Will You Walk Into My Parlor …. THE COMFORT OF STRANGERS By Ian McEwan

Lee Friedlander shadow

It was the word STRANGERS that stood out to me–as I too am a stranger in a strange land, relying upon the kindness of strangers.

I read the blurb on the back which said …

On vacation in a city that may or may not be Venice, Mary and Colin are growing weary of each other, lost among the city’s ancient, endlessly winding streets. Then one night … they meet an enigmatic stranger named Robert.

I was instantly intrigued …

This is an adaptation of the ole’ Spider and the Fly poem–the alluring charms of the parlor, the trap of the unheimlich, the play of power and the death drive. HOME is at the centre of this tale, where its plasticity becomes gothic putty in the hands of Ian McEwan.

The menacing forces of unheimlich are at play, as Mary and Colin (the undead) wander about a city that is both familiar and rendered unfamiliar by remaining unnamed. There is a sense of nightmarish claustrophobia as peripheral predators close in like a hitchcockian noose. It is an erotically spun suspense tale, where one is conscious of an uncanny evil lurking but is still stunned when it launches its attack. It shall leave a taint upon thee.

Enough blablabla, from your friendly neighborhood echo, go read this book.

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