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.