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- Publisher: Random House Inc
- Format: Paperback | 288 pages
- Dimensions: 132mm x 196mm x 28mm | 249g
- Publication date: 1 January 1999
- Publication City/Country: New York
- ISBN 10: 0385494335
- ISBN 13: 9780385494335
- Edition statement: Anchor Books.
- Sales rank: 329,331
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.
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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.
"Never less than wholly entertaining." --"The Wall Street Journal" "Deft, taut fiction. . . . Many English writers have been compared to Evelyn Waugh, often wrongly, but this book can stand with the master's best." --"Time" "So exhaustively suspenseful that it should be devoured at one sitting. . . . McEwan fuses a spy-novel plot with themes as venerable as the myth of Adam and Eve." --"Newsweek" "Has the spooky, crooked-angled, danger-around-every-corner feeling of a Carol Reid film. It reminded me often of The Third Man and that is no mean feat." --Jonathan Carroll, "The Washington Post Book World" "Powerful and disturbing . . . a tour de force." --"The New York Times"
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. "From the Paperback edition.