The Comfort of Strangers

The Comfort of Strangers➷ [Reading] ➹ The Comfort of Strangers By Ian McEwan ➬ – On holiday in an ancient city Colin and Mary are irritable The heat is oppressive They are growing weary of each other tired of roaming the endlessly winding streets One night they set out late in sea On holiday in an ancient city Colin and Mary are irritable The heat is oppressive They are growing weary of each other tired of roaming the endlessly winding streets One night they set out late in search of a restaurant and lose their way in the town’s narrow shadowy passages Suddenly Robert appears before them Forceful insistent he leads them through the city and away from their ordinary lives—foreverIan McEwan is a master of the fascinating the erotic the horrifying His story is dangerously intimate bizarre yet through his skilled telling inevitable The Comfort PDF or It is as irresistible to the reader as Robert and his enigmatic wife Caroline are to Colin and Mary. 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 herehttpswwwgoodreadscomreviewshowSo 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 degrees through nursery blue to diluted milk effected across the precise line of the horizon the most delicate of transactions with the pale grey of the seaThis is I take it what people mean when they harp on about the Ian McEwan prose style It looks to me as if Mr McEwan has broken in to James Ellroy’s office and stolen all James’ commas Never have I seen so many clauses and commas in one short novel For me the effect is akin to reading through a stocking mask the kind that robbers used before they all switched to balaclavas Especially when our prose stylist is continually dementedly describing the weather the streets of Venice or the furniture in the rooms Ah how he loves furniture Cutlery too You can tell this is pretentious I mean literary because although it’s set in Venice the V word is never mentioned By now I have realised what Ian McEwan’s USP is What he does is he describes in tedious detail a couple of ordinary novocained middle class English types in an ordinary situation and just when you’re dozing off he has a page of lurid violence Sometimes the lurid violence comes at the beginning sometimes in the middle and here at the end Here’s another McEwanbite for you I think this is the way dead people would write if they could In the evening they decided they were suffering from lack of exercise and made plans to catch the boat across the lagoon the next day to the popular strip of land whose beaches faced the open sea This led them to talk at length and euphorically for they had just smoked another joint about swimming their preferred strokes the relative merits of rivers lakes swimming pools and seas and the precise nature of the attraction water had for people was it the buried memory of ancient sea ancestors? Talk of memory caused Mary to frown again The conversation became desultory after that and they went to bed earlier than usual a little before midnightNotice “the popular strip of land whose beaches faced the open sea” – he can’t give it its name which would be the natural thing to do because for some reason of high literature he has decided not to say that the city with its canals and no traffic is Venice So he has to use this forced circumlocutionThis novel means nothing It portentously gestures towards some kind of statement critical of men who think that women really like to be beaten up and by extension how feminism is destroying life as we know it but the denouement capsizes any attempt to make sense of the plotThis novel promotes yet another version of the concept that some victims actively participate in their own destruction Why do they do this? Well who knows not Ian McEwan that’s for sure They just do Too much novocaine maybe I am promoting the idea that readers can do without Ian McEwan IntroductionAs 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 uite futile I should however mark it as read and forgettable before I forget it again So here is the review with uotes and allTeacher’s note and feedback Do not speak of yourself and your experience in the introduction remain neutral Student’s reaction “I am not neutral”Main Body Teacher’s note and feedback Do not call the main body of your essay main body come up with something telling Student’s change “The Novel” For my essay I will use two significant uotes from the novel and paraphrase them to match my reading experience Teacher’s note Try to find a subtle transition from introduction to main part Student’s uestion Why? And how?uote 1 from the text“She sleepwalked from moment to moment and whole months slipped by without memory without bearing the faintest imprint of her conscious will ” Paraphrase to explain reader’s experience“She sleepwalked from page to page and whole chapters slipped by without memory without bearing the faintest imprint of her conscious will ” Teacher’s note Can you explain that in detail please? Student No I have forgotten the restSecond reference from the text as reuired in the rubric“What tended to happen to Colin and Mary at least was that subjects were not explored so much as defensively reiterated or forced into elaborate irrelevancies and suffused with irritability” Paraphrase“What tended to happen reading McEwan at least was that subjects were not explored so much as defensively reiterated or forced into elaborate irrelevancies and suffused with irritability” ConclusionI think this student has studied Ian McEwan enough to make the decision to give it up entirely for the time being and to explore other realms of literature from now on There is not much to hope for His novels are a mixed bag some are tolerably good others are interesting at least and some are just plain forgettable The last two or three I read were of the forgettable kind and there is just too much good stuff to read out there to repeatedly engage in “reiterations of elaborate irrelevancies” Ten or eleven of Ian McEwan’s novels are than enoughNote from student to teacher I fulfilled the rubric so you will have to give me the marks And it is okay to present your own opinion in the conclusion You said so yourselfNote from teacher Be careful to consistently use formal language Grade and individual detailed feedback will be returned after Christmas breakStudent Oh come onTeacher I am a human being as well and need my weekendsStudent Unreliable statement lacking evidenceTeacher These kids nowadays leave me speechless but they are entertaining than the novel I just