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Sweet Tooth: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, November 13, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
Serena, as complex a character as any of Henry James` women characters, is forced by her mother to study math at Cambridge while her real love is literature, specifically fiction. "My mother told me she would never forgive me and she would never forgive herself if I went off to read English and became no more than a slightly better housewife than she was." She also is quite adept at getting into relationships that have no future although she soldiers on in her story that is set right in the middle of British politics in the early 1970's. (Serena votes for Wilson for prime minister.Read more ›
On the surface, the plot seems to belie this strategy. Set in the 1970s, its first-person narrator is a young woman who, after graduating from Cambridge with a degree in mathematics, is recruited by MI5. Although women are usually handed MI5's lowliest tasks, Serena is given a break: she is assigned to an operation called Sweet Tooth, which provides covert funds to authors who have an established anti-communist bias. As such, Serena recruits Tom Haley, a budding young writer with whom she soon begins an affair.Read more ›
He doesn't truly grasp the context, yet soon after, he pens a story, donating her definition of probability to his key character. "At one level, it was obvious enough how these separate parts were tipped in and deployed. The mystery was in how they were blended into something cohesive and plausible, how the ingredients were cooked into something so delicious," Serena reflects.
Sweet Tooth is a reader's book and a writer's book. At its heart is invention; the logic that defines the outer world is sublimated into the author's vision of that world. It works beautifully and is, in my opinion, perhaps the most satisfying book that Ian McEwan has ever written. With masterpieces to his credit like Enduring Love, Saturday, Atonement, Amsterdam and others, that says a whole lot.
The plot incorporates elements of a classic spy story. Serena Frome is a beautiful and brilliant Cambridge student who is recruited to join the British M15 in the early 1970s during a jittery time in the country's history. Her special mission is to infiltrate the literary circle of an up-and-coming writer and essayist, Tom Healy in a psych-ops mission. To say much more would be to spoil the pleasure of discovery.
Suffice to say this: along the way, Mr. McEwan treats us to stories within stories. All of these dazzling stories carry within them the seeds of a future novel. Each is a polished little gem.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed seeing 1972 through a British spy's eye, as I remembered my version of the same timeframe in America.Published 21 hours ago by Kathleen Herman
I liked it. It is a little slow starting but now I think the author does that for good reason. It builds steadily and has a terrific ending.Published 2 days ago by Jd Smythe
McEwen is a master trickster. The novel you think you are reading turns out to be another one written by a character. Both are great. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Jan Wojcik
This book wasn't for me. Kept waiting for something to happen and it never did.Published 19 days ago by cath brown
An ornately presented tale of Serena Frome’s two short honest love affairs, and her extended duplicitous relationship that occupies most of the novel. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Dennis Zeunert
Wonderful twists and turns in the novel. Well written with a great ending.Published 1 month ago by Nelson A. Toner
Sweet Tooth begins brilliantly, then settles into a sort of pleasant tedium, bouyed along by McEwan's consistently masterful use of English language. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Dr. Wigglesworth
I'm just a fan of his and have read most of his work. Loved the characters complete with deceptions and frailties.Published 2 months ago by G. Molina