The Innocent by Ian McEwanThe Innocent by Ian McEwan

The Innocent

byIan McEwan

Paperback | August 5, 2014

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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.
IAN MCEWAN is the bestselling author of 14 books, including the novels The Children Act; Sweet Tooth; Solar; On Chesil Beach; Saturday; Atonement, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the W. H. Smith Literary Award; The Comfort of Strangers and Black Dogs, both shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Amsterdam, winner of the ...
Title:The InnocentFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:240 pages, 7.9 × 5.1 × 0.66 inShipping dimensions:7.9 × 5.1 × 0.66 inPublished:August 5, 2014Publisher:Knopf CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0345809653

ISBN - 13:9780345809650


Rated 4 out of 5 by from McEwan nails the ending! The Innocent by Ian McEwan is one of his earlier novels (his fourth of fourteen, in fact) and is about a young man (25 years old), named Leonard, who is part of an effort in the west of post-WWII Berlin to burrow a tunnel to east Berlin to tap the phone lines of the Russians. As you might expect from that description, the novel takes place in the mid 1950s, and in typical McEwan fashion there is a strong love element involved in the story. Leonard meets a German woman named Maria on one of his days off and a relationship ensues. Also in typical McEwan fashion, the relationship becomes particularly fraught. The details of this are central to the plot of the novel and I would highly recommend you read this book to find out what they are. I guarantee you will not be able to stop reading (also the book is relatively short at just over 200 pages, so that helps too). While this was not one of my favourite McEwan novels (I was about to give it only three stars), the ending is perfect and encapsulates the feeling I am looking for when reading a McEwan novel. If you are a fan of McEwan’s novels that focus more on the romantic elements, such as On Chesil Beach or Sweet Tooth (and probably Atonement, but I’ve only seen the movie version and haven’t read the book), then The Innocent (which I just noticed is subtitled “The Special Relationship”) is for you.
Date published: 2017-12-07
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Starts very well, then becomes too contrived I have a half-dozen McEwan books, and I have loved all of them... but not this one. Character development starts well, as usual with McEwan, but then his 'normal' characters suddenly act in a most abnormal, almost ghoulish way. Simply not believable; Leonard would have relied on British and American authority to 'put things right'. And then there are the too-convenient critical coincidences: First, Leonard, for no good reason, is given Level 4 security clearance, which only serves to further the plot; second, there happens to be another traitor, also nicely located to further the plot; and, finally, a letter that in the real world would have ended up in a dead-letter office doesn't. Sorry, but McEwan is too clever by half in this concoction of coincidences. As a reader I disliked the degree of contrivance.
Date published: 2015-05-14

Editorial Reviews

"A topical and brutal tour de force that somehow ascends from horror to a promise of goodness and grace." Michael Ondaatje"Pure literary pleasure . . . . it's McEwan's fascination with the inner sources of cruelty and conquest that gives The Innocent its frightening vitality." LA Weekly"Deft, taut fiction. . . . Many English writers have been compared to Evelyn Waugh, often wrongly, but this book can stand with the master's best." TIME"Never less than wholly entertaining." The Wall Street Journal"Powerful and disturbing . . . a tour de force." The New York Times"Impeccably constructed. . . . Though its plot rivals any thriller in narrative tension, this novel is also a character study--of a young man coming of age in bizarre circumstances." Publishers Weekly