Having accepted Marta’s challenge last week today we move towards a novel by John Fowles, The Collector.
The Collector talks about a guy who likes to collect, in this case, both butterflies and beautiful girls. Yes, it is a novel about a kidnap, there’re no doubts about that. The narration of both characters is so accurate that you can almost feel what they feel, smell what they smell, miss the light Miranda misses and feel desperate to get out… it even creates a suspicious look on you, fearing any stranger you cross with on the street. Yes, this novel is that powerful.
There are two things I love about it that I feel I can talk about without spoiling:
Firstly, the author of the brilliant The French Lieutenant’s woman plays with the reader once again. The narration is marvellous and I can’t tell no more if you’re going to read it (I truly recommend it) but the way he crosses the feelings of a kidnap as well as that desperate feeling to be liberated, with Art and philosophy, it creates the perfect context and excuse to talk about Life and Love.
“I love making, I love doing. I love being to the full, I love everything which is not sitting and watching and copying and dead at heart.”
“Forgetting’s not something you do, it happens to you. Only it didn’t happen to me.”
Memories and thoughts end on the same feeling: I feel/felt alive.
Secondly, John Fowles gives us what I think is one of the most precious gifts in literature. As the Iranian writer Azar Nafisi calls “democratization of the novel” which means that, the character, no matter what he or she does, no matter how evil he or she is, he’s got a voice and the author lets him talk and say what he’s got to say. As Nabokov does with Humbert Humbert, Fowles enters into this perfect psycopath’s mind and lets him explain himself. He doesn’t judge him or punish him… he just lets him be.
In case you are interested, The Collector became a film directed by William Wyler in 1965.
You must be tolerant and open-minded and you won’t regret its reading.