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The Collector

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  25,492 ratings  ·  1,527 reviews
Withdrawn, uneducated and unloved, Frederick collects butterflies and takes photographs. He is obsessed with a beautiful stranger, the art student Miranda. When he wins the pools he buys a remote Sussex house and calmly abducts Miranda, believing she will grow to love him in time. Alone and desperate, Miranda must struggle to overcome her own prejudices and contempt if she ...more
Kindle Edition, 322 pages
Published 2010 by Vintage Digital (first published 1963)
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I read this when I was very young. Young enough that anything with a sexual connotation was interesting to me. Even really perverse deviations like this.

A collector of butterflies 'collects' a girl and holds her prisoner. His deviation is far deeper than merely sex. But of course, sex is implied all the time.

There are two sorts of kept women, those gold-diggers who actively sought it, and those trophy wives who had never planned for it and had been actively courted. This is a trophy wife by for
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...if someone kidnapped me. 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
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’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. He wants me living-but-dead.’

The Collector is the story of Frederick Clegg, an extremely odd and lonely man who also collects butterflies. He’s obsessed with a middle-class art student named Miranda Grey and as he cont
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 ...more
J.A. Saare
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.
Other things were supposed to be read first. But I'm finding I'm powerless in the grip of John Fowles.

I don't like scary stories, yet I keep reading.

I don't much like novels wherein almost all the characters are reprehensible, yet I keep reading.

I don't much like admiting that my boss is right about most things, yet I agree with him more and more each book.

What's most remarkable about The Collector is that for half the book I was totally unimpressed. The plot was engaging but the narrative sty
Paquita Maria Sanchez
This is a tale of a man who kidnaps a girl by conning her into the back of his van. Then he keeps her in his basement. Oh, and he collects butterflies. And he's completely insane. Sound familiar?

Why did everyone forget to mention this terrifying 1963 novel when they were praising Thomas Harris up and down? This time, though, you get the story from the Buffalo Bill-esque character's eyes AND from the Cathryn Martin-victim-boohoo perspective. Only the dude's not a tranny. Nor does he aspire to be.
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 1965. I don't know if the book had the same co
Rather than go into the plot details I'd rather touch on the larger metaphors of the book in this review. Although the basic plot is chilling enough on its own (A man kidnaps a beautiful and intelligent young girl) the parts that truly disturbed me had to do more with what I believe Fowles was saying about modern culture and the rise of the middle class. Though this book is decidedly "British" in many ways, I think the issues he raises are applicable to any society where a large middle class is ...more
I found this book very hard to put down. If I did not have to go to work I would have read it in 1 day, 2 at the most. It is a thriller. It is pathological. It is human. I am listening to synesthesia by porcupine tree. At first sight I did not like the ending, I was expecting something more. But I realized that this is not a romance or a love story, this is life. It is a perfect ending, it is like the end of a Hollywood movie in which the psychopath is out there and ready to find another victim. ...more
Jan 15, 2008 Tara rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone with a brain!
This book first came to my attention randomly when I worked in a used book store, and it became one of those rare books I'll never let go of. It's the story of a rather dull, self-righteous, tedious British clerk whose only joys in life are collecting butterflies and keeping a close eye on a lovely art student he follows, yet has never met. When he wins the British equivalent of the lottery, he decides that he will add the girl (Miranda) to his collection.

The book is divided into three parts, b

An unforgetting read :)
It's kind of impossible to explain the sensations you experience while reading this novel, because it's that kind of story that feels so wrong, and yet you can't stop reading it, be obsessed about it, love it, hate it, hunt every word with frenzy so you can find out what happens next..
I had one of the most complicated relations with Frederick.. a hate-love-hate kind of situation. I know, you will say "What can one possibly like at this character?". He is a psiho, a crazy
A tough book to rate: it's an easy four-star except for the (very long) section two, in which a daring POV switch from collector to prisoner becomes demoralizing once you flip ahead and realize that section re-narrates the entirety of the book up to that point. This is a rather big mistake (see quote below), yet it begins so well that I was actually willing to read 150+ pages thinking "this is a mistake, this is all a mistake" to get to the last ten pages back with the original narrator. And the ...more
Oh sheesh, I don't normally *do* disturbing. I prefer comfort books (preferably with twee old English cottages, so.....HEY, will you look at that, this book HAS an old English cottage - kewl...). Maybe that was the appeal. (Then again, probably not, as this is one old cottage I'd never want to go near).

