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The Innocentby Ian McEwan
A shrink once told me there's no such thing as an innocent. We're all guilty of some deviance at some level. I like stories where a seeming innocent is put into a situation where his/her naiveté is put to the test, forcing them to reveal sides they never suspected. The Innocent concerns an English military intelligence man assigned to Berlin just after the war, where he finds more depravity than he is equipped to even recognize, let alone navigate. Unwittingly, he sinks into the post-Nazi milieu with youthful gusto, and is nagged by his simplicity for the rest of his life.
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Works as a time bomb, 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
"McEwan...a breathtaking master...has written a blueprint for the future of the genre." Time
"McEwan's name will be on everyone's lips with his startling new novel, an impeccably constructed psychological thriller....McEwan's neat, tensile prose raises this book to the highest level of the genre." Publishers Weekly
"Has the spooky crooked-angled danger-around-every-corner feeling of a Carol Reed film. It reminded me often of The Third Man and that is no mean feat." Jonathan Carroll, The Washington Post Book World
"A crackerjack novel....Make sure the answering machine's up and running before starting this lulu....You're not likely to brook interruptions." George V. Higgins, Chicago Tribune
"A gripping, absolutely unique story of love and suspense that you won't forget." Joseph Wambaugh
"Horrifying, mesmerizing...moves with a nightmarish inexorability." John Gregory Dunne
An impeccably constructed psychological thriller that Time magazine called "a blueprint for the future of the genre."
Leonard Marnham is a postal employee in postwar Berlin, when he is conscripted to do undercover work. Leonard joins a telephone espionage project, the Berlin Tunnel, which monitors calls made from East Berlin to Moscow. While involved with this project, Leonard has an affair with a German woman.
Leonard Marnham is assigned to a British-American surveillance team in Cold War Berlin. His intelligence work—tunneling under a Russian communications center to tap the phone lines to Moscow—offers him a welcome opportunity to begin shedding his own unwanted innocence, even if he is only a bit player in a grim international comedy of errors. Leonard's relationship with Maria Eckdorf, an enigmatic and beautiful West Berliner, likewise promises to loosen the bonds of his ordinary life. But the promise 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.
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