- Paperback: 112 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (5 Jun. 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099754916
- ISBN-13: 978-0099754916
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 0.7 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Comfort Of Strangers Paperback – 5 Jun 1997
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More About the Author
"No reader will begin The Comfort of Strangers and fail to finish it; a black magician is at work" (New York Times)
"Haunting and compelling" (The Times)
"McEwan, that master of the taciturn macabre, so organises his narrative that, without insisting anything, every turn and glimpse is another tightening of the noose" (Observer)
"As always, McEwan manages his own idiom with remarkable grace and inventiveness; his characters are at home in their dreams and so is he" (Guardian)
"Has you in its stranglehold from the first page to the last. McEwan has honed his prose style (always admirably spare) to tell his tale, and with all the skill of an accomplished torturer, he throws the occasional crumbs of comfort, as the tension becomes unbearable, only to snatch them away within moments" (Listener)
Re-jacketed in stunning new series style, The Comfort of Strangers is the second novel from Booker prize-winning, Sunday Times bestselling Ian McEwan.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Please read Ian McEwan's second novel (1981), then compare and shiver! It deals with Mary and Colin on a weeks-long holiday to Venice and nowhere else. They have been a couple for seven years, but are somehow inert, silent, unable to plan ahead or live their daily lives: forgetting their town plan, they lose their way every day. This novella has been written in a more languid voice than Susan Hill's, but in a far more intrusive manner. Readers wish for a quick grip on a story, but McEwan does not allow this. Right from the start, his tale is full of dark portents...
Mary has 2 children who stay with their dad in a UK commune. She was an actor in a woman's collective, now defunct. Colin tried singing, then acting, no more info, except that he looks cute. In my view, the couple appears doomed from page one. They do not behave like normal tourists and fall prey to mysterious black-clad Robert, first acting as a guide, then as owner of an underground gay bar with a jukebox emitting blue light like an ambulance or policecar that blasts out again and again the same pumping, shrieking song, whose refrain "Ha, ha, ha" is sung along loudly by the black-clad clientele of cruisers.
The refrain shortened for copyright reasons(?), the tune must be the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive", a worldwide disco hit and another clue among several about impending death McEwan planted in this tragedy.Read more ›
There are two descriptions of faces, one male, one female, and these are unlike anything I have read before, with intense picturesque detail and examination of every facial feature contained within one paragraph.
Is this Venice? I'm not convinced, though I'm aware that this is the accepted location. Does it matter where it is set and we are not told? On one level I think it does - McEwan is teasing us, intensifying the mystery.
I didn't enjoy reading this. In fact it made me quite uncomfortable, yet, once started it had to be finshed to find where it was going, though I had a sense of how it would end.
It is not a book to enjoy but to thrill at the language and study the psychology. I might even want to say that parts of it are sick. Whatever goes on in McEwan's mind he is amazingly adept at translating it to the page.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I usually enjoy Ian McKewan but this was just too strange. Wierd people wandering around in Venice, meeting even wierder people and their wierder wives and lives, Save your money... Read morePublished 4 months ago by MissInformed
These books were presents. The recipient was very satisfied.Published 4 months ago by Kevin More Plumley
Strange plot and story ( if there was one) very disappointingPublished 4 months ago by pat stretton
I always enjoy Ian McEwan's writings, but I found this one particularly atmospheric. From the outset there is an air of mystery- where is all this going on and what exactly does... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Madeleine
An unusuall story but captivating it has the dark side to human naturePublished 8 months ago by fuse