Anyway, this book was seriously disturbing and creepy and kept me reading for 4 straight hours. I would have rated it 4 stars alone for parts 1 and 3, which were told from the perspective of Fre
Ferdinand é um homem simples e solitário que coleciona borboletas. À distância, observa Miranda - uma jovem bonita, inteligente e estudante de arte - . Quando, num golpe de sorte, se torna rico rapta Miranda e aprisiona-a numa cave. Faz tudo o que ela quer, sem a forçar a nada. Dá-lhe tudo o que ela pede, excepto a liberdade.

A narrativa está estruturada em três partes:
Na primeira, tendo como narrador Ferdinand, conhecemos a sua história, as motivações que o levaram ao desejo de raptar a estudan
Oct 27, 2014 Lobstergirl rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tiffany Trump
Shelves: fiction

If I were a real book critic I would give this 4-5 stars for making me feel horrible, claustrophobic, and enraged. Sadly, I'm an ordinary person and it's sometimes hard for me to separate my enjoyment or lack thereof, my feelings about the plot and characters, from an author's literary skill.

Coincidentally I've been reading a number of books about slavery, so this novel about the consequences of taking away a person's freedom was timely. But as outraged as I felt about what was being done to Mir
جامع الفراشات

أول قراءة للروائي البريطاني جون فاولز، وقد أفسدتها للأسف الترجمة المرعبة لعبدالحميد الجمال، وطباعة طوى التي تعج بالأخطاء، هذا كتاب لم يخضع للحظة مراجعة، تم نقله كما هو، لهذا كان مستوى الأخطاء الطباعية فيه مخجل، لا يليق إلا بصحيفة من ستينات القرن الماضي.

على أي حال بعيداً عن الترجمة والطباعة المثيرة للغيظ، تتناول الرواية موضوعاً مهماً، ألا وهو شخصية المختطِف، لأول مرة اقرأ رواية تحاول التغلغل في نفسية المختطِف والمختطَف، ففي كل مرة يتم فيها استنقاذ ضحية من سجن تحت الأرض قضت فيه سنوا
Published in 1963 and made into a feature length film two year later, John Fowles's debut novel is a disconcerting read about obsession. Frederick Clegg is a lonely and uneducated man who works in a low level job and enjoys collecting butterflies. His one true love is a young art student named Miranda Grey and after coming into a lot of money comes to a horrendous plan to be with her. After buying a house in the country, Frederick after much preparation, kidnaps Miranda and keeps her locked up i ...more
Before Virginia Andrews locked the Dollanganger children in the attic and Thomas Harris unleashed world's most famous cannibal, John Fowles wrote The Collector. This short, little book is hailed as world's first psychological thriller.
Frederick Clegg is a collector. He collects butterflies. He also can't stop thinking about Miranda Grey, the art student with whom he has no contact apart from admiring her at a distance. His social skills are practically nonexistant. One day Frederick wins a lot o
Feb 03, 2012 Jim rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jim by: Bonnie
Shelves: horror, classics
My skin is still crawling when I think about this book, days after finishing it. Extremely well written, creepy, and mesmerizing - this was my first experience of reading a John Fowles book, and I will definitely read more of them.

I got onto this one after reading the excellent review by Bonnie, which I strongly recommend. She said it much better than I could.

Fowles makes very skillful use of first-person points of view here, alternating between the two main characters from one section of the b
I suppose it would be possible to read this powerful and uncompromising novel as a straight thriller, but to do so would be to miss much. Fowles' first published novel is masterfully written, with an uncanny insight into its monstrous protagonist.

