The Innocent has been published with a number of different covers, trust me to buy the least interesting (the one on the right). Book covers are important but in this case had no influence on me, I was buying for the author.
It's sort of an espionage story, set in divided West Berlin during the 1950's. I was there as a teen-ager some time later so I decided I had to read this particular book. The setting is pretty real, a city still struggling to recover from the second world war, whilst suffering under the domination of the cold war. Although set before the Berlin wall was built, it felt familiar enough, I'd seen the check-points, the bomb sites. The main character is Leonard, a GPO technician seconded to work on a top secret project in the American sector of the city. I won't tell the story, impossible without spoilers.
The Innocent is very well written, as all McEwan's books are, he's a professional in every sense. The narrative is tense, a very good story. It does take a bit of digesting... hmm. Maybe digesting is the wrong word. Is it a good read? Oh yes, definitely but maybe don't read the second half just after a large meal.
Has it restored my faith in the author? Yes, it has. Although a very different story it takes me back to his first book, The Cement Garden which was also about innocence.