Read: The Collector (John Fowles)

I noticed this book on a huge table dedicated to compelling reads in Waterstones. The blurb was tempting enough, but I preferred checking it out online first before buying it. It turned out that it is one of the most popular classics published by Vintage. It was easy to find out why.

The Collector is hugely compelling. So much so that it was almost impossible to put it down. I think in recent years this is one of the books I’ve finished really fast. First off, the English is simple and fluid. Then, it is very well structured. I thought Fowles, with such a plot as this, would linger on the kidnapper’s psyche and past, but he is instead very to the point. He uses paragraphs very economically and efficiently. Besides, where this story could have easily gone off the rails and become another absurd Hollywood flick, Fowles keeps to a realism that, ultimately, is what makes this book so intense.  Indeed, the collector is a sick, worryingly sick, persona, and reading his account of events felt just like delving into the mind of a real psychopath. The ending was particularly sick. Sick: I cannot find a better word to describe what I thought of the man. I also liked how Fowles’ painted the kidnapped as yet another of the collector’s preys. Some phrases he used in this sense were very apt and deftly lucid.

I was quite surprised with the narration, to be honest. I knew so little about the story that the peculiarity of the book had a pleasant, unexpected impact on me. I don’t wish to give away what this peculiarity is, and I guess I would advise people to avoid spoilers at all costs when it comes to this book.

To conclude, The Collector belongs to the lot of those delightful modern classics that don’t feel quaint and instead introduces you to novelty in structure, language and plot. I’ve  recently finished The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Schindler’s Ark, two monumental reads, but The Collector is still one of those very good books that have already made 2016 a memorable year.


10 thoughts on “Read: The Collector (John Fowles)”

  1. I’ve not read this one–sounds intriguing, if disturbing. Have you read any other Fowles? I’d be interested on your impression of The Magus. I read it decades ago, but it sticks in my head. Fowles is a very particular kind of writer.

    1. One or two years ago I badly wanted to read The Magus because of the reviews it got. However the 656 pages somehow put me off.
      I had completely forgot John Fowles’s name then until I started reading The Collector and checked his other books. The Magus is still on my wish list, but I just don’t know when I’ll have the time to read it. :/

      And yes, Fowles is indeed a unique writer, but that’s no surprise if you check his background. I doubt The Collector would have been the great book it is if it had been written by some other author.

      1. I read The Magus for a college English class several decades ago. One reason the book stuck was that my instructor, a PhD candidate, was doing his dissertation on Fowles. At the end of semester, he played the Magus on us by giving each student the chance to roll a die for a grade: 1 was an F, 6 was an A and anything in between didn’t count. It certainly helped leave an impression of both the class and the book!

  2. Ah so many books I have to read! I think The Collector is on my TBR so I hope to read it during this year or the next.

    I love the new outlook of your blog! Especially the front page.

    1. Oh, I’m sure you’ll read it really quickly.
      And I think you’ll like it, as it’s a very good that serves its purpose.

      I’m glad you like the new theme. I’ve changed a lot over these past 3 years and needed to have something I can still identify myself with. 🙂

  3. I read this book collector 26 years back after re-reading The French Lieutenant’s woman almost forty years back. This narrative is so compelling that you find it hard to stop the reading even for few minutes. I have seen many plagiarized versions in movie forms in Indian movies and dramas may be due to its gripping narrative. Surely, it leaves you with something, depending on who you are, but a lot more to get an interest to read a book itself for its writing more than for any other reason.
    I still like the French Lieutenant’s woman as a “must read” for its unconventional narrative and recommend to see the movie as well In the Hollywood presentation wherein, veteran actress Meryl Streep brings to life the main character “Sarah Woodruff” to life.

Tell me what you think! :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s