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The Comfort of Strangers

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  15,267 ratings  ·  1,289 reviews
"Haunting and compelling." --The Times

As their holiday unfolds, Colin and Maria are locked into their own intimacy. They groom themselves meticulously, as though there waits someone who cares deeply about how they appear. Then they meet a man with a disturbing story to tell and become drawn into a fantasy of violence and obsession.
Paperback, 128 pages
Published November 1st 1994 by Anchor (first published 1981)
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Average rating 3.40  · 
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 ·  15,267 ratings  ·  1,289 reviews

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Paul Bryant
Jun 08, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: novels
This was exactly the novel I didn’t want to read, but at least it’s official now – NO MORE IAN MCEWAN BOOKS FOR ME, EVER. I would like to tell you how stupid this novel is, but Maciek beat me to it – see his great review here

So let me tell you about the boring sentences you have to accept into your life if you read this book. Here’s one:

Now, in the late afternoon, although the sun was still high, the eastern sky had lost its vivid purple and, fading by deg
رجلا كنت ام إمرأة فلتتحفظ قليلا مع الغرباء
اوصي بهذه الرواية لكل من ينوى السفر
افتكر اني قلت لك:بلاش..بلاش تسافر بسبب الملل لأن:الملل هو مصدر كل الخطايا القاتلة
و لا اوصي بالرواية لكل مقدم على الزواج
فهي تنفرك من الحميمية بكل مستوياتها
Commercial Photography
حيرتني كثيرا تناقضات هذه الرواية ؛فدقة السرد و انسيابه و التفاصيل و التدفق البشري التلقائي للمشاعر :مبهر..اما الاخطاء اللا المنطقية في حبكة نصف الروايةالثاني: مفجعة

Commercial Photography

ماري و كولين ثنائي بريطاني ينطلق الي بلد اوروبي مجهول لقضاء اجازة تاركين أبناء ماري خلفهما ..يعاني الثن

As I have taught teenagers the art of writing an essay, and they have taught me the art of detecting a shortcut, I will apply it here (the shortcut, that is), for honestly, the deeply hidden teenager in me tells me that I should not, under any circumstances, waste too much time writing a review of this book. To search for a reasonable plot, characterisation, or purpose (except for cheap voyeurism and violence) is quite futile. I should, however, mark it as read and forgettable befor
Jul 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: inglese

Christopher Walken è Robert, Natasha Richardson è Mary, Rupert Everett è Colin nel film omonimo di Paul Schrader del 1990.

Abitavamo due mondi
le figlie e le madri
nel regno dei figli.

L’epigrafe della poetessa americana Adrienne Rich.

“Ian Macabre” all’ennesima potenza, qui, più che mai, il soprannome di McEwan mi sembra azzeccato.

I quattro i protagonisti, inclusa Helen Mirren nel ruolo di Caroline, la moglie di Robert.

In una città sull’acqua, mai nominata ma nella quale è facile riconosc
Matteo Fumagalli


Una vacanza all'inferno, quella che fanno Colin e Mary, innamoratissimi ma con la passione sessuale non più accesa come un tempo. Un continuo girovagare in una città marittima disorganizzata e senza indicazioni (È Venezia? Il lettore se ne accorge, ma è come se gli stessi personaggi non lo sappiano affatto), un non-luogo torrido, incredibilmente desolante e privo di coordinate come la psiche umana (o di coppia?). Un romanzo psicologico
This was the first novel by Ian McEwan that I've read ages ago. I got a copy from a supermarket sale and read it in a day, wondering all the time how someone could write down so many nasty things and get away with it. Cut me some slack, I was 10.

So, as I sat to rediscover this classic, I hoped to feel at least a fraction of the weird pleasure this novel brought me back then. The thing is short - 120 pages long - and you can easily breeze through it in two hours.

I have to say that this might be M
Glenn Sumi
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yikes. Did I just read that? Or did I dream it?
- thoughts just after finishing The Comfort Of Strangers

3.5 rounded up to 4.

After reading three Ian McEwan novels, each one different but all rather elegant and civilized, I thought I’d try one of his early books, written back when he had the nickname “Ian Macabre.”

The Comfort Of Strangers (1981) is a chilling psychological thriller about Colin and Mary, an attractive, if rather self-absorbed, unmarried couple who are vacationing in an unnamed

I normally don't write negative reviews. But this novel far too long bothered me so I need to get out it of my system. I hope it helps.

