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Home > Psychologies > No. 131 - Find Your Serenity > The book that claimed my summer

The book that claimed my summer

If you are anything like us, a summer holiday is a chance, before almost anything else, to be consumed by a good book (or three). But there will be one hazy getaway when, other than chirping crickets and the sun on your skin, the details are sketchy – because you were completely lost in a story. The Psychologies team share their books that stole a summer

THE COLLECTOR

Summer holidays with my sisters, lounging aboard a bobbing boat on the sluggish Breede River in South Africa, are the closest I get to reliving my childhood: we three together again, giggling like naughty schoolgirls and stomping about our Africa barefoot. Sweltering days are spent sunbathing and reading, while evenings melt into each other under starlit skies. This creepy debut novel could not have been more out of place. Published in 1963 and set in leafy England, it’s not a lengthy book, but it’s unputdownable – and was my other constant companion for the brief time it took to read.

Frederick Clegg is an unpopular loner. To fill the hours, he collects butterflies and pins them down, and he does the same to the woman he is obsessed with, kidnapping her and locking her in his cellar. Miranda must use all her cunning in her bid to escape, but the most chilling part of this psychological drama is how the reader accepts Frederick’s evil enslavement of his victim, and even takes his side. I won’t reveal the unforgettable ending, but I never want to read it again. As a swell caused a pile of my belongings to topple from the boat, I grabbed The Collector from the greedy green river before anything else.

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Psychologies September 2016 - Find your Serenity
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