The Innocent by Ian McEwan

About the book

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.

Reviewed by BBC Boater’s Book Club:

Generally it was considered that the book reflected the times well with good characterisations. It was well written and everyone wanted to finish it.

Star rating: *** to ****

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3 thoughts on “The Innocent by Ian McEwan”

  1. Review by Hayling Island U3A Reading Group:
    Well written and plotted tale of naive young man caught up in first romance and espionage in post-war Berlin. Slow start, but worth the read
    Star rating: ***


  2. Review by CC Readers Group:
    Good story; everyone found the gory description of Otto’s dismemberment too upsetting to read. Gripping to the end – raised questions about who was ‘The innocent’. Excellent descriptive writing, but would you recommend someone to read it for enjoyment?
    Star rating: **+


  3. Review by Anton Bookies Reading Group:
    A book of its time (1990’s). The violence in it was unnecessarily graphic and did not enhance the story.
    Star rating: **


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