The Comfort of Strangers Paperback
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Top Customer Reviews
McEwan always gives the reader a story that appeals both to the intellect and the emotions. As usual, he doesn't disappoint us. One of the joys of living in these times is awaiting a new McEwan novel.
It's about Mary and Colin, a dating couple in a stale 7 year relationship. While on vacation in an un-named location, which you are never told where they are but you know they are amongst lots of other tourists, open air cafe's by the ocean, narrow cobble stone streets, ruins and assorted attractions.
One night the couple set out to have a late dinner and become lost. A strange but friendly man named Robert comes to their rescue or so it seems......Robert takes them to a bar which has no food and gets them drunk as he tells them stories about his childhood and his wife Caroline.
Later they run into Robert again and he invites them to his home so he can make up for the other night promising to feed them and introduce them to his wife. That's when ........it all begins........!
I will not give any more away, but Mary and Colin end up recapturing their love only to find themselves involved in something like the "Twilight Zone". I could not put this book down. The ending will amaze you!
For no apparent reason, this encounter rekindles the passion between Colin and Mary, though they studiously avoid discussing the episode and seek to avoid any subsequent meetings with Robert. Inevitably, they do eventually see him again and the results are predictably ugly.
Stories like this one, which require the reader to suspend disbelief as the actors venture further and further into the abyss are extremely hard to pull off, so it's not surprising that McEwan doesn't quite manage it. First off, Colin and Mary are so unsympathetic that, as in The Sheltering Sky which it in some ways resembles, we eagerly await the tourists getting their just desserts. More troubling, Robert, despite his one captivating story, is so obviously shady that Colin and Mary seem totally stupid for getting involved with him. An author can get away with making his characters naive, but at the point where the reader is yelling at them and calling them idiots for following along with the novel's plot, that author has lost control of his own narrative.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Ian McEwan is a master of painting a vivid picture and telling a gripping tale, while not wasting pulp.. Comfort of strangers is an excellent example. Read morePublished on Sept. 23 2003 by Holden
I would guess like many readers I came upon this writer's work when he began receiving international acclaim for his work, "Amsterdam", in 1998 when the novel won The Booker Prize. Read morePublished on Jan. 26 2003 by taking a rest
I just finished this book over the weekend. This was the first time I was reading Ian McEwan and loved it, only because of the simple reason: He writes real well. Read morePublished on Jan. 20 2002 by Vivek Tejuja
I loved the book. Couldn't put it down. Although I didn't feel for any of the characters, I also didn't feel anything against them either. Read morePublished on Oct. 17 2001 by John C. Shaw
Well at least it's short. It's true that if you read just a few sentences you can appreciate the prose style. Read morePublished on Sept. 22 2001
From the back cover, I thought that this would be a book that I could read on a lazy Sunday afternoon in Central Park. Read morePublished on July 23 2001
I think this book is atmospheric and frightening. It is also very ugly. With all the talk about how haunting," and "stylish" the book is, I think it's only fair to warn... Read morePublished on Feb. 22 2001
Stylistically, I've never encountered a writer whose vivid, precise descriptions of the characters' immediate surroundings does so much to illuminate and reflect the characters'... Read morePublished on Nov. 16 2000 by Sam Sohn