Hardback: 320 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Jonathan Cape 2012
Source: Tywyn Public Library
First Sentence: 'My name is Serena Frome (rhymes with plume) and almost forty years ago I was sent on a secret mission for the British security service.'
Favourite Quote: “I turned the pages so fast. And I suppose I was, in my mindless way, looking for a something, version of myself, a heroine I could slip inside as one might a pair of favourite shoes.”
Review Quote: What you see is not what you get, and the twist at the end reminds us of how many of this author's works confound readers imaginations... A well-crafted pleasure to read, its smooth prose and slippery intelligence sliding down like cream. (Amanda Craig Independent )
My Opinion: What a great read.
What a great read Ian McEwan's latest novel is, spies and love set in a time of political turmoil in the early seventies. A period I was able to empathise well with as I was working myself during the three day week. From the first page you know the outcome of the story, but there is still a secret to be discovered, McEwan is uses his characters brilliantly in this novel to tell us just how MI5 prompted the cultural cold war.
'Sweet Tooth' is narrated by the female heroine of the novel Serena Frome, the daughter of an Anglican bishop, who during her final year at Cambridge studying for a maths degree, has an affair with an older man. Not such an unusual occurrence but she later discovers that thanks to her lover she was being groomed for a career in the intelligence services, her intelligence and beauty making her