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The Comfort of Strangers (Vintage International) (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

In this, his second novel, Ian McEwen grabs his readers and pulls them head first into this gripping and seductive story. Set in an unnamed city (likely, Venice), he introduces us to Colin and Mary, an unmarried couple who are on holiday. Non-communication has made their days long and mundane, until one night, while walking through the city, they meet Robert and then the next day his wife, Caroline. As he takes us deeper into the story, it becomes evident that things aren’t as Colin and Mary first thought. What happens when you get drawn into the “comfort of strangers”? To find out, you MUST read this. Although somewhat disturbing, the prose is beautifully poetic and hypnotic. And, although short, should not be read quickly. Savor his writing!


— From Kathy


A vacationing English couple find more than they bargained for, in this unsettling novel from the Booker Prize-winning author ofAtonement.
Visiting an unnamed city, Mary and Colin attract the interest of Robert, a charismatic older man with a story to tell. But the more they get to know Robert and his disabled wife, Caroline the more apparent it becomes that there's something not quite right about their new friends. A shocking work of violence and obsession, The Comfort of Strangers is Ian McEwan at his very best.

About the Author

Ian McEwan is the bestselling author of seventeen books, including the novels Nutshell; The Children Act; Sweet Tooth; Solar, winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize; On Chesil Beach; Saturday; Atonement, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the W. H. Smith Literary Award; The Comfort of Strangers and Black Dogs, both short-listed for the Booker Prize; Amsterdam, winner of the Booker Prize; and The Child in Time, winner of the Whitbread Award; as well as the story collections First Love, Last Rites, winner of the Somerset Maugham Award, and In Between the Sheets.

Praise For…

"As the best young writer on this island, McEwan's evocations of feeling and place and his analysis of mood and relationship remain haunting and compelling."—The Times

"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

"His writing is exact, tender, funny, voluptuous, disturbing."—The Times

"The Maestro."—New Statesman

"McEwan has—a style and a vision of life of his own...No one interested in the state and mood of contemporary Britain can afford not to read him."—John Fowles

"A sparkling and adventurous writer."—Dennis Potter

“Haunting and compelling.” –The Times

“McEwan, that master of the taciturn macabre, so organizes his narrative that, without insisting anything, every turn and glimpse is another tightening of the noose. The evils of power and the power of evil are transmitted with a steely coolness, and in a prose that has a feline grace.” –Observer

Product Details
ISBN: 9780679749844
ISBN-10: 0679749845
Publisher: Anchor Books
Publication Date: November 1st, 1994
Pages: 128
Language: English
Series: Vintage International