The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan

I was encouraged to re-read this short and unsettling novel by a recent visit to Venice. I had never been before and was looking for books about the city. The location is never mentioned in the novel, as it happens, but the descriptions make it impossible that it could be anywhere else.

The story is slightly creepy and the brilliance of the writing lies in the creation of mood and tension. It is a real work of art.

Venice is, in any case, a uniquely ambiguous place. Very beautiful and culturally beyond price; but also faintly menacing – a city of secrets, perceived but not discoverable.

A really excellent short novel. He is a great writer and I have enjoyed several of his books – Atonement, in particular, stands out.

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