The Collector is one of my favorite novels from my favorite author; John Fowles. He has this particular prose which in every word is dropped like a blow to a hot metal and shapes as a finely sharp sword. I notice that when an author writes like these, he is really in command of what he is writing and is not resorting in confusing the reader and leaves it just to them on what really happened. That is what John Fowles is to me, a very strong and influential novelist.
The story is just about a lonely young man whose sole interest in life is to collect butterflies. Until he wins a pool –which is sort of like a lottery— and then start to achieve something he really wants; a girl named Miranda Grey. I wouldn’t spoil any unsuspecting reader on what happened since this has a plot which can be describe with one word. But then you’re wrong to assume that that just about it. The story is narrated with Fowles conversational prose which makes everything feels real to the point of it being chilling and disturbing. I often remember that every time I’ll go to sleep after reading a couple of chapters, I pause for sometime not knowing what the real reason for my actions is. Maybe I’m trying to erase a part of it from my consciousness since before I go to sleep, I fetch something down stairs and that’s what I’m trying to avoid, darkness, closed space, shadows and underground floors. It’s not that we do have an underground floor like the old times but going downstairs at the wee hours of the evening makes my imagination working in an unfavorable way.
It is such a weird way to sympathize with Clegg but while reading the novel, I get to understand some of his actions. Is that why some stalkers act that way? Well that’s how convincing and powerful the writer is. The novel ends in an unfavorable way for me since I root for Miranda –of course, who will not be moved on what she has gone through— but that makes me also hope that there will come a time for Mr. Clegg to pay for his sins. But why someone has to suffer first? How can you love a novel that ends in an unacceptable way? But how about the author’s talent in making us sees things and believing in everything he says?
The Collectors is adapted into a feature film in 1965 to great acclaim.
Opening Sentence: When she was home from her boarding-school I used to see her almost every day sometimes, because their house was right opposite the Town Hall Annexe.
Ending Sentence: I only put the stove down there today because the room needs drying out anyway.