Sunday, January 7, 2007

The Collector (thoughts)

I received The Collector by John Fowles for Christmas, and I finished reading it last night. I wasn't really sure what to expect going into it; all I knew was that it was described as the 'first modern psychological thriller.'

The basic plot is that a man stalks and kidnaps a young girl. It's set in England, I think sometime in the 50s or 60s. I promise not to give away the ending: I hate it when someone gives away a book!

Anyway, it's written in first person, which isn't something I normally like. About half of the book is written in diary format, which is also something I normally dislike. However, Fowles overcomes that prejudice of mine; really, I can't imagine the book being written any other way. The first part of the book is told from the point of view of the kidnapper: all of his creepy and boring thoughts, a little bit of his history. The second part of the book covers the same time period, but is written by the girl. That's when Fowles really shines: the girl is much more 'intellectual' than her kidnapper, and she spends a lot of time trying to figure out who she is. This probably resonates with me because she's nineteen and I'm twenty, also in school, also wondering about life. Fowles manages to capture that mood exactly; I found myself nodding along with a lot of the pages. The final part of the book is short, just creating the ending(hence, off-limits). I will say, though, that the ending doesn't feel at all abrupt, or like the author wasn't sure what he wanted to say. Instead, it feels as if the entire book had been moving towards the ending, and I was left very satisfied.

I feel that the first half of the book is a little dull; it doesn't seem to pick up, and the kidnapper is a bit whiny. However, the beauty of the second half balances it out. So, if you're going to read The Collector, be prepared to slog through the beginning. It'll be worth it in the end.

Favorite Passages:

The only thing that really matters is feeling and living what you believe-so long as it's something more than belief in your own comfort. ...It's like football. Two sides may want to beat the other, they may even hate each other as sides, but if someone came and told them football is stupid and not worth playing or caring about, then they'd feel together. It's feeling that matters. (143)

And I've always thought of marriage as a sort of young adventure, two people of the same age setting out together, discovering together, growing together. (234)

It's like the day you realize dolls are dolls. I pick up my old self and I see it's silly. A toy I've played with too often. It's a little sad, like an old golliwog at the bottom of the cupboard.
Innocent and used-up and proud and silly. (266)

3 comments:

booklogged said...

Eva, it is NOT too late to join the classics challenge. In fact, I haven't started reading my classics yet, because I have 2 books for book groups I need to finish first. Just post your 5 choices and I'll add them to the list. Oh, and please let me know when you get them posted. Love to have you join us.

booklogged said...

Now that I've taken care of business... This book sounds really interesting. I love when 2 or more people tell the story from their perspective. And thriller/mysteries are among my favorite books. That last quote hit a cord with me.

iliana said...

Have you read The Magus by Fowles? It is brilliant. That's the only one I've read of his but I really need to read some of his other books. This sounds very good.