The Comfort of Strangers

  • by Ian McEwan
  • Narrated by Simon Prebble
  • 4 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author Ian McEwan has won the Booker Prize, Whitbread Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award for his masterfully accomplished fiction. The Comfort of Strangers is an exquisitely crafted gothic novella. On holiday, Colin and Maria wander the ancient streets of Venice and frequently lose their way. When they are accosted by a man with a strange and alluring story to tell, they soon become entwined in a fantasy of violence and erotic obsession.


What the Critics Say

"Haunting and compelling. (The Times)
"A masterful performance..." (AudioFile)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Mysterious, bizarre

A couple visits a famous tourist city (unnamed in the novel) and become victims of a deranged man's fantasies. Much of the novel is written with oblique descriptions, but there is nevertheless a sense of dark suspense that builds. I would not say this is one of McEwan's finest novels. If you're a fan, it's definitely worth the read!
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Very Odd

I'm really not sure what to make of this one. If I hadn't known from the reviews and description that something dreadful happens, I would have thought the first three-fourths of the book to be dull and pointless. Since I did know, it did have a kind of creepy suspense, waiting for the axe to fall.

However, when it did finally fall, it was kind of anticlimactic. The whole book has a surreal and detached feel-- good for building suspense, not so good for really feeling the horror when it happens. That same detachment made it hard to really get involved with the characters, which also lessened the impact of the climax. At the end, I blinked, scratched my head, and said "Hunh. Well... I guess it's time for the next selection!"

It's short, so if you like odd stories and subtle horror it might be worth the risk. Just don't expect too much.
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- Kristi

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-20-2004
  • Publisher: Recorded Books