Monday, June 13, 2005

The Collector

posted by Tim Walters @ 9:26 PM

Let it be noted for archival purposes that I actually finished reading the book or so ago...

John Fowles, The Collector. Like every other Fowles book I've read, this is both excellent and quite different from all the others. Apparently this made quite a splash in 1963, and I can see why--I don't think first-person accounts by creepy criminals were anywhere near as common then, and I rather doubt it's been done better since. Our protagonist is a butterfly collector who, having won the football pools, decides to move up to a new level of obsession by kidnapping art student Miranda. He doesn't want to rape or kill her--he just wants have her as his "guest."

It would be telling to reveal what happens, but suffice it to say that (1) the tension is immense; (2) the characters are extremely vivid; (3) the book takes a startling turn, not of events but in the manner of telling, about halfway through; and (4) the ending is exactly right.

I highly recommend it, but try not to read up about it first. This is one where the less you know going in, the better. It's hard to believe that it was his first novel.


At 8:54 AM, Blogger Todd T said...

I wil have to read this. I loved The Magus and always defend it against people who claim that it only has things to say to people in their early twenties. Though this always makes me nervous, because I may be wrong and therefore proving myself underdeveloped in my own sensibilities. But whether that's true or not, I think The Magus is quite powerful. For some reason, I haven't read any other novels yet, though I have a couple on the shelf. I do like his essays.

At 5:16 PM, Blogger Tim Walters said...

Well, I read it in my late thirties and loved it, but I don't claim to be mature. Still, it seems like that type of criticism rules out a lot of fun stuff, ranging from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man to the entire corpus of children's literature.


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