The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan

March 2008

This is a strange little book, and definitely not McEwan’s best, though the first chapter in particular offers a very astutely observed snapshot of a stagnant relationship. Though the name of the city in which the book is set is never mentioned, I instinctively pictured the action taking place in Venice. On the plus side, The Comfort of Strangers nicely evokes an oppressive aura of stultification and a grim forboding which recalls “Don’t Look Now” or “Death in Venice”. On the minus side, I struggled to find a point in the whole book: two people are bored with each other, they meet two other people who turn out to be nasty, terrible things happen, the end. Or maybe the point is that sometimes there is no point…

Further reading…