The Comfort of Strangers is McEwan's sophomore novel (or novella if you prefer) and it shows; in positive and negative ways. This isn't a proper review, but rather a few observations on this story and the writing of McEwan.
When I wrote about On Chesil Beach a couple of months I mentioned the "two wonderfully crafted characters and the peculiar realtionship that they engage in" as one of its premiere qualities. There's no doubt in my mind that McEwan is a master in describing relationships between people. He manages to maintain their identity, but also how the relationship can confine their identity.
In The Comfort of Strangers the relationship between Mary and Colin is perhaps not as exquisite as in On Chesil Beach, but is once again interesting and engaging. To me it is clear that The Comfort of Strangers is very noticeably an early work of the author. Some of the writing is heavy-handed. Some of the foreshadowing is clumsy and the counterparts of Mary and Colin, Robert and Caroline, are at times grotesque but also somewhat flat. It's an uneven work but it does show glimpses of the brilliance that is yet to come.
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