I’ve long enjoyed Ian McEwan‘s works since reading The Innocent many years, and have a number of signed first editions as a result, but I hadn’t read The Comfort of Strangers until I returned from my recent trip.  Now to be fair, nowhere within the tale does he confirm that the setting is Venice, but with a such a unique location there can be no mistake.  Or rather no mistake in identifying his intended setting, but when he writes:

To reach the hotel, it was necessary to walk across one of the great tourist attractions of the world, an immense wedge-shaped expanse of paving, enclosed on three sides by dignified arcaded buildings and dominated at its open end by a redbrick clock tower,

Clock tower?  Clock tower?  Yes there is a clock tower at that end of the Piazza, with an astronomical clock that has starred in a Bond film, but it is neither redbrick nor dominant.  I take it you meant the campanile Mr Mc.  A BELL tower.

Still it was only his second novel.



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