Monday, February 26, 2007

much better

Ian McEwan's 'The Innocent' is an atonement for Atonement as far as I am concerned.

Berlin 1956. Ten - eleven - years after the end of the war. The cold war is beginning to extend its icy grip all over Europe. An English post office employee, Leonard Marnham comes to the American sector in Berlin as a small - a very small - cog in a large espionage wheel.

After a slow start, The Innocent held my attention tight, to the very end. As tight as Otto squeezing Leonard Marnham's balls.

The descriptions of the couple in love - English Leonard and German Maria - brought back some yearning, though I like to think myself past that stage - I am not really. Everyone wants to walk hand in hand through some beautiful city in Spring. So do I, even now. Which makes me realise, when is a book best enjoyed? When it brings back some sparks from the past, some vague longings you never knew you had, some fleeting feelings you recognise....

McEwan is devious in the way he unfolds the plot. By the time Leonard decides to turn informer for reasons quite unconnected to patriotism, you'll be left shaking your head at it all.

And yes the epilogue. As I've mentioned earlier in this blog, I'm no longer the patient reader I was. I like my stories tied up neatly for me, thank you very much, John Irving. I don't have the energy to interpret an author's nebulous conclusions.

Yes. Much better, indeed.

1 comment:

Gungho Monk said...

Shailaja.....i thought you write only advtg copy !!!! Actually if you want to read the best book reviews...acerbic the late m.krishnan nair...his collection of books amounted to almost 7000 (he had read all of them !! ) and were recently gifted to a library ...ems library at kakkanad...he used to write weekly columns in kala kaumudi...