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Showing 1-10 of 117 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 235 reviews
on March 15, 2015
I've read a lot of the so called "dark" psychological thrillers, including Jack Ketchum's "The Girl Next Door." This being said, I am of the opinion that author John Fowles delivers the most powerful and captivating story by providing what so many of those other books have missed. Furthermore, this book doesn't have to over-rely on gruesome details or graphic imagery to convey a touching story into the mind of the reader. I definitely did not expect the ending and almost didn't see there was a chapter four lurking back there. Author does a good job of providing suspense.

My only complaint is that the book could have been shorter by cutting the endless ranting about G.P. I know, I get it, it serves as very important character development for Emma and to give the reader further insight as to her behavior in relationship to "Caliban," but after like one hundred pages of it I literally sighed and wanted to punch G.P. in his huge nose.

Otherwise, the development of both characters is excellent. Emma's part is of profound importance in thoroughly painting (no pun intended) Frederick, and by the fourth chapter you get an outstanding picture of who these two people are.

I was worried that this book might have just been a lot of hype on the coattails of the Charles Ng and Leonard Lake case, but it really is a powerfully sad novel that stands on its own merits.
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on April 19, 2017
I can see where the book is ahead of it's time. But, in today's psychological thrillers. This book is slow and bland. (Not being disrespectable here.)
The story starts with a lonely man Frederick Clegg that has come by with a large sum of money and now he can buy anything he wants. But Clegg is so damaged and different he longs for Miranda a young and beautiful art student. He watches her, he loves her in his weird way. All he wants is for her to love him. He plans for her and builds the perfect place for her.

Then he waits for the right time to take her for his own. He lures her to his van and he chloroforms her and kidnaps her.
The story is about how he wants to control her, but at first he does not want to hurt her. He wants to love her and he wants her to love him.

Miranda does everything she can to make him let her go. But, she makes one mistake and Frederick's feeling for her change. He no longer believes her or will help her as much.
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on July 1, 2016
Considered by many to be the first psychological thriller, The Collector is the story of Frederick Clegg, a lonely, obsessive man, and Miranda, the beautiful young art student whom he kidnaps and holds captive in his basement.

The story begins with Clegg’s perspective, and then switches a third of the way through to Miranda’s diary entries, allowing considerable insight into both characters. In many ways they are opposites: where Miranda has a vibrant zest for life and a passion for creating beauty, Clegg is consumed by a desire to capture and possess the beauty that has always been absent from his life.

It’s an interesting character study. And while Fowles never makes excuses for Clegg’s actions, he carefully presents him as a human rather than a monster. I was fascinated (and not really surprised) to learn that several serial killers and kidnappers have referenced The Collector as the inspiration and justification for their crimes.

My problems with the book have little to do with the book itself and more to do with what I have been conditioned to expect from psychological thrillers. It’s hard reading a book that was ahead of its time or the first of its kind when you’re already so familiar with what the genre has become. Fowles’ story may have been inventive and shocking when it was published, but approaching it decades later, I found the plot to be rather predictable and diluted. Again, this is one of those situations where “it’s not you (the book), it’s me.”

Ultimately, I’m glad to have read The Collector to understand and appreciate its influence on the genre.
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on April 24, 2017
I really wanted to love this book, but I just can't; the writer's style doesn't float my boat. The plot isn't as interesting as it could have been and goes along a very vague storyline. Do we know why this man has the issues he does? No. The describing factors in this book are lackluster, and the author has a strong liking for the word "Well" and the word "Etcetera" and I mean STRONG liking, to the point where it gets really annoying to read this book for long periods of time. I won't give away anything else, other than the story doesn't have take any twists and turns down a shocking ending, and I wouldn't recommend it.
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on November 5, 2015
The Collector was one of the most horrifying, frightening, gut-wrenching, magnificent book I have ever read!

I think the most harrowing aspect of the book is that the fact that it can so easily happen! The ending just blew me away! It was so unexpected. I love to be surprised by a book's ending.

This read has none of the blood, guts, and gore aspect of Stephen King's books, but in a way, is even more horrifying in it psychological fear factor.

