Tom O’Connell's Reviews > The Comfort of Strangers

The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan
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Jan 13, 12

Read in January, 2012

I'm not sure I understood why Collin and Mary act the way they do in the last quarter of this novella. Their ambivalence to looming danger confounded me. At times it felt as though they wanted trouble to find them, and at other times they appeared wary of it. It made the conclusion rather underwhelming; if I'd formed a stronger bond with our hapless leads then I surely would've cared more about the way things go down.

Having said all that, the sense of foreboding was incredible. I was genuinely on edge for most of this book. I knew something fucked-up was going to happen and so braced myself every time Robert was in a scene. Crucially, the disarming stuff doesn't happen right off the bat, so McEwan is free to play with the reader's nerves (the sadistic genius). This tone really was the book's greatest strength.

I consider it inferior to the thematically-comparable 'The Cement Garden', but still a worthwhile addition to the McEwan oeuvre.

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message 1: by Emma (new)

Emma Thank-you Emma!

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