The Innocent

by Ian Mcewan

Bantam Books | July 1, 1995 | Mass Market Paperbound |

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The setting is Berlin. Into this divided city, wrenched between East and West, between past and present; comes twenty-five-year-old Leonard Marnham, assigned to a British-American surveillance team.

Though only a pawn in an international plot that is never fully revealed to him, Leonard uses his secret work to escape the bonds of his ordinary life -- and to lose his unwanted innocence.

The promise of his new life begins to be fulfilled as Leonard becomes a crucial part of the surveillance team, while simultaneously being initiated into a new world of love and sex by Maria, a beautiful young German woman. It is a promise that turns to horror in the course of one terrible evening -- a night when Leonard Marnham learns just how much of his innocence he''s willing to shed.

Format: Mass Market Paperbound

Dimensions: 288 Pages

Published: July 1, 1995

Publisher: Bantam Books

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0553565540

ISBN - 13: 9780553565546

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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The Innocent

The Innocent

by Ian Mcewan

Format: Mass Market Paperbound

Dimensions: 288 Pages

Published: July 1, 1995

Publisher: Bantam Books

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0553565540

ISBN - 13: 9780553565546

From the Publisher

The setting is Berlin. Into this divided city, wrenched between East and West, between past and present; comes twenty-five-year-old Leonard Marnham, assigned to a British-American surveillance team.

Though only a pawn in an international plot that is never fully revealed to him, Leonard uses his secret work to escape the bonds of his ordinary life -- and to lose his unwanted innocence.

The promise of his new life begins to be fulfilled as Leonard becomes a crucial part of the surveillance team, while simultaneously being initiated into a new world of love and sex by Maria, a beautiful young German woman. It is a promise that turns to horror in the course of one terrible evening -- a night when Leonard Marnham learns just how much of his innocence he''s willing to shed.

About the Author

Ian McEwan is the bestselling author of more than ten books, including the novels The Comfort of Strangers and Black Dogs, both shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Amsterdam, winner of the Booker Prize, and The Child in Time, winner of the Whitbread Award, as well as the story collections First Love, Last Rites, winner of the Somerset Maugham Award, and In Between the Sheets. He has also written screenplays, plays, television scripts, a children's book, and the libretto for an oratorio. He lives in London.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

From Our Editors

"A brutal tour de force that somehow ascends from horror to a promise of goodness and grace". -- Michael Ondaatje, author of The English Patient

Editorial Reviews

"Works as a time bob, waiting to go off... A tour de force of horror and philosophical suspense."

-- The New York Times

"So exhaustively suspenseful...it should be devoured at one sitting." -- Newsweek

"A gripping, absolutely unique story of love and suspense that you won''t forget." -- Joseph Wambaugh

"McEwan...a breathtaking master...has written a blueprint for the future of the genre." -- Time

Bookclub Guide

1. Who are the innocents in this novel? Countries? Individuals?2. In many ways, innocence is a state to be much desired. As such, do people and countries always pay a price for their innocence? Put another way, is loss of innocence, by its very nature, always painful?3. At one point, Leonard describes Americans, noting, "He had seen grown men drinking chocolate milk...they were innocent....They had these secrets and they had their chocolate milk" (page 187). Talk about the difference between the British and the Americans in this novel.4. Glass tells Leonard, "[E]verybody thinks he has the final story. You only hear of a higher level at the moment you're being told about it" (page 16). Discuss this as a key to the novel.5. Early in the novel, Glass says that it is secrets that make us conscious, that make us individuals, summing up, "Secrecy made us possible" (page 44). Talk about this as a theme in the novel.6. Leonard helps kill a man, but it is in his near rape of Maria that his state of mind is truly malevolent. Is state of mind, more than actions, a barometer of guilt? 7. Discuss the logic in Maria's statement, after she and Leonard have killed Otto, "[I]f we are going to lie, if we are going to pretend things, then we must do it right" (page 186). Is morality an absolute?8. Near the end, Leonard longs to tell his story, confess his guilt, and explain the step-by-step progression that led to dismembering Otto. Maria does do this and in not telling Leonard of her confession, she is loyal to Glass, not Leonard. Is it this betrayal that keeps them apart?9. Talk about the end of the novel, and about Leonard's wish to come back to Berlin with Maria before the Wall is torn down. Will he get to Cedar Rapids, Iowa? Will they return to Berlin together?

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