Warning! Link to book description contains spoiler!
My first John Fowles experience was The Magus, a very troubling book that I’ve enjoyed to the extremes in my third year of high-school. I had heard of The Collector, Fowles debut novel, back then from my Math teacher, but for some reason I only bought it in 2008. And reading it was an interesting idea.
It’s the story of a simple clerk, Frederick Clegg, a buttefly collector and the woman he becomes obsessed with, Miranda Grey, a well-educated art student whom he’s known all his life but never spoken to.
After winning the lottery, Clegg decides to kidnap her and have her be his guest in the basement of a solitary house he has bought. The first part of the story, told by Clegg, describes his state of mind and what he thought of Miranda every step of their forced relationship. For a person not keen to believe getting what you want any way you want, it can be a little infuriating, as the clash of views on the same situation can have such an effect. The second part is told through Miranda’s journal entries, the other, sane side of the story. It is a beautiful story through her troubled soul, the love she never manages to spread and her struggles as an artist-to-be.
Caliban, as she had nicknamed him, bring both the best and the worst in her. Trapped and full of fear, she even decides trying to kill him would be the way to win back her freedom. Attempt after attempt, her escape plans fail and no one seems to come and save her.
Fowles explained his story and characters as a warning to the dangers that lay in creating great differences between classes of society. As mind blowing as the reality Clegg lives in can be and whether or not the circumstances in which he was brought up explain his behavior, Fowles raises an interesting issue: if all people would have the money and time to do whatever they wanted and were devoted to their sick dreams, how many would follow in his footsteps or worse?