The Innocent – Ian McEwan

I listened to this one while finishing mindless tasks – like this. I’m becoming quite a convert to audio books. I’ve always liked Ian McEwan – Atonement in particular, so I was keen to try this one. I didn’t enjoy it as much as Atonement, but I didn’t dislike it as much as Solar (here’s that review).

Here is the blurb …

 The novel takes place in 1955-56 Berlin at the beginning of the Cold War and centres on the joint CIA/MI6 operation to build a tunnel from the American sector of Berlin into the Russian sector to tap the phone lines of the Soviet High Command. Leonard Marnham is a 25-year-old Englishman who sets up and repairs the tape recorders used in the tunnel. He falls in love with Maria Eckdorf, a 30-year-old divorced German. The story revolves around their relationship and Leonard’s role in the operation.

This novel had a bit of cold war/spy drama about it, but mostly it was about Leonard and his relationship with Maria. He has quite a vivid fantasy life and it would often lead him astray. For the majority of the story we only have Leonard’s point of view and he is ‘the innocent’. Without revealing too much of the story something happens to Maria and Leonard which they feel needs to be covered up. They attempt to do this, but things go wrong and in an effort to make things right (or at least protect himself) Leonard slips into betrayal. I think the point being just how easy it is for someone to betray them self, friends and country.

Here are some more reviews …  – this is an essay on McEwan and covers many of his novels.

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