This is an awesome read! It is a true page turner! I originally got this out of curiousity after hearing about several serial killers use this as sort of a bible. It is truly interesting and compelling to read (however fictionalized) first person account from an abductor's viewpoint and then from the victim. Truly not what i expected when i got it, but this is now one of my favorite books.
Dubbed a psychological thriller, the novel portrays two sides of a kidnapping. Clegg, a lepidopterist (butterfly collector), wins a pool (lottery). When he realizes that money leads tot he ability to exert control, decides to switch his collection to women: initially one in particular (an artist) whom he stalks for some time before abducting her and imprisoning her in the sub-basement of a rural cottage. In the authors words (spoken through the captive) he is uncreative but wealth has provided him with opportunity-to-create; this, he says, equals evil. The story begins with his side of the crime. Then we are treated to a glimpse of her side of it through the medium of diary that she has kept. Her writings wander between the crime and a glimpse into her life. She is obviously superior to him in many ways, which he resents. The ending is a grisly account of her demise and his feelings, or lack thereof. Once she is gone, will he refresh his collection?
Very interesting plot line.
From Library Journal
In this chilling archetypal tale of good and evil, a beautiful, idealistic young woman studying art in London is kidnapped by a startlingly ordinary young man who wants only to keep her--like the butterflies he has collected before her. James Wilby is superb as the collector, by turns angry, indignant, whining, and threatening, and the terrified, but defiant, prisoner waging war against her captor while in secret journals struggling to come to terms with her past and present. Despite a lengthy digression on the meaning of art and the British class struggle, this powerful reading of a haunting tale will echo in the reader's psyche long after the words fade away.
a superb first novel.... evil has seldom been so sinister.
John Fowles is such a talented reader I felt sorry for a man who is ultimately a bad guy. I felt the girl was ungrateful when in reality she was kidnapped. Only a talented writer could garner sympathy for such a contemptible character.
A haunting story that stuck with me for longer than most do.
A compelling read. In 1963, this book was ahead of its time, however, without the blood and guts of its predecessors.
Many people try to focus on what the author is trying to "tell us" as a society and are frustrated when they can't decipher it. In my opinion there is no "humanitarian message", just a page turning read.
Beautiful book. It burned in some places to read and I cried. It was nice to get both sides of the story. Very interesting journey.
Somewhat disturbing, but I found that I couldn't put it down.
What a thrill ride. I forget exactly how I came to have this on my 'to-read' list. Either browsing 'most scariest books' lists or maybe it was this song from Polka dot Cadaver "Chloroform Girl"
This was a very quick read. I read reading it on breaks at work, and everything just to finish it. Although at times it did make my stomach turn. I was part disappointed, but also left part thinking about the ending.
Engrossing story of a man who kidnaps a young lady and keeps her in his cottage in the English countryside.