In comparison to the rest of Ian McEwan’s formidable catalog (Atonement, Saturday and Enduring Love among others)  The Innocent ranks more as a mid-level, three star novel but judged on its own I found it to be smart, insightful and of course very well-written. It was the perfect book to read while spending a week in Berlin and helped give me a glimpse of the city at the height of its paranoia before the wall came down. McEwan has slowly become one of my favorite writers and certainly one of the most dependable. He has a writing style that is practical while remaining highly literary. This book in particular is very straight-forward as he lets the characters, setting and situation push the plot along at an almost mundane pace but then quickly shifts gears in the final few chapters as Leonard’s world starts collapsing around him – at times literally. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this book is McEwan’s decision to illustrate a little-known part of Cold War history through a young British innocent who falls in love with his job, the city and a local woman before seeing it all turn into a nightmare due to the events of a single night.

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