The tale of the socially inept, emotionally retarded and morally bankrupt, Frederick Clegg, and his obsession with the young art student, Miranda Grey, is profoundly disturbing. Clegg is an amateur lepidopterist and an unimportant cog in the wheel at h
This is one weird psychological crime novel. It is told from two from kidnapper Freddie, a lonely unappealing bank clerk and butterfly collector (poor dead butterflies) and the other from his captive Miranda, a beautiful young art student. When F wins a sizable gambling pool, he purchases an isolated old house, prepares a room in the cellar for M, and plans his attack.......he can now have the woman he has watched and worshiped for years (but does not know) and make her love ...more
Printable Tire
Feb 04, 2009 Printable Tire rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: weirdoes
One of my favorite books. Words cannot describe the endless ugliness I felt after finishing the last page in a dining hall in college. At the time I felt very much like the titular Collector, and it sickened me. I find this to be a very complex book, more than it is probably credited to being. Having (more or less) recently read The Woman in the Dunes, I find them similar in many ways, and if I was wasting away my life now in college I would probably write a report comparing the two.

One thing th
Easy to read, from the perspective of an uneducated butterfly collector who is rich from winning the football pools and the diary entries of the beautiful 20-year-old Slade art school student that he kidnaps, and quite riveting, at first this story managed to creep me out and scare me. Like Miranda, his victim, I loathed the 'collector' of the title, alternating with some pity. He was so unattractive, empty, and neurotic about sex. He was probably a psychopath since he had feelings of his own bu ...more
So this was the first emergence of John Fowles. Some of his stylistic trademarks are present-- namely multiple perspectives, strong references to the world of visual art, and oftentimes devastating analysis on life in modern England.

But besides being a critical early work by a major writer, it's also an extremely entertaining tale. Let's call this a wholesome antidote to the Fifty Shades of Grey bullshittery-- entirely power-driven relationships tend not to be led by handsome executives, but rat
Gloria Mundi
After I finished this book I kind of just sat there for a while. Stunned and reeling. To say that this book is disturbing would be an understatement. It is disturbing in a very obvious big way because of the subject matter but also in a very subtle and understated way because there is very little actual violence or gore on the pages.

A repressed, lonely, unstable young man, Frederick Clegg wins the lottery. Clegg has been fascinated and secretly "in love" with Miranda, a beautiful art student fo
Lisa B
Mar 20, 2011 Lisa B rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Lisa by: Tonya Holroyd
Shelves: fiction
Painful, painful, painful read. It was all I could do to finish it. And, well, actually, I didn't. I had to skip the last 40 pages of Miranda's section. I had such high hopes for this book, too. The premise (half the book is told from the point of view of the kidnapper and the other have from the perspective of his victim) was so incredibly intriguing to me. When it comes down to it, I just didn't believe the characters. They were totally false to me. I kept thinking, "there is no way these char ...more
I was planning on giving this book a solid four but as things progressed I found myself sick to my stomach with nervous apprehension so I needed to upgrade the rating to a five. It’s not too often that a book will move me to the point of a physical reaction but that is exactly what happened here. According to the blurb on the website, this book was one of (if not THE) first psychological thrillers and it certainly deserves it’s place in the hall of fame. I think any fan of “Silence of the Lambs” ...more
Was lent this book by a friend and oh how glad I am that she did. The title and cover my be seemingly safe and normal the story itself is not, it is chilling, a real gets-beneath-your-skin-and-grows story. It starts with the awkward and socially inadequate Fredrick Clegg as he wins a fortune and begins to dream what he could do with it. He starts with expanding his butterfly collection, then moves on to photography (at first just butterflies but later couples enjoying an intimate moment or two), ...more
This book is really hard for me to review. The writing is excellent, and there are many gems of wisdom and fantastic character development. My problem is, I guess I just don't like them. Of course you're not supposed to like the collector, and the story is very tied to understanding his motivation, and it's interesting, but also so tiresome. I began dreading coming back to this book, not because I wasn't interested, but it's just so hopeless and desolate. It's pretty obvious there will be no hap ...more
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John Robert Fowles was born in Leigh-on-Sea, a small town located about 40 miles from London in the county of Essex, England. He recalls the English suburban culture of the 1930s as oppressively conformist and his family life as intensely conventional. Of his childhood, Fowles says "I have tried to escape ever since."

Fowles attended Bedford School, a large boarding school designed to prepare boys
More about John Fowles...
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“I love making, I love doing. I love being to the full, I love everything which is not sitting and watching and copying and dead at heart.” 141 likes
“I think we are just insects, we live a bit and then die and that’s the lot. There’s no mercy in things. There’s not even a Great Beyond. There’s nothing.” 115 likes
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