The Innocent (1990) is in many ways a simple spy novel, a thriller written in straightforward prose. When published it was McEwan's most successful novel to that date. The novel is set in postwar Berlin at the time of “Operation Gold” (1955-6), the attempt by the British and Americans to tunnel into the Soviet sector and infiltrate communist communication systems. In this novel, as well as focussing on the actual Berlin Tunnel built by MI6 and the CIA, McEwan breaks the fictional frame by introducing the figure of George Blake, the double-agent who, in real life, betrayed Operation Gold before it started. The book is concerned with the postwar world (and the world of McEwan's childhood) and the struggle, after the war, between East and West and the opposed political philosophies…

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Citation: Childs, Peter. "The Innocent". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 January 2001 [, accessed 11 December 2023.]

505 The Innocent 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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