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“The Collector” by John Fowles

John Fowles’ 1963 novel, “The Collector”, is a psychological thriller of sorts, focusing on the disturbing actions of a young man and the tragic events that ensue.

It follows the gripping story of Frederick Clegg, a desperate loner and amateur entomologist who has the means to satisfy his fantasies: the capture of what he believes is the human equivalent of a butterfly.


The plot follows a loosely structured timeline, with Frederick’s delusional plan to capture and keep a woman, Miranda Grey, as his own personal “collection”. He lives a lonesome, isolated life, having been abandoned by his family, until one day he collects the lottery, becoming wealthier than ever before.

This newfound wealth brings more with it than Frederick bargained for, as his almost deifying obsession with Miranda leads him to plan an abduction, utilizing his new lifestyle to build himself a secret prison in his home.

Character Development

The characters in this book are deeply immersive, allowing for captivating exploration of each character’s mindset. Frederick Clegg is a complex and interesting protagonist, growing from a scared and timid man, to a dangerous and threatening force.

As he transitions from a sad introvert to a proud and rich man with a new lease on life, he slowly becomes delusional as his obsession with Miranda takes over. Meanwhile, Miranda herself is a somber and stoic woman, who slowly reads Frederick’s plan and adapts to her situation with bravery and cunning.

Despite their disparate positions in society, both characters are developed with the same level of detail and nuance, adding a unique emotional foundation to the complex plot.

Writing Style

Fowles’ writing style in “The Collector” is descriptive and introspective, providing readers with a deep look into the characters and their innermost thoughts. He uses direct language to illustrate each step of Frederick’s plan as it unravels, as well as to capture Miranda’s unique individual psyche.

This allows for greater immersion into the development of both characters, as well as heightened tension as their plan continues to escalate.


Overall, “The Collector” provides a gripping and suspenseful look into a most unbalanced psyche, and is certainly worth a read for those looking for an intense psychological thriller.

With excellent character development and an engaging writing style, Fowles does an amazing job of immersing readers into the world of Frederick and Miranda.

The book is a true masterpiece and will be sure to captivate readers until its unexpected conclusion.

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