Ian McEwan, The Comfort of Strangers

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In several ways, McEwan's second novel seems to follow on from his first, The Cement Garden (1978), about a family of children living alone after the deaths of their parents. The central couple of The Comfort of Strangers (1981), Colin and Mary, are so close they could almost be brother and sister, and they sometimes find it difficult to remember they are separate people. Holidaying on the continent, they sleep in the afternoon, communicate without talking, and do not even have the energy or motivation to tidy their hotel room. They revert to a child-like state, dependent on their hotel maid: “they came to depend on her and grew lazy with their possessions. They became incapable of looking after one another.” Where Jack and Julie in the earlier novel are adolescents who…

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Citation: Childs, Peter. "The Comfort of Strangers". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 January 2001 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=1228, accessed 08 December 2023.]

1228 The Comfort of Strangers 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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