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Innocent (Anglais) Broché – 3 septembre 1998

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"To call The Innocent a spy novel would be like calling Lord of the Flies a boy's adventure ensure McEwan's major status" (Sunday Times)

"The sheer cleverness of the book is dazzling, and only fully to be appreciated as you turn the last page: but then cleverness is a real virtue here, the best guide possible to the questionable territory between innocence and whatever comes after" (London Review of Books)

"It's the most tightly plotted of Ian McEwan's novels, and to argue properly for its excellence would involve showing how the political and emotional themes are inseparable from its narrative ingenuity, the patterns of revelation and about-turn which mark its final pages" (Jonathan Coe Guardian)

"Generous in scale, simple in its hideous impact...Ironically, he has celebrated the obsequies of the East-West spy thriller by writing one of the subtlest" (Mail on Sunday)

"Deft, taut fiction... Many English writers have been compared to Evelyn Waugh, often wrongly, but this book can stand with the master's best" (The Times)

Présentation de l'éditeur

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.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 123 commentaires
43 internautes sur 45 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The thrill lies not where you expect 14 août 2005
Par I. Martinez-Ybor - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
McEwan creates well the atmosphere of a post-war, pre-wall Berlin, amplifying our imaginings. The interaction between Brits and Americans is full of subtle humor, and as it later turns out, great regard and humane understanding. The narrative is smooth and concerns an everyman, virgin, British geek assigned to an American intelligence project consisting of building a tunnel crossing the border into the Russian zone to tap underground phone cables through which presumably important matters are discussed (remember, we are in 1948, almost a decade before Sputnik). Love interest and sexual education is provided by an experienced German girl to our Brit, the virgin geek. The writing is so smooth that one doesn't realize one is turning pages and reading on at a rate as if one were reading a chock-full-of-events thriller when in fact not much is really happening; the tunnel is just chugging along. But McEwan is a "smooth operator" and he is moving you along, hinting at tension, to the point you are expectant of actions or revelations in the intelligence component of the novel to pop-up any minute and throw everything topsy-turvy.

Rest assured McEwan is too smart to do that. Nothing happens as such that you are aware of for three quarters of the book until our everyman, the somewhat endearing British geek is plunged into a grand guignol not of his making and totally alien to the place where you would have expected the excitement you were owed to come from.(After all, you bought the book and it was sold to you as a thriller, and after all, it takes place in thriller-city and all major protagonists except two are freeks and geeks and goons and guards mostly in uniform and with varying levels of security clearance in the intelligence services of the powers which split this city. At times it looks as if each agent has his little black book which lists the interests they are called uypon to protect, investigate, eliminate, whatever, and thus move quickly about, talk with other similar blokes and keep moving about. The Tunnel provides a country-club of sorts for those connected with the project. There are body parts indeed, but they do not come from there.

So, much activity occurs in our atmospheric tunnel, yes. But nothing happens there really. The unwelcomed death occurs elsewhere, has nothing to do with Military Intelligence. The neatly wrapped body parts do not bring the Tunnel down, it's the disguise they wear. But the story does not end there.

Many years later a mature, no longer virginal Brit geek comes back to Berlin, post wall, to revisit sites, and carries with him a letter explaining what precipitated events at the tunnel and freed him of any trace of guilt, if any such he held.

The explication at the end of the book is clear, surprising, and truly closes the nattarive in an intelligent, satisfying way.

