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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

Critic Reviews

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

What listeners say about The Comfort of Strangers

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    34
  • 4 Stars
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    22
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Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Story
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    22
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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wow. Just... wow!

As the title of this review suggests, wow! The narration of this story was incredible, and the story itself was... wow. McEwan's mastery of narration was a thing of beauty!

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Weird

Very bizarre story, l’m sorry I listen to this book, because now I will be afraid to wonder around Venice and getting lost, as I normally love to do.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

All Writers Have to Learn Somewhere


An unbelievable story that was pretty much a waste of time. "Atonement" was a true triumph, but this story written going up the mountain is as disappointing as the ones written going down.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

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.