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Preview — The Collector by John Fowles. The Collector by John Fowles. Withdrawn, uneducated and unloved, Frederick collects butterflies and takes photographs.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.
PaperbackVintage Classicspages. Published October 21st by Vintage first published Frederick CleggMiranda Grey. To kohn what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Collectorplease sign up. How is this book featured in the “most disturbing book ever written” AND “best books of the 20th century”?
Also, is it PG stuff or would it be inappropriate for a high-school age person?
Stefania Lazar Because having disturbing content and being a good book are not mutually exclusive. I wouldn’t go as far as calling it one of the best books of the …more Because having disturbing content and being a good book are not mutually exclusive. I wouldn’t go as far as calling it one of the best books of the 20th century, but it was very well-written. The psychological abuse, the description of both the villain’s and the victim’s attitudes vs.
I’m not sure what PG means. The psychological abuse depicted here is pretty strong and the ending is veeery creepy. I think it would be too shocking for a 13 year-old kid. Hell, it shocked me a lot, and I’ve seen many seasons of Criminal Minds: Then again, it always depends on the kid. See all 4 questions about The Collector…. Lists with This Book. Apr 06, Brenna rated it really liked it. 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 Rather than go into the plot details I’d rather touch on the larger metaphors of the book in this review.
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 created in a relatively short amount of time.
For me, this book is asking whether financial stability really leads to morality and more fulfilling lives as in Major Barbara or if perhaps we actually lose our souls once our bellies are fed.
As some have mentioned in other reviews, Miranda is the stereotypical posh young artist. Born rich, it’s easy for her to dismiss the complaints of the lower classes while at the same time hurling scorn at the society that produced her. I’ve met many people like Miranda especially during my Masters at Columbia School of the Arts where trust fund babies were the norm, I went to school with a Pulitzer heiress for goodness sake and usually found them boring and shallow, quick to namedrop an artist or recite tired rhetoric.
But as her story progressed I began to like her more and more; Miranda is extremely self-aware, and I sensed that given time, she would grow out of her naivety and become a truly amazing woman. She is only 20 after all, barely an adult, and for all her idealistic pretension she is trying to evolve and grow something that’s can’t be said for many of my Columbia peers.
That’s where the butterfly metaphor becomes even more apt; it’s not just that she’s a butterfly that Frederick has collected, it’s what a butterfly represents: It’s almost as if Frederick has trapped her right when she was about to break out of her cocoon, halting her true beauty right before she was about to spread her wings. Which brings me to Colectoinarul as a stand-in for middle-class mediocrity.
Reading this book, I was often reminded of the idea that the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference. Frederick is indifferent to everything: The only thing he seems to respond to is a fleeting type of beauty, and all he wants to do with that beauty is possess it. Not love it, not understand it, just possess it. Similarly, the rise of the middle class in America and the UK should have been a renaissance of ideas once our bellies were fed.
In many ways it was the civil rights and feminist movements come colectionaruk mindbut in others, like the rise of reality television, celebrity culture and punditry news, our success has just made us comfortable and indifferent to human suffering. We go on collecting pop music, techno gadgets, houses, cars, spouses, designer clothes, with no question or investigation as to why.
With the internet we have the opportunity to learn about anything and everything, for the first time in history the entire history of the world is available at our fingertips. Why then does misinformation and stupidity seem to be on the rise rather then the reverse?
Why then are we becoming less literate rather than more? I agree with Miranda when she says art collectors are the worst offenders.
The idea that art is merely an investment just like ofwles idea that a house is merely an investment rather than a home you share your life in is abhorrent to me. I could never stand colectjonarul look at an ugly painting in my home just because it was worth money, nor could I ever live with myself if I hoarded Picassos or Bacons or Kirchners purely colectionaruk my own benefit.
Because the true lover of beauty and not all beauty is beautiful as Bacon proves wants to share that beauty with the world. They want everyone to see, hear, taste, feel, and enjoy that beauty so that others lives may be enriched as well.
They want everyone to feel as passionately as they do about what they love, but more importantly they just want others to feel. View all 14 comments. Fredrick is a clerk and butterfly collector who wins some money that lets him retire. Fredrick is lonely and has trouble getting along with others, the only people he really has are his aunt and cousin. 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.
The Collector by John Fowles
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 colectionsrul 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 fowlex book has been written.
Joh 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. 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.
Jhn deviation is jihn 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 I read this when I was very young.
This is a trophy wife by force, not a sex slave but a ‘wife’. It’s a very original story, writing at it’s finest.
And it’s creepy, very very creepy. There are a lot of excellent reviews on GR about this book, but in my opinion they all give far too much away. The book is like an onion. The outside skin, then the world within, layer upon layer. And at it’s resolution, quite unexpectedly there is a tiny green shoot. Every detail you know about the story or the characters will take away a layer for you. View all 37 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 fowlees and stuffs her in his basement type stories.