Withdrawn, uneducated, and unloved, Frederick collects butterflies and takes photographs. He is obsessed with a beautiful stranger, the art student Miranda.
When he wins the pools, he buys a remote Sussex house and calmly abducts Miranda, believing she will grow to love him in time. Alone and desperate, Miranda must struggle to overcome her own prejudices and contempt if she is understand her captor, and so gain her freedom.
©1963 John Fowles (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
Loved the psychology in this one. Could listen to James Wilby all day. Highly Recommend.
This book uses unreliable narrators to play on your sympathies and the audiobook took it to another level. The extra component of believability, thanks to the vocal performance, further encourages you to feel sympathetic to the narrator despite everything going on in the book and continues to play with your emotions as you try to distance yourself. Great book and great audiobook.
It's a powerful story of obsession and delusion. The perpetrator seem to see himself as the victim. I suppose he was the victim of a delusional mind. Hats off to James Wilby for his wonderful narration.
This is a masterpiece of a first novel.
Bizarre and powerful. A compelling portrait of intriguing self-delusion.
Wilby slips into the role so effortlessly that one easily forgets that it isn't actually Ferdinand Clegg telling the story. Wilby should be nominated for an award.
"Fantastic first person book, amazing narration"
The Collector is one of the best first person books I've listened to. The narration is fantastic. The main character is painted with such clairty, creepy, chilling, fantastic book.
"You DON'T tell a Disease its Name"
I loved this novel of obsession, passion and control. While at the plot level it seems like (what now is a basic, but when it came out was revolutionary) psychological creep thriller (see Criminal Minds, Law & Order, Misery, etc.), this novel is much, much more. It is an exploration and a nuanced look at class struggles, art, power, religion, money, etc.). It is a novel that resonates on several levels. It reminded me of a some weird love-child of Vladimir Nabokov and Thomas Harris. But, perhaps that is just the whispers of all those moths and butterflies talking to me. The narrator bugged at times, but overall did a good job.
"Exceptional performance of a gripping novel"
One of the best audiobooks I've heard. Couldn't stop listening - finished in two days.
"Jarring Look into the Mind of a Criminal"
I would definitely recommend to a friend due to the intense experience of reading. The premise is absolutely chilling and normalizing the ideals of the insane makes the entire thing incredibly intriguing. The writing is simply phenomenal.
I truly admired Miranda and her strength.
James Wilby is easily able to alter his voice and add weight to each character successfully. He really makes the novel come alive.
Honestly, I was very put off by this book. The main character is so twisted that I felt very sad at it all coming to such an abrupt and terrifying end. I could not tell if I actually did not enjoy the book or it was just the main character I loathed so greatly.
This book is made up of the parts, first and last is through Ferdinand's perspective and the second is told by Miranda. I enjoyed the first section; however, having to listen to Miranda drone on and on and on was quite monotonous.
Regarding the narration. Again, I enjoyed Ferdinand's character, Miranda was a bit whiny...and when there were two male characters at once, I really couldn't keep up with who was speaking.
Overall, our was a just okay read for me.
"Quite a shocker - but some structural problems"
Yes. It's stood the test of time very well - after all, it was published more than 50 years ago. There are only a few reminders of that: the references to 'Teds' (teddy boys) and the primitive sound equipment Miranda has to put up with in her cellar. And it's much more sexually reticent than a contemporary writer would almost certainly make it. The narration is gripping, but for a few longueurs, and I'd challenge a friend to guess how it ends.
I suppose there are plenty of thrillers that use the theme of a psychopath holding his victim prisoner, but I can't think of one at present. Anyway, Fowles is in a different league as a writer. Other small details remind me of Ian McEwan's 'Cement Garden'. Some passages remind me of a couple of chilling books I've read on the loathsome Fred and Rosemary West case.
No, but he certainly makes a superlative job of this one. Admittedly, he only has 2 voices to do (with very minor exceptions) but he never misses a beat. He captures every nuance and shift in mood - of which there are many - and manages to make the whining, wretched Fred Clegg almost likeable, just for a few instants, now and again.
When Miranda wields the axe and very nearly knocks Clegg out it seems for a moment she is going to make it to freedom. But we know it's not going to end like that. It's going to end in tears. The very last section does chill the spine.
This was Fowles' first novel and it has structural issues I don't think he was able to solve. He takes us so thoroughly into the twisted mind of Clegg that the replacement of his 'voice' with Miranda's is a great jolt, and telling the entire history of the abduction all over again from her POV does generate a certain amount of tedium. I think Fowles wants us to like Miranda as a person more than I possibly could: her endless ruminations on the insufferable art bore 'GP', though natural enough given her plight, made me lose patience: It was obvious that there could be only one outcome, and I looked forward to hearing Clegg's voice again! .
"Fascinating psychological study"
This intriguing book provides an intimate glimpse into the thoughts of two characters locked in a life and death struggle with each other. Each character perfectly justifies their own thinking processes and neither makes the contact they wish with the other. A fascinating study of the minds of a prisoner and a jailer, it shows the shifting of emotional power between the two and how each rationalises their reactions according to their own values. The performance was excellent, with each character finding a believable voice. A most worthwhile book.
"Quite an interesting story"
The latter half of the story is quite cool, but the first half is just a sludge through the texts.
I would recommend it to people who can bare a boring, uninteresting story that has a small twist in the middle.
He did a rather good job in general with the people's voices.
No, nothing appart from the small twists in the latter half
"A horrifying, realistic tale of obsession"
No, I couldn't put myself through such an uncomfortable listen again, just because the writing is that spine chilling and believable! Let me be clear, this is a very well written book, and an extremely compelling story, but one of the characters is so repulsive, it is so hard to hear the tragic story from his warped perspective.
Miranda is very brave, resourceful yet flawed young woman. She is an accurate depiction of a desperate woman in her position.
His commitment and clear diction.
Beware of the quiet ones...
This story is not for the fainthearted but is worth persevering though to the harrowing and unpredictable end.
"I listened in two days!"
Absolutely fabulous. Loved the characterisation that made my skin crawl, and Fowles has the incredible talent of making one almost feel sorry for the protagonist's situation, before realising the extent of the delusion. An excellent psychological thriller that I've already listened to three times in two months!
Perfect . The reading was excellent to unwind the story. Loved it. Irritating having to carry on writing review on iPhone while walking in traffic. In order to write enough to send 5 stars
I love The Magus so thought I'd give this a listen. The narrator is very good but part 2 is boring and the way it all pans out is very unpleasant.
Not a book I'll ever return to, unlike The Magus.
The best this year
No but I have already put some more of the books he has narrated on my wish list.
The writing is completely engrossing with extremely well developed characters. A chilling and fascinating read
Both characters are dislikable, plodding and repetitive storyline. I can't wait for it to be over.
The volume seems to go from very quiet to screaming. Which is actually a positive as it wakes me up if I am nodding off.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.