Review of The collector by John Fowles

Title: The collector

Author: John Fowles

Editorial: Back Bay Books

Genre: Thriller

Country of origin: UK

Pages: 307

Days to finish it: 10

Year of publication: 1963

Personal score: 4.8/5


Preview: Juan, the collector (Juan´s preview 3)


The last review I´ve spoken about myself was “Ready Player One”, I wanna keep talking about me a little more. I always get in touch with the kind of topics related to “obsession, hate, pain, captivity, and even paranoia”, I can´t remember, at least not precisely, in which part of my life I got in touch with those topics. I mean, they aren’t the sort of things you would like to talk about with a friend or a girl, but the fact is that all the things are there, and most of the times they need a way of expression. I remember in high school I listened to Marilyn Manson and read his lyrics, then Slipknot came in, I think I get more comfortable with their music and the particular way to express their feelings. With so much words, my mind blended it up, and all the feelings too. Now I can behave myself, but some nights, some days a dozen of thoughts are still there… waiting for the music to stop playing in my mind.  


How did I get it?


It was lent to me by another workmate (not the same one from the last time), he told me about this book time ago, but I was sort of concerned if this would fulfill all my expectations… it seems like it does, it really does.



A little bit of the author…


Born in a small town of Essex, England. He went to a special school for boys, then he participated in the army, but he never fought, the Second World War had already finished. He taught English in a couple of universities, until he finished writing “The collector” in only four weeks. The book was a best seller and the fame arrived…





Frederick is an uneducated, shy and unloved young guy, who has a peculiar hobby: to collect butterflies and photograph them. He´s sort of obsessed with an art student called Miranda. But he is too nervous to approach to her; the only thought of being close to Miranda makes him tremble… until he won the national pools and thousands of pounds.


When his hobby of collecting things transforms into collect persons, the chase (logistics of how to preserve Miranda until she loves him) of his truly and only love. With all the money and all the time for his goal, he´ll get an isolated house in the outsides of the town.


Narrated in two voices, the collector and the prisoner, here we have one of the best books in the 20th century: The collector. Could Miranda escape from his prison made of obsession and love? Or will Frederick love her so much and never let her get away? With the perspective of a psychopath we´ll see how gnarled and twisted the love…is







I had a lot of mixed opinions through all the book, the first part (when he speaks) was amazing and very instructive, it gives me a full panorama about his feelings and thoughts, meanwhile the second part (when she speaks) it was so boring, I understand she´s a young girl in love with a mature man, and I almost get it, but that doesn’t eradicate the fact that it’s boring. I think if the book was only with both characters, it would be perfect. (Is impossible to not remember Misery from Stephen King).


Is almost imperceptible the transformation of Frederick, gradually he transforms into a controller. He passes of being a collector to a controller. I do not justify him, he´s a psychopath, but at least he´s not a depraved or a rapist, I know depriving someone from freedom is a crime, but in this particular case I didn´t see it so fucking bad. Maybe the collector in me is speaking. 


The way Frederick speaks is all joined; he does not make any separations or spaces, while Miranda speaks in chapters/days. The English is not my mother language so it took me twice of the time to read it, but I found really helpful that a lot of words had their meanings written in the book. I think I couldn’t read it in British English but wasn’t so different to the American English.


Through all the novel the feeling of ambivalence could be felt: she hates him, but not so much to kill him; and he loves her so much, but not enough to let her free. I think she appreciates him, and he´s obsessed with her. I hate the kind of love when the woman is in love with a douchebag and she does not give herself the opportunity to be happy with someone else. The ending of the book is the most important part, it impressed me so much, that it was the reason I gave it five stars.


Finally one of the ideas that I highlight the most is: if people have more money and all the time in the world, they can have rare hobbies, like collecting persons, hunting them or even torturing them. And this book was written in the middle of the 60´s, so, how much has all changed?


Would you rather be a piece of a collection for money? And if they promise they would be gentle and never touch you? Would you? For how much money?




“I can’t say what it was, the very first time I saw her, I knew she was the only one.”


“I´ve always hated to be found out, I don´t know why, I’ve always tried to explain, I mean invent stories to explain.”


“No one will understand, they will think I was just after her for the obvious. She was not like some woman you don’t respect so you don´t care what you do, you respected her and you had to be careful.”


“She was just like a woman. Unpredictable. Smiling one minute and spiteful the next.”


“Just because you can´t express your feelings it doesn’t mean they´re not deep.”


“All you love for is the day you see the last of me, I said. I´m just a nobody still, aren’t I?”


“What she never understood was that with me it was having. Having her was enough. Nothing needed doing. I just wanted to have her, and safe at last.”


“Every time he buys me something I think it is proof that he´s not going to kill me or do anything else unpleasant.”


“I know he´s the devil showing me the world that can be mine. So I don´t sell myself to him. I cost him a lot in little.”


“I´ve always tried to happen to life; but it´s time I let life happen to me.”


“I ´ve always known where I´m going, how I want things to happen. And they have happened as I have wanted.”


“But love is beautiful, any love. Even just sex. The only thing ugly is this frozen lifeless utter lack love between he and me.”











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