©1996 Ian McEwan; (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC
"Haunting and compelling. (The Times)
"A masterful performance..." (AudioFile)
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!
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.
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.
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