’s life.

In his own words : ‘As they say ; I was only like it that night ; I am not the sort. Finally, the way Fred winds up overtly self-centered even more as you could think of a adbuctor is sheerly unnerving and hateful. His very idiosyncratic use of the English language all along is only reinforcing this increasing hostility you feel in the guts towards the lowly bastard. Finally, along with his particular upbringing, a belief in sheer luck and blind patterns is lying at the core of his worldview and conveniently makes him what he is.

There’s nothing. Miranda The Collector proves also to be a story of power dynamics between captor and captive, when Miranda thinks up many tricks and ways to establish a sort of foothold on his captor.

Actually, for the most part, she seems to be the one setting the pace! Soon enough, a nasty little game ensues, with nasty little rules, provisos, promises from both parts. A nasty piece of make-belief from both. I found Miranda’s standpoint to be a convincing rendering of the wariness, the uncertainty, the strain of time, the frustration, the impatience to live, also the fascination that are likely to be part of such a ghastly predicament.

She has some fancy, irritating sentences closing entries in her diary. And also considers her fate at some point as martyrdom for the cause, for the artists, for the Few. For all her principles and eduction, she still has difficulties trying not to treat people as part of a class, or compare them as if sheer abstract types.

At some point, she also misses Fred when he doesn’t come, out of deprivation of human contact. All of the above make her a particularly convincing character. As someone who writes a diary to keep track of events and personal states, if there had been any disbelief lingering around, I have been specially willing to suspend it!

Two renditions Indeed you can see you are bound to have two conflicting accounts on the gruesome events. It becomes keenly startling when you set to compare them with one another. First off, Miranda freely admits she embellishes things she have said or done. She is openly putting an act to herself in her diary, sometimes, somewhat. Only, in her case, it is avowed, contradictory, changing, she questions her shortcomings, some questionable decisions she made in the past.

Whether she can live up to her principles and survive. Also, she drawing comparisons with characters from The Tempest by Shakespeare, from Emma, from other novels by Jane Austen Somehow trying to keep alive her capacity for wonder?

Her memories involve G. Opiniated, judgmental, outspoken, brazen, he seemed to me a manipulative, authoritarian old man. At the same time, Miranda expresses ideas about what an art should be. She is also expressing jealousy towards him for having a complicated sexual life So there is jealousy, and also a kind of guilt-trip involved here. Isn’t G. However, for all he is, G.

He teaches her something about the deep nature of love and human relationships. It may amount to a consistent explanation as to why Mirand tries to have her way in nearly every way possible with Fred: coercition, persuasion, violence, sympathy, lameducking that is, exerting herself to be kind with him.

It does explain some of her contradictory thoughts about her using disloyal methods and violence towards the madman. And why I found the whole attrition and the way it ends particularly horrid In the end, I hold this book as both an absorbing novel about alienation and a fairly impressive story about story-telling.

View all 13 comments. I bought this book at some point, I don’t remember buying it. It kept falling off of the pile of mass-market books I have precariously piled up in front of some other books on one of my bookshelves. After maybe the hundredth time picking this book up and putting it back on the top of that pile I thought, maybe I should just read it instead of just picking it up ever couple of weeks.

The particular edition I read was the third Dell printing, from May I don’t know if the book had the same co I bought this book at some point, I don’t remember buying it. I don’t know if the book had the same cover on earlier Dell editions. Goodreads says this edition is from I think. By this particular type of cover had gone a bit out of style. It looks lurid. A bound woman has her arms around a man on top of her. There is a feeling of lust about to be satiated. Explosive Chilling, shocking Evil You’ll be shocked It will be difficult to find this book shocking today.

The most shocking thing was maybe how many little details Thomas Harris might have taken from the book to make up Silence of the Lambs. In the years since this book has come out it’s hard to find the story of a stand-offish type who kidnaps a girl and keeps her in his cellar, showers her with gifts and gives her everything she wants except for her freedom as all that evil. Somewhat evil. Like an Eichmann in the pantheon of guys who do fucked up things to other people. A banal version of a Ted Bundy or a Jeffrey Dahmer.

You can’t blame the book though that we’ve become a whole lot more fucked up as a society since the words in this book were penned. Even when the blurbs that decorate this book were written Charlie Manson hadn’t yet heard Paul McCarthy screech about riding on a slide. Ted, Just Admit it. I can’t adequately put myself in the position of a reader in the early s to see this as particularly sinister or shocking.

As an expose of evil, or a thriller or whatever you would want to call this type of book I think it fails. The villain, a mild-mannered loser of sorts who doesn’t fit in anywhere wins the lottery. With his new found wealth he buys a house in Thomas Hardy’s neck of the woods and fortifies the house as a prison for the object of his affections; a young art student who he has developed a fascination with.

So he kidnaps her and keeps her prisoner. He wants nothing from her except that she be his. No sex or even really her love, just her presence. In his basement. In the room hidden behind some fake shelving. The first half of the book is his story. The second half the diary she keeps while his prisoner.

The big problem I have with the book is that he never comes alive, and I think this is sort of the point of the book. He’s a dead character, he’s the Petite bourgeoisie , the lifeless masses of restrained ‘good taste’. The collectors of things who never really live. His whole character is a thing rather than a person.

It made what he does seem fucked up, but not evil. He’s so devoid of any kind of passion or deviancy that he’s more just a pathetic loser that comes across as having possibly eaten a few too many chips of lead paint as a child.

I felt the main section of this book is Miranda’s diary. The device of getting to see the situation from her point of view could have been used quite well to counteract the way that the first person narration of her capture and imprisonment had been shown. If this had been done, it would have been a different book entirely, and it’s not really fair to whine that a book doesn’t do what you want, so I’m hoping it doesn’t sound like I’m doing that. It could have been an interesting way to juxtapose the narrative, that’s all I’m saying.

Instead her diary turns into mostly an account of her friendship with an older artist who she was both fascinated and repelled by for his unconventional views on art and life.

These two figures in her life, her mentor of sorts and her jailer are pitted against one another in the way the world works. Two extremes, the one the unconventional artistic view and the other the so overly restrained ‘normal’ world that has kept itself wrapped up so tight in it’s own neuroses that it results in her captor. Instead of what the ‘s marketing team of Dell made up the book to be, it’s really just another novel about a young person wanting to break free from the confines of polite society.

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