Re-reading The Collector

Sunday Blog 8 – 17th October 2021

Sunday night melancholy cloaks me like a miasma. I blame the 1963 book The Collector which I ploughed through over the weekend. The last time I read it was 1982 when I was 17 and finishing school – three decades later it is still a recommended reading text for English. I am currently part of an Emerging Writers Program and my mentor suggested I might want to read it as I toil away at the latest iteration of my manuscript, and flesh out my narrator’s voice.

I went away for the weekend and happened upon it in my sister’s bookcase, plucked it out and dived in. I finished it on the drive home, its miserable conclusion colouring my view out the window. The lush green paddocks and lone farmhouses whizzed by the car. Instead of appearing charming and rustic, I kept picturing a forgotten Miranda locked into each one of their basements.

Trying to process the awful feelings from this book, I looked for reviews. Imagine my horror when I read in the author’s own words that the inspiration from the book echoed his own author’s own fantasies. Would this book even be published now, with the author confessing the origin of the book and spending half of it colonising the woman victim’s voice? I can only hope not…

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