The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan

The Steel Review

The Comfort of Strangers

I found The Comfort of Strangers to be the most uncomfortable Ian McEwan book I’ve read, which is really saying something. It’s his second novel, written after The Cement Garden, and together they earned him the title of Ian Macabre. I didn’t have a problem with The Cement Garden, but I didn’t really enjoy reading The Comfort of Strangers at all.

The novel begins with a couple, Mary and Colin, on holiday. The book is mainly about their relationship which seems to be getting a little tired, but they do the usual sightseeing and meet Robert, a local man, and his disabled wife. Meeting these two somehow seems to revive Mary and Colin’s relationship, but it gets a bit sinister when they discover that Robert and his wife have a sexually violent relationship, and that Robert was responsible for his wife’s injuries. Robert develops a weird obsession with…

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