If you get a chance, rent or buy the 1960's movie version of " The Collector " with Terence Stamp in the lead role. It is even more appalling to watch, so don't watch it if you are home alone! Christine Schulz
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on July 3, 2014
This novel is as timely now as when it was written. Obsessive men who kidnap women- characters who seem ordinary enough yet mask insanity. This novel is written in two voices and the genius of it is the readers sympathy for both characters. Yes, Clegg is a kidnapper but Fowles invests enough time and energy fleshing him out; we care about him even if we don't understand him. Miranda may be his prisoner but she is never his victim. It was reading her section that truly brought out my sorrow for Clegg. I really wanted to shake her and beg her to open her mind. The last section is masterful because it takes all your sympathy and throws it in the toilet. I spent 3/4 of the novel feeling compassion for Clegg. Fowles biopsies his character and shows you the cancer within.
I read this book in 3 days and will probably 're-read it soon. It is a novel that makes you feel and then leaves you wondering "what kind of person am I to care this way?"
Think Lolita, the unbearable lightness of being, the cider house rules
Strong stuff - well written
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on April 3, 2013
I got a bargain on this one! I'm not sure how many are left but this is a collectors book, being a 1st edition made for USA it has the original cover which is the same cover viewed in many of the shows that claimed this book was the trigger for some gruesome serial murders.... I wanted it not only to read & see what was so demented about the story,,, (which I found out) but to own for collectors purposes. I got it for a great price... and it is worth much more. Just make sure you get one with this same cover on it, if your interested in having a book with value...Some people are selling these books for 200.00 and up.... so grab one cheap while you can. keep it safe on your shelf this book has a story line that is so twisted, depraved & demented that you will NEVER forget it, which makes me wonder about the author... Again this is not for children or the faint of heart (or anyone that is depraved or has mental issues!) this story is physiologically disturbing to say the least, the story is so graphic comes to life so well it feels real... thank God it's not! But as long as your mentally stable and if your curious about a book that has not only lots of controversy but made media attention because of the "harm" it has done to mentally disturbed people, not to mention real life victims... hence 1985 The Wilseyville Murders, Leonard Lake & Charles Chi-Tat Ng 2 sadist who read it like the bible! Calling there " Depraved missions" "Operation Miranda" hence the heroin/victim in the book...So this book carries more than a story on the pages it carries real life stories from monsters who enjoyed it and used it and its plot to become some of the most notorious serial murderers in history.... so is it worth collecting,... or reading... that my friend is up to you! I am glad I own it... just to have it in my collection. it may be worth more than my house some day....
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on June 20, 2014
The Collector is a unique book and in light of the many true tales of kidnappings and home dungeons, is especially insightful. I do like the way Fowles tells the story first from "The Collectors" point of view then from the girls. While a sad and horrific tale there is some very insightful story telling here. A deceptively poignant look into different types of people and why they do what they do. From living and loving to what is important to us as individuals and why. It is not nearly just about a kidnapped girl in a dungeon - it is so much more. However, what I found even more strange/odd/amazing is similarities between the abductor in this book and that of Wolfgang Priklopil (Natasha Kamputsch's abductor). Fowles somehow had some amazing insight into a certain kind of person and the strange psyche that certainly does exist in dark corners of our society with men like Priklopil.
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on September 8, 2009
The Collector is a novel about a repressed and self conscious clerk named Frederick Clegg. Frederick collects butterflies for their beauty, but he soon redirects his hobby to admiring the beauty of Miranda Grey, a beautiful upperclass art student he begins stalking. At first, Frederick does not even know his victim's name. He simply calls her "X". The first time he learns her name and hears her voice, he considers it a milestone in their relationship.

When Frederick wins quite a bit of money in the British football pools, he uses the money to buy a secluded cottage. Frederick seems unimpressed with the seventeenth-century cottage at first, but when he learns that the cottage contains a cellar, his imagination runs way with him. He purchases the cottage with the intention of making the cellar Miranda's new home.

The Collector is a very strange but fascinating story of abduction. The first half of the book is the story of how the kidnapping transpired according to Frederick Clegg. The second half of the book is the story from the victim's point of view.

This kidnapping of Miranda Grey is very unique because with the exception of not being able to leave the Clegg's cottage, Miranda is calling all the shots. Frederick Clegg geniunely believes himself in love with the pretty blonde and believes if he plays his cards right, she just might love him in return.

When Miranda says jump, Frederick jumps. The prisoner has her abductor running from shop to shop trying to find expensive foods, books, and art, his prisoner demands. Miranda realizes Frederick will give her anything her heart desires, except her freedom.

I found Miranda's half of the book especially fascinating, not because it contained her version of the kidnapping, but because of what it revealed about her life before her abduction. Her friendship with an artist she calls GP, forever changed her view of life. While in seclusion, Miranda begins to reevaluate her relationship with GP and her feelings for him and how he changed her.

The Collector is not the type of novel you only read once. I found myself re-reading certain pages even before I finished the book. Miranda's version of the events are not just the account of a young girl held against her will, it is a profound view of life and the desire to live life to the fullest. This novel will move you, disturb you, and haunt you all at once. It is one of the best novels I have ever read.
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VINE VOICEon March 6, 2010
Based on previous reviews I had read before purchasing this book, I expected The Collector to be something akin to a crime novel -- a psychological thriller about a sociopath obsessed with a beautiful young girl. However this book is so much more than that, and it seems many people are missing the point -- entirely, in some cases. Yes, the main narrative thread focuses on a socially-awkward young man who captures and imprisons a pretty, vibrant young girl, but the story is rich with layer upon allegorical layer.

At its heart, The Collector is really a story about the clash of classes: the rising rich and powerful class, who are ill-equipped to handle their wealth (referred to as the "New People" in Miranda's narrative), and the young, creative, liberated generation -- whom the elite fear and envy. I agree that this novel is truly frightening and creepy, but I think the scariest notion is that money can delude those who have it, and detach them from reality.

I won't spoil it by writing more, but simply say The Collector is excellent from start to finish (though, the endless social commentary during Part 2 was, at times, wearying), and should be read carefully, so as to truly appreciate the depth and elegance of the writing.
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