Definitely the worst McEwan’s novel I’ve read by now. It’s creepy and stupid. I mean protagonists are stupid and some creepy things happen to them. Probably because they are stupid. Colin and Mary go for a holiday to take some rest, escape ennui and maybe rekindle withered desire. Since I’m generous today I imagine for them Venice, though I don't remember if the
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I seem to be in the minority based on the ratings, but something about this story grabbed me right from the start.  There is irony in the title as the story brings anything but comfort, which may actually be why I liked it.  The characters are rather strange and unlikable, their relationships are strained, and the story reaffirms everything you were taught as a child about not talking to strangers.  An English couple’s holiday takes on an eerie twist when they find themselves lured in by a stran ...more
Sep 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
"The Comfort of Strangers" is the unfortunate combination of two of McEwan's worst books (which were published decades later, obviously): "Saturday" & "On Chesil Beach." It has that PVoAA (Powerful Voice of Authentic Authority), or that I've-published-stuff-now-I-will-see-places-with-the-eyes-of-a-wealthy-man tone. Ya know, the rich who think they're above even common violence (made, obviously, more "horrific" by their occurrence to a man of abundant means, gag). It also has that cringe-worthy v ...more
Oct 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Şimdi, ince bir kitapta spoiler vermeden ne yazacağım bilemiyorum. Colin ve Mary tatile çıkıyorlar, yeni yer keşfediyorlar, keyifliler. Sonra bir çiftle tanışıyorlar ve işin rengi değişiyor. Ne olacak diye beklemeye başlıyorsunuz. Adım adım tahmin ettiğim son gelecek mi diye bekliyorsunuz.
McEwan okumaya, onun karanlık anlatımına alışkınım aslında. Bu kitapta beklentim mi farklıydı bilmiyorum, hoşuma gitti.

"Aslında ona acıyan olsaydı dayanamaz yıkılırdı. Böylece içinde bulunduğu şok durumu sürmü
Mevsim Yenice
Jul 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
İnanılmaz gerildim okurken. Tekinsiz atmosferin içinde dolanırken "hayır ya kötü bir şey olmayacak" diyip durdum. Kendimi sakinleştirmeye çalıştım. Robert tatlı bir adam, Caroline ve ikisi biraz garip yalnızca dedim. Hacimsizsizliğine aldanmamak lazımmış Yabancı Kucak'ın. Son sayfayı okuyup kapağı kapadığımda sarsılmış şekilde kalakaldım olduğum yerde.

Görselliği epey kuvvetliydi romanın. Karakterler, bar, ev, otel, sokaklar, iskele, hepsi capcanlı kafamda. Diyaloglar çok gerçekçi, inandırıcı. Ta
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-fiction
[4.5 stars]

McEwan has a fixation on the intimacy between men and women, both physical and emotional, and he explores that in a fascinating way in The Comfort of Strangers.

The story follows Colin and Mary, a couple who've been together for several years but aren't married, as they spend a holiday in an unnamed city (though it's very clearly Venice—why McEwan chooses to keep this masked intrigues me). They are both quite normal, just as self-absorbed, misguided and flawed as anyone. One evening th
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: inglesi
Colin e Mary sono una coppia di turisti in vacanza. Sono indolenti, vivono le loro giornate fra le lenzuola fresche di un hotel, uscendo la sera a cena, bevendo e fumando qualcosa. Non sappiamo dove sono. Una città che dalla descrizione sembrerebbe Venezia. E ci trascinano nelle loro giornate senza senso, in discussioni silenziose in un tempo immobile, in un’abitudine ai loro corpi che è normalità, piacere, delicatezza e conforto. Ognuno si prende cura dell’altro come sa. La certezza dell’esserc ...more
Feb 14, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021, library
This is a tense, dark and twisted novella. The atmosphere builds from the start. Colin and Mary are a couple on holiday in an unnamed city (although it certainly seems to be Venice). They meet a local couple , Robert and Caroline and the story becomes creepy and strange. I found it extremely difficult to put down, especially the later chapters even though I had seen the film years ago (making it impossible for me to see Robert as McEwan describes him, it was Christopher Walken the whole way). Th ...more
Sep 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone about to go on holiday
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list
We're all going on a (pause) summer holiday. No more working for a week or two....

Or permanently because we make poor choices about accepting cordial invites from complete strangers. What is it about a glass of two of Prosecco on a warm summers afternoon that makes people so trusting of random strangers when they're on holiday? Perhaps we find some of our holiday locations so idealistic and romantic that it's like a fairy tale and so we'll merrily gad about, without a care in the world, believin
May 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mary ve Colin'nin ilişkilerindeki tutku muhtemelen her çiftin sahip olmak için can attığı cinsten. İkisi de oturup düzeyli bir şekilde bir konu hakkında fikirlerini tartışabiliyor, olaylar karşısında yorum kabiliyetleri yüksek, birbirlerine olan sevgileri aşk olarak tanımlanıyor ve saatlerce sevişebiliyorlar. Aralarındaki etkileşimin sonuçları ortaya ideale yakın bir çift çıkmasına sebebiyet veriyor.

Bu tutkulu iki insan gittikleri tatilde şehri keşfediyor, yemekler yiyip içiyor, bolca sevişiyor.
Ana Cristina Lee
Los títulos de Ian McEwan nos suelen enviar en la dirección equivocada: en este viaje no hay placer – o más dolor que placer en todo caso – y no hablemos ya del título inglés The comfort of strangers, ya que los desconocidos no aportan ningún consuelo en esta historia. Más bien el propósito de la narración es crear incomodidad y una tensión que va creciendo hasta el final.

La cita inicial de Cesare Pavese ya nos da la clave de lo que significa el viaje aquí, la ruptura con la normalidad, el queda
Julie Christine
Creepy and spare, this will not be among my favorite of McEwan's remarkable oeuvre. And yet. The Comfort of Strangers was published nearly thirty-five years ago and there is a timelessness about its tone and the shadowy, shuddery story. Perhaps because its setting-Venice (unnamed, but sketched down to the detail of aroma of decay and filtered sunlight)-has not changed. McEwan carefully withheld markers of politics and pop culture, as if somehow knowing the story's potential to live past its Last ...more
Aug 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gran-bretagna
Un romanzo enigmatico e inquietante, che parte lento e sonnolento, nel descrivere la relazione tra Colin e Mary, una coppia che non si parla più eppure ciascuno conosce l’altro almeno come sé stesso, per la lunga e abitudinaria convivenza, in vacanza in una città innominata, dominata dall’acqua –un’acqua stagnante ed immobile come le esistenze dei due protagonisti-. Il racconto prosegue in un’atmosfera onirica, come nel mondo ovattato del sogno fatto di silenzi e di gesti lenti e sguardi muti.
Nov 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novellas, suspense
This is the earliest McEwan work I’ve read (1981). I could see the seeds of his classic themes: obsession, sexual and otherwise; and the slow building of suspense and awareness until an inevitable short burst of violence. Mary and Colin are a vacationing couple in Venice. One evening they’ve spent so long in bed that by the time they get out all the local restaurants have shut, but a bar-owner takes pity and gives them sustenance, then a place to rest and wash when they get lost and fail to loca ...more
Sep 23, 2018 rated it liked it
This is the first half of The Stranger with slightly less philosophy - it makes characterizations through geography and weather; the oppressive heat of summer and the ways it affects the characters and their moods is somewhat of a common theme in both of these.

It is also like The Talented Mr Ripley with its American/English characters in an Italian setting, strong sexual undertones, and disquieting atmosphere. It is more concise and has a bit less backstabbing and manipulating than Ripley, but i
Feb 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well thank the Lord for bulk buying, that's all I can say. A few weeks ago I bought three Ian McEwan volumes. Two books of his short stories and this very short novel or maybe it is a novella. Anyway whatever it is, it was wonderful. Having just finished 'First Love,Last Rites'(FLLR) and been nauseated by the whole sickness of the themes I was very wary of reading anything else by him but as i had bought the three books and as i have always lived by that creed of when you fall off a bike get rig ...more
Apr 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 1001, mcewan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Review of 'The Comfort of Strangers' by Ian McEwan.
Recommended for: Travel phobiacs,Armchair travellers,McEwan fans

Travel advisory by Ian McEwan:

Do not travel.
Do not travel to Venice(& Amsterdam as well).
Do not go to Venice in summer as the soporific  heat dulls the senses & makes you behave like an airhead.
Must have heavy lunch so in case you miss your dinner,you won't go looking for a hotdog stall outside a bar through dark & deserted alleyways.
Better take your children along so you won't find
Feb 04, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italy, read-in-2012
I'm sorry, Ian McEwan, but I don't believe you.

There is nothing about this book that convinces me that any of these people could exist in the real world. I cannot work out how Mary and Colin could be encountered anywhere but in a bad novel. I cannot work out why they - apparently boring, middle class nonentities - would take up with someone who is so obviously a criminal from the first moment that they meet him. I also cannot work out why they would agree to stay at his house and then, after he
Obied Alahmed
Aug 27, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
نجيبها منين ولا منين

من المؤلف اللي مقضيها حشو ولا من المترجم اللي ضيع عباس بدباس

ولا من القصة يلي خبصت المغزى العام بالسادية
Nov 26, 2008 rated it did not like it
As always, Ian McEwan tells this tale with remarkable descriptions, ensuring that the readers see everyone and everything in the novel the way he himself has pictured it. "The Comfort of Strangers", like "The Cement Garden", is a very quick read. However, it fails to captivate its audience. Pretty much nothing happens up until more than half of the book, which almost made me stop reading it out of complete boredom. His characters are lackluster and some parts of the story are pretty vague. McEwa ...more
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Reading 1001: Comfort of Strangers (The) - McEwan 1 6 Mar 14, 2020 02:56PM  

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Ian McEwan studied at the University of Sussex, where he received a BA degree in English Literature in 1970 and later received his MA degree in English Literature at the University of East Anglia.

McEwan's works have earned him worldwide critical acclaim. He won the Somerset Maugham Award in 1976 for his first collection of short stories First Love, Last Rites; the Whitbread Novel Award (1987) and

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