2008: 141. The Collector

“When she was home from her boarding-school I used to see her almost every day sometimes, because their house was right opposite the Town Hall Annexe.”

The Collector, John Fowles

This is an extremely creepy (in a good sense) novel, the debut by the author of The Magus* and The French Lieutenant’s Woman.**  It tells the story of Frederick Clegg, a lower class Englishman who wins the lottery, and uses the money to kidnap the upper class woman, Miranda, that he has been obsessed with for years.  He is the collector of the title - first it was butterflies, and then Miranda.  The first part of the book tells the story from Frederick’s point of the view, the second half from Miranda’s.  There is a lot going on - much of it is about class in England - but mostly, this is a chilling portrait of an extremely disturbing situation.  Frederick is a psychopath - and I think particularly when this was published (before we saw serial killers on the television three of four times a week), it must have been mind blowing.  I honestly could barely finish the book - but concede that it was extremely well done and powerful.  Both characters are (unfortunately believable), and the only trouble I had was bringing myself to finish the novel, seeing where it was inevitably going.  Upsetting, disturbing, but powerful.


*Which I read in high school on the recommendation of my (overrated) 11th grade English teacher and got almost nothing out of, and ought to read again.


** Which I read and enjoyed recently enough that I thought I had blogged about it, but I can’t find the post.


Date/Place Completed: 9/19/08; D.C.

Categories: Fiction; Commuting Book

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017