s.helmke's Reviews > The Collector

The Collector by John Fowles
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Sep 09, 07

Recommended for: psychological thriller fans
Read in June, 2007

This was Fowle's first novel and is considered the first modern psychological thriller. A butterfly collector, "collects" his prize speciman, a beautiful art student. It's in two parts--the first is from the abductor's perspective; the second part is her journal kept secretly during her captivity. The book is truly chilling, in a Hitchcockian way. I read it as part of a seminar on the price of freedon and was surprised to discover that both parties lose and gain freedom during their time together. Their interaction is not as one sided as you might think; they both use and mainipulate each other; and if you really examine the characters you may find it harder to feel sorry for the victim than you're comfortable with. Issues of class discrimination and cultural elitism permeate their relationship and may even be partially responsible for the abductor's mental fixation with his victim. This novel is a look inside the criminal mind--and the victim's response. It's not a thrill ride, it's more something that seeps into your skin and haunts you in subtle ways.
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