read I wonder if my Student Alter Ego even read it?Student No Teacher Alter Ego I did not For if I had I would have told you that it is not for students gratuitous violence unmotivated random story lines superficially shockingTeacher Alter Ego Fair enough is would not have been possible to make a proper characterisation or plot analysis either as the protagonists are completely unrealistic who would follow a stranger to his house and listen to his stupid life story and then return despite clear indications that he is brutal and manipulativeStudent Alter Ego My point precisely I stopped listening to him and went home before it got creepyTeacher Alter Ego Good then we don’t have to add spoilers How are we going to rate it?SAE The book I haven’t read you mean?TAE But I have unfortunately side effect of the profession So?SAE Give it 2 stars then It is not as bad as The Alchemist or The Da Vinci CodeTAE Good point 2 stars But no recommendation 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 10So 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 hoursI have to say that this might be McEwan's darkest book but it's also his most nonsensical beating even the infamous On Chesil Beach NOTHING in this book makes any sort of sense whatsoever and the plot can be best described as two morons go on a holiday where they meet two crazy people who do horrible things to them for no apparent reason McEwan can write and the best thing about this novel is his prose but unfortunately he proves that he can write about nothing in particular and not only get away with it but also win accolades for his fictionAmazingly impropable plot developments the couple goes to the beach when the sky is completely overcast and is even described as being blackthe bars are closed at 9PM in a big city and when the couple find a bar the waiter refuses to serve them water combined with amazingly stupid and inconsistent character actions the man our couple meets is a thug with a gold chain who shares on the spot the story how his father abused his siters and how they took revenge of thim which included a lot of feces and turkish rugs AND THEY GO AWAY WITH THIS DUDE TO HIS HOUSE it's true check for yourself combined with a lot of calculated creepy stuff thrown in for further shock value the man tells the girl that he'd like to bind her to a machine that would constnatly penetrate her body even after her death and she tells him that she'd like to cut his limbs off and keep him for sex AND THESE PEOPLE HAVE CHILDREN thank God this is fiction combined with a lot of schtooping and booze the two lovers eat practically nothing sleep in the streets drink gallons of alcohol and when they get back to a hotel they make sweet and passionate love for like FOUR DAYS what was McEwan thinking?All of this is written in McEwan's cool detached prose with not a smile in sight which leads me to the interpretation that he was writing this as a satire of some sorts a black comedy a spoof daring the reader to laugh out loud But the back blurb speaks about an elegant and miniature gothicsmooth and classy and McEwan himself stares at me with his confident serious look from the author portrait which means that both he and the readers actually took this stuff seriously How they could is beyond me Is everyone stupid? Maybe the paragraph where the man reveals the fact that he feels an emptiness between his scrotum and anus was to be taken as the power of evil? Or when they find themselves naked in the house of the guy they've meet the feces guy and accept his dinner proposition is to be taken as erotic menace? I don't known Stupidier things happened to people but nowhere you'll find a cumulation of them embarassingly put together than in The Comfort of Strangers Yikes Did I just read that? Or did I dream it? thoughts just after finishing The Comfort Of Strangers35 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 city that has all the old world markers of Venice One night while looking for a restaurant they get lost in the narrow labyrinthine alleys and run into Robert a gruff older man who grasps them a little too tightly and leads them to a bar After a long night at the bar which it turns out Robert owns and a surreal early morning spent wandering around in a daze they once again run into the man Coincidence? Creepy? Whatever Robert appears friendly and invites them to his spacious home which he shares with his nervous wife Caroline who’s got a mysterious disability I won’t reveal what happens next but I will say that you’ll be reading between the lines uestioning the older couple’s motives and the younger couple’s naivete A weird whiff of sexual and erotic menace hovers over much of the second half of the book; at one point the tourists wake up naked in a strange bed and Colin’s forced to either wear a woman’s nightie or a towel This book threw me off balance Several times especially from the midway point onwards it felt like the narrative ground beneath me was shifting It didn’t help that Colin and Mary seemed to have no one they could talk to It made me wonder whether this was an allegory about relationships and alienation And you might want to consider the title of another famous novella set in this same city Hint it’s written by a Nobel winning German authorI’m not convinced this was the best use of McEwan’s talents Of course he would go on to much greater acclaim a few years later But there are a couple of seuences including a long extended story that Robert tells about his father and the horrific climax which we’ve been dreading for chapters that are simply transfixing I’ve only been to Venice once but if I ever return this sinister book will be rattling around in my head if I ever find myself lost and trying to get back to my hotel Mio dio I hope that never happens 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 helpsDefinitely 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 name of the city was even mentioned Anyway on the spot they’re wandering drinking a lot making love Typical holiday stuff During their tours through the city they're constantly losing their way what probably had to herald impending disaster they meet a mysterious man Robert who offers them his services as a guide Charismatic and persuasive stranger is he really that one or maybe our dorks to crown it all are blind ones? invites them to his residence where they will meet his physically disabled wife Caroline And instead of take to their heels one could see there was something wrong coming a mile off our lovers accept