Endearing Love, after such an unforgettable opening and the obsessive development remains my favourite McEwan novel so far. Saturday is contrived, feels Thatcherite and stacked against the lower orders. Nonetheless I appreciated the medical tracts. (It's up for a Booker). In short, I liked "The Innocent" Better.
21 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
NOT your usual Ian McEwan book 19 juin 2004
Par Peggy Vincent - Publié sur
Format: Broché
This is a really unusual book, esp coming from a writer of Ian McEwan's stature. It's part psychological horror, part espionage, part mystery, part coming-of-age, part character study - and it's splendid.
Set in 1954 in Berlin, before The Wall was built, it's the `true' story of the construction of a secret spy tunnel so the Brits and the Americans could spy on the Russians, whom they no longer trusted. Much to his surprise, Leonard Marnham, an extraordinarily innocent and naïve British postal technician, is recruited to participate in this top-secret operation. A virgin at age 25, Leonard falls in love with a pretty German divorcee, and his initiation into the pleasures of a sexual relationship follows. The couples becomes engaged, but their world collapses into macabre horror on the night of their engagement party. The 80-plus pages that follow this horrific event are gruesome and spell-binding at the same time in a way that only a superb writer could possibly handle.
The ending, leap ahead 30 years to 1986, feels a bit contrived and distanced, esp after the intense and personal material that's just been revealed.
At its best, it rivals Pulp Fiction and Fargo for explicit shock value. At its worst...well, it doesn't have a `worst.' It's really, really good.
But: Ian McEwan???? Who knew?
16 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A startling and fascinating tale 14 juin 2005
Par Michael Schau - Publié sur
Format: Broché
The term "breath-taking" is one that book reviewers toss about with more ease than readers believe. but McEwan's post-war/thriller/romance can leave you breathless as it slips cannily from the everyday to the astonishing. People who could not imagine being caught up in webs of intrigue and deception find their lives turned topsy-turvy in most imaginative and startling ways. The more I read of the McEwan list the more I am amazed by his artistry, and variety of plot and characters. Every bit as fine a read as "Amsterdam" and "Atonement."
14 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Persuasion Enough 27 octobre 2001
Par peter wild - Publié sur
Format: Poche
The story first (because McEwan - unlike Amis and Rushdie and even Barnes - is first and foremost a storyteller; his great skill with words ably assists that task but it never gets in the way).
Berlin. A short time after the second world war. Leonard Marnham (an Englishman away from home - his mother, his father - for the first time in his short life) is our narrator. He is part of a project to dig a tunnel from what is termed American soil through to what is termed Russian soil, the intention being to place various taps on the Russian communications systems. He also has to contend with the rivalry that develops between English and US officers. Alongside all of which, he meets and falls in love with a German girl called Maria.
The project - Project Gold - was in fact a reality. It occurred, in much the same way recounted in the book. Leonard and Maria are fictions. The fact and the fictions weave a merry dance, but that is beside the point.
What is the point - and the point that should encourage you to read (and not just read this - read pretty much everything by Ian McEwan, bar "Amsterdam" which is weak) - is the skill which he brings to bear in creating images that remain with you long after you finish reading. Time after time (the balloon chase in "Enduring Love", the throat cutting in "The Comfort of Strangers", the soldiers brain seeping from beneath poorly fixed bandages in "Atonement", the dismemberment of a corpse here, in "The Innocent") you are left with a clutch of significant, striking, visceral images (images that often remain after other books rob you of a clear memory of the twists and turns of the plot).
What is also interesting (in the light of the success of "Atonement", specifically) are the number of methods McEwan employs more than once, in different books (the aforesaid grotesque dismemberment and its "Atonement" echo with the soldier's brains, the way Leonard returns to the scene of the crime, as Briony returns to the scene of the crime in "Atonement", that kind of thing).
All of which is by the by. What is important, at the end, is this: aside from writing great books, with great stories, containing great writing, McEwan somehow manages to both transport you and leave you where you were. You are transported, compelled, forced to read on (even when that does not seem the wisest course - dismemberment, again). At the same time, you sit back there, in your seat, wherever you are, thinking to yourself: this guy is good. You italicise the "good" in your head. This guy is "good". Drawn out over three or four syllables.
"The Innocent" is as good as the other novels (and better than the short stories, which always struck me as exercises), and that should be persuasion enough.
18 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
I have conflicting feelings about this book 27 avril 2005
Par clifford - Publié sur
Format: Broché
This is such an old school novel. I was thinking for the first half that it bore a striking resemblance to the better Graham Green. But as I kept working my way through the pages, the laconic prose kept putting me off. Don't get me wrong, the pages in this book flow like a molasses dream. But the story builds so slowly that it becomes frustrating. The main character is not very intelligent, and as a reader you will be jumping ahead of him, screaming at him like he was the blond bimbo in a horror flick to run out of the house. So as the story builds at its slooooow pace, and the `unsophisticated postal technician' Leonard Marnham frustratingly gets batted about like a moth in a box, we are left not as entranced readers, but as frustrated onlookers. That is my main beef with this story. I could not enjoy myself spending time with this character or the circumstances. McEwan did a remarkable job in writing this and pacing the story, he just never gave us a character that we as readers could relate to.

I have never read McEwan before, and I am looking forwards to trying my hand at another of his novels. It was courageous on his part to create such a novel as this, and I respect him greatly for doing so. But I just don't think that this book worked very well.
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