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John Fowles -- The Collector

Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The Collector, by John Fowles
A thoroughly engrossing psychological novel of the highest order, The Collector presents an unsparing chronicle of two idealists (one with a conscience, one without) struggling with one another to obtain the fundamentally unobtainable. On the most superficial level, the novel traces the story of the psychopathic Clegg as he kidnaps and imprisons Miranda Grey, an attractive, bohemian art student; the varied psychological crises of the confined girl as she alternates between accepting her dismal reality and rebelling against the primal injustice of the world, as embodied by her captor; and the strained, tenuous not-quite-friendship that develops between the two. As Clegg's refusal to grant Miranda the freedom for which she longs grows increasingly insurmountable, the girl's inability to provide her tormentor with the idealized romance he seeks corrodes what little compassion binds the pair and Fowles effectively shakes the rose-colored glasses off the eyes of his characters as well as those of his readers, revealing an eviler evil, a more hopeless hopelessness, and a more horrible horror than most people would want to acknowledge as a ubiquitous element of our collective (in)humanity.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

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