invitation It's hard to perceive every stranger as a pervert or psychopath with an axe but a bit common sense didn’t do harm to anyone yet But well if stupidity had wings these two would fly as turtledoves The comfort of strangers is one of the earliest McEwan’s works but we already can discern here typical to his writing obsessions that would become his hallmark Dash of macabre menace uirk meanness and surreal aura; though to his credit in his later works these ingredients are much better balanced This one was promoted as mixture of thriller and study of dark sides of human psyche Well unfortunately to me it was unreliable repulsive and unimaginable display of stupidity and cruelty I found it calculating with the aim of shocking a reader well done Mr McEwan and depressing as fuck But written as usual with impeccable somewhat impersonal and cold prose Thus two stars 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 stranger after becoming lost  What follows is twisted and disturbing but had me completely mesmerized and having read some of Ian McEwan’s other books I knew he had a tendency to take the story into some bizarre territory  The ending was very creepy but I think it was the sinister tone and slowly built tension that will stay with me  Four stars for the thrill of the suspense and not being able to put it down  Thanks to my local used bookstore for recommending this book Review to come 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 horrific by their occurrence to a man of abundant means gag It also has that cringe worthy vanillaness exemplified rather well in On Chesil Beach There are also two lovers in this one; like on Chesil Beach you couldn't give a rat's ass about either one of 'emMcEwan's description impeccable obviously uickly becomes a banal thing and before you pooh pooh it think also that at a scant 127 pages the dude shoulda minimal CAPTIVATED us It's as if McEwan lost track of his plot we get we get it the randomness of events that occur to the average and I must emphasize AVERAGE tourist means basically a looser script a venture toward a certain plotlessness and lashing out in strong but overdoingit strokes his belting out of description description DESCRIPTION establishes an ambiance that hinders the main characters themselves Our dislike is a uick but lasting thing Like imagine for a sec that Virgil was a dullard in the Inferno Dante's enterprise would've collapsed There are certain entities that take our hands to take us places and I believe it is intolerable to make them dunces dullards or pure FillersLike who cares? shall be the overwhelming and haunted thought reoccuring in your brain throughout as you try to figure out why this book is anywhere near the Great Works at all Is it? It's on the 1001 list so yes Overwhelming I guess in the sense that apathy is overwhelmingly sad futile and UN ARTISTICWith The Comfort of Strangers we begin to form the ugly side of the poetics of this gifted British author When his books are interested in things the narrative becomes vile; when there is no interest for Emotion or Depths in said objects hell even the vase in Atonement is a murky symbol of past bourgeoisie lifestyles collidingbreaking with the harsh pullings of war but it remains a murkyish symbol nonetheless the uality of novel really does sufferComfort is all about the brutal nature of strangeness yes people bad stuff happens Even if you do have the privilege of traveling throughout European cities and dark avenues for an entire month even then bad stuff can happen to you 45 starsMcEwan 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 StrangersThe 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 uite normal just as self absorbed misguided and flawed as anyone One evening they get lost amongst the city's many small alleys and meet a man named Robert who takes them to a bar his bar which he fails to reveal until later and eventually to meet his wife Caroline After this brief encounter some unusual situations occur and things eventually meet uite a dramatic ending I won't say much else because if you're like me you will be utterly transfixed by this story And as it's rather short you won't want to put it down until you turn that last pageMcEwan is a masterful storyteller Somehow he manages to maintain brilliant writing complex themes well crafted characters and a thrilling story It's bizarre and baffling and honestly kept me on my toes throughout I think with time and consideration I've literally just finished reading it this could be a 5 star read for me And it gives me even faith in picking up of McEwan's works We're all going on a pause summer holiday No working for a week or twoOr 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 believing that no harm can befall us Yeah right pay attention people Murder on the orient express? Amity Island in Jaws? Cabin Fever? The Beach? Any of these things ringing a bell? Whether you're enjoying some uiet time by the ocean on a cruise or simply enjoying the back woods in butt fuck nowhere with your drunken jock friends beware YOU ARE NEVER FAR FROM A PSYCHOIan McEwan likes to play on these kinds of fears and lets face it with psychos aplenty roaming the highways and byways of our fair planet he is planting these little worry seeds in pretty fertile ground The Comfort of Strangers is a warning to all overtly trusting day trippers euro hounds and lovers of the city breakAt first I didn't have much interest in the two primary characters but by Chapter 4 I was despite myself really enjoying this book Initially Mary and Colin seem smug and dull They come across as vain and their relationship appeared to be based on neediness rather than love like two whiny puppies pawing at each other for affection and attention However the way they interface with their holiday environment in a nameless place but descriptions suggest Venice is how many people have experienced a foreign city McEwan does an excellent job of capturing the tiredness even despair you can sometimes feel when lost in a foreign place That exact moment when a holiday ceases to be fun and becomes like an endurance test Enter the new friends; welcoming and there to lend a guiding hand Or are they? As usual McEwan provides a twist in the tale It's his literary raison d'etre after all Better than On Chesil Beach but not as good as the Cement Garden

The Comfort of Strangers ePUB ↠ The Comfort  PDF or
  • Paperback
  • 127 pages
  • The Comfort of Strangers
  • Ian McEwan
  • English
  • 04 October 2016
  • 9780140112832