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The Collector

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  31,979 Ratings  ·  1,953 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Withdrawn, uneducated and unloved, Frederick collects butterflies and takes photographs.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
Hardcover, 305 pages
Published June 1963 by Little Brown & Company (first published 1963)
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Alberta Tesla Hi, Sam!
PG-13 means that if you over 13 you can read it. Yes, you can. There is no adult-rated material (so far that I remember). BUT it is disturbing…more
Hi, Sam!
PG-13 means that if you over 13 you can read it. Yes, you can. There is no adult-rated material (so far that I remember). BUT it is disturbing like Stefania wrote. I read it when I was 17. I was okay after it, but it did make me think a lot. Also, I am not collecting anything after that. I think it made me more independent of "stuff", like things you like and cannot let go. Mind-boggling, thought-provoking, mentally uneasy. I think a 13-14 year old might have very dark thoughts after it and just not finish it. You know, you have to be of a certain age in order to appreciate a book.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Petar X
May 05, 2015 Petar X rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
smetchie
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
...more
Bonnie
’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 continues admiring her from a distance a plan slowly
...more
Brenna
Apr 08, 2010 Brenna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
J.A. Saare
Jul 05, 2010 J.A. Saare rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
...more
Evan
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
MacK
Sep 23, 2007 MacK rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, brit-lit
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
...more
Greg
Jan 24, 2014 Greg rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
...more
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Oct 16, 2009 Paquita Maria Sanchez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
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.
...more
Charlene
3.5 stars!

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 portion about class, money and society wh
...more
Nandakishore Varma
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Krisz
Feb 03, 2013 Krisz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: loved-it
description

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..
description
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
...more
Tara
Jun 27, 2016 Tara rated it it was amazing  ·  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
...more
Nahed.E
Jul 22, 2015 Nahed.E rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: أمريكي

حقا كانت قصة في منتهي الغرابة ، ولا أعلم لماذا اخترت أن أقرأها الأن ، فحقاً لم أكن في حاجة لمثل هذا السرد الحزين ، والنهاية المؤلمة ، ولكني قرأتها واستمريت في قرائتها ، لأعرف النهاية رغم التنويه عنها في بداية الرواية .. !

تحكي الرواية عن شاب غريب الأطوار يهوي جمع الفراشات ، يقع في حب فتاة لا يعلم عنها إلا القليل ، ثم يقرر أن يخطفها ، ليعيش معها ، املا في أن تحبه يوماً ما حين تكتشف شخصيته يوماً بعد يوم !

إلا أن الأمور تسير علي نحو مختلف تماما .. فهو مريض نفسي إلي أبعد حد .. ولا تدري أثناء القراءة ه
...more
Fahad
Apr 08, 2015 Fahad rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
...more
L.S.
Feb 16, 2009 L.S. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
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
Chris
Apr 05, 2014 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Carol
This is one weird psychological crime novel. It is told from two perspectives....one 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
Alex
The Collector is about a guy who kidnaps a young lady and keeps her imprisoned in his basement. The two main characters are well-drawn. The woman, Miranda, is intelligent and resourceful. She thinks clearly and unsentimentally about her predicament and she never gives up. She's a little bit awful and pretentious, and I'm not sure whether Fowles intends me to think that. (Probably.) The man - Frederick Clegg, whom she calls Caliban - is pathetic, more dangerous than he knows.

The book, the first
...more
Jim
Feb 03, 2012 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jim by: Bonnie
Shelves: classics, horror
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
...more
Ziba
Nov 07, 2015 Ziba rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet meets Stephen King's Misery - albeit twisted, messed up versions of those. It started off really well, midsection was unnecessary and then went right back to the greatness of the beginning and introduction of the story. Once a collector, always a collector..
Fatema Hassan , bahrain
جامع الفراشات
بقلم الروائي الإنجليزي / جون فاولز

الرواية مبنية على مسرحية العاصفة لشكسبير، شخصية ميراندا ابنة دوق ميلانو تواجه وتقمع شخصية المسخ الدميم كاليبان في كل فردينان ستقابله يومًا .. كما دائمًا
( الشخص الحقيقي الموجود في العالم هو كاليبان
لا يمكن فهم ذلك، لكنه موجود فقط ! )
لا زال الأدب الحديث الإنجليزي ملتصقًا بساق عرش شكسبير المسرحي حتى وهو يحاول صنع امتدادات عنه.

اليقظة التي تمنحك أياها رواية ما فضيلة لتتجنب أن يذبل داخلك إن لم يلتقطها من الحياة ببديهة عالية وبأي شكل كان ،و الروائي شخص يك
...more
Lobstergirl
Oct 27, 2014 Lobstergirl rated it it was ok
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
...more
Hannah
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
...more
Sookie
Dec 08, 2015 Sookie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I work as a freelance programmer and this choice of work lifestyle has made me bound to my home for most part of the day. As I work from home, most of my interactions are limited to wire and online. I go days without human contact which has its own effects. I make conscious effort to interact with outside world by having a life outside - yoga, library, volunteering tutoring and so forth. It has always come as a surprise to me when I hear or read about people who have consciously constructed a wo ...more
Jean Menzies
Oct 20, 2015 Jean Menzies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars
Teresa
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
...more
Maciek
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
...more
Texbritreader
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
...more
Michael
Apr 02, 2015 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
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.” 187 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.” 145 likes
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