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The Comfort of Strangers | [Ian McEwan]

The Comfort of Strangers

New York Times best-selling author Ian McEwan has won the Booker Prize, Whitbread Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award for his masterfully accomplished fiction. The Comfort of Strangers is an exquisitely crafted gothic novella. On holiday, Colin and Maria wander the ancient streets of Venice and frequently lose their way. When they are accosted by a man with a strange and alluring story to tell, they soon become entwined in a fantasy of violence and erotic obsession.
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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author Ian McEwan has won the Booker Prize, Whitbread Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award for his masterfully accomplished fiction. The Comfort of Strangers is an exquisitely crafted gothic novella. On holiday, Colin and Maria wander the ancient streets of Venice and frequently lose their way. When they are accosted by a man with a strange and alluring story to tell, they soon become entwined in a fantasy of violence and erotic obsession.

©1996 Ian McEwan; (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

"Haunting and compelling. (The Times)
"A masterful performance..." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (125 )
5 star
 (23)
4 star
 (35)
3 star
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1 star
 (9)
Overall
3.6 (35 )
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
3.8 (35 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    EVERETT New York, NY, United States 07-21-07
    EVERETT New York, NY, United States 07-21-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    76
    ratings
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    43
    7
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    Overall
    "Mysterious, bizarre"

    A couple visits a famous tourist city (unnamed in the novel) and become victims of a deranged man's fantasies. Much of the novel is written with oblique descriptions, but there is nevertheless a sense of dark suspense that builds. I would not say this is one of McEwan's finest novels. If you're a fan, it's definitely worth the read!

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristi Winder, GA, United States 03-15-08
    Kristi Winder, GA, United States 03-15-08 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    157
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    50
    30
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    2
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    Overall
    "Very Odd"

    I'm really not sure what to make of this one. If I hadn't known from the reviews and description that something dreadful happens, I would have thought the first three-fourths of the book to be dull and pointless. Since I did know, it did have a kind of creepy suspense, waiting for the axe to fall.

    However, when it did finally fall, it was kind of anticlimactic. The whole book has a surreal and detached feel-- good for building suspense, not so good for really feeling the horror when it happens. That same detachment made it hard to really get involved with the characters, which also lessened the impact of the climax. At the end, I blinked, scratched my head, and said "Hunh. Well... I guess it's time for the next selection!"

    It's short, so if you like odd stories and subtle horror it might be worth the risk. Just don't expect too much.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    swlilsis NJ 05-03-11
    swlilsis NJ 05-03-11 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    3
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    1
    Overall
    "Weird and pointless - almost"

    I tried listening to this book when I first got it, but for some reason I didn't remember, couldn't get into it. I went back through my library and realized I still had not read it. "It's only 4 hours, no big deal!" Yeah, wow. This book takes forever to get to any point. Nothing leading up to the end is important (not really). I kept waiting for something to happen. I thought it would be more... erotic or sexual, but it's really not. It makes no sense. Maybe it's the genre and I'm just missing something or not interested, but my rating is a 1 star and that's only because a. it's the lowest I could give, and b. the narrator would probably be good in another book whose writing doesn't put you to sleep.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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