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The Comfort of Strangers
The Comfort of Strangers | Ian McEwan
6 posts | 19 read | 9 to read
Colin and Mary are lovers on holiday in Italy, their relationship becoming increasingly problematic as they become increasingly alienated from one and other. They move from place to place in this foreign land but seemingly without aim or purpose and more, seemingly bored and without attachment. Then they meet a man named Robert and his wife, Caroline, who is crippled. Colin and Mary seem happy for the diversion--happy to meet another couple that takes the focus of off them (off of each other) for a while. Things become strange (and stranger yet; one could say horrific) when they attempt to leave: Robert and Caroline insist that they stay with them for a while longer. While Mary and Colin indeed rediscover each other in ways during this time--an erotic attraction to each other that was below the surface--they also find that their relationship/friendship with Robert and Caroline takes turns that are likewise erotic and violent in nature. A pervasive dread runs through this novel, leading to the terrible climax that no reader could predict. Absolutely in the key of McEwan, without match in the genre, and a very worthwhile read.
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McEwan has written books that I have loved. Sadly this was not one of them. Less than a 150 pages the bulk of this book is boredom coupled with increasing dread leading to a completely unsatisfying ending.

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This will be my shortest review ever.

What a load of 💩.

Libby1 Your thoughts, @LeahBergen ? 2y
LeahBergen I liked it!! 😂😂😂 2y
DivineDiana Yikes! 2y
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britt_brooke I‘ve never read this, but your review is 😆😆! 2y
Tamra Bahahahaha Ok, now what do you really think? 😂 2y
readingjedi Great review! 🤣 2y
jhod 😂 2y
Ms_T 🤣🤣🤣 2y
tournevis 👍👍👍👍 2y
erzascarletbookgasm Your review 😆 2y
Anna40 😁 oh no! That sounds really bad! 2y
Libby1 @DivineDiana , @britt_brooke , @Tamra , @readingjedi , @jhod , @Ms_T , @tournevis , @erzascarletbookgasm , @Anna40 - I‘ve loved the 2 other McEwan books I‘d read. The characters in this one had no motivation for what they were doing and the ending was gratuitous and ridiculous. What did you think, @LeahBergen ? Feel free to chat with spoiler markers if you‘d like. 😃 2y
LeahBergen It was definitely out there! 😆 I think I read it at the exact moment in time that I needed to be shaken up by a bizarre little read with a 1970s gothic/horror movie feel ... and a WTF-crazy-violent ending. But that‘s just me. 😂😂 2y
Libby1 @LeahBergen - excellent! I can see it appealing to some people! I suppose my reaction was because my first McEwan book was The Children Act followed by Nutshell, and this was my first foray into his earlier work. I loved those two so I had high expectations. Glad you enjoyed it! 2y
83 likes14 comments
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This one is really trippy so far.

Men with girlish legs. Hangovers. Tight, shiny black shirts. Naked yoga on marble floors.

Where on EARTH is this going?

I think you should be glad I didn‘t choose this one for the #1001bookswap @TrishB , @jhod , @Balibee146 , @Teakillamockingbird ! 🤭😬🙄

We‘ll have to compare notes on weirdness after I finish it, @LeahBergen .


TrishB Why does it now sound compelling..... 2y
ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled I remember this being a weird one! 😬 2y
Balibee146 😁😁 2y
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Libby1 @TrishB - I can send it to you with the next parcel if you‘d like. Then you can throw it across the floor or do origami with its pages or burn it. @ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled and @Balibee146 - I‘m grateful it was only 100 pages so at least I finished it. I usually have a loose rule about giving a book 100 pages before I bail! 2y
TrishB As I‘ve just now read the blurb I think I will decline and spend my 100 page read elsewhere 😂😂 2y
Libby1 @TrishB , @Balibee146 , @Teakillamockingbird , @jhod - does everyone have their first book for the #1001bookswap ? I sent mine out to @TrishB but I haven‘t received one yet. Does anyone know who was meant to send one to me? 1y
Balibee146 @Libby1 was it me sorry.... I'm behind with everything 😢 1y
Libby1 @Balibee146 - don‘t worry! I‘m actually not sure who it is. Don‘t fret my pet. Was there an email that told you who your person is? 1y
TrishB I would need to look at the email again! I sent mine to @Teakillamockingbird but it got lost in the post! I have just brought it again and will send at the weekend. I have yours @Libby1 but haven‘t read it sent yet until my first one gets there! 1y
Balibee146 @Libby1 I'll need to dig out our email chain.... Fairly sure it's me.... Not quite finished my book as got sidetracked. Sorry.... Can have it ready to go by Tuesday next week as working all week and weekend too. Hope that's okay 🙁🙁 1y
Libby1 @Balibee146 - that‘s TOTALLY OK. Don‘t stress about it! Which book are you sending again? Please don‘t feel pressured. ❤️ 1y
Balibee146 @TrishB what a bummer. I revived mine from @jhod and starting in next week or two.... I've been doing most of my reading in car (I spend hours there for work though not driving lol).....not great for making legible notes 😕 1y
Balibee146 Oh and thanks @Libby1 for your reassurance xx 1y
Balibee146 @Libby1 thanks hun it's The Player of Games by Ian M Banks... I same author as @TrishB but with his Sci fi head on (and the M in his name) 👍 1y
Libby1 Oh no, @TrishB ! 1y
TrishB @Balibee146 @Libby1 Ali- yours is to Libby! But don‘t worry cos I‘m behind now too!! We said a book a quarter so as long as first one goes/read by end of June all is fine 😁❤️ 1y
Balibee146 Cheers @TrishB 😘😘 1y
Libby1 Thanks, @Balibee146 ! Yes, I agree, @TrishB . No stress! 1y
TrishB @Libby1 I‘m not bothered about re-buying the book but I did loads of notes 😔 and there‘s no way I can remember all them! So it will be a short summary! 1y
jhod @TrishB @Balibee146 I haven't received one from @Teakillamockingbird yet either - but now I know we don't need to send again til the end of June I can relax! Sorry yours got lost Trish! 1y
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This is a creepy book for sure. I read it quite slowly, did want to treasure every word of it. All have a meaning, whether it is about Mary and Colin's relationship, Venice or about meeting Robert and Caroline. You feel the tension building up, without understanding what's actually happening. Definitely one of McEwan's best. #booker #1001books #manbooker
Picture: Venice

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Not sure whether to give this a Pick or a So-so. It is beautifully written, but took a disturbing turn and was fairly upsetting in the end.

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Jane says "Back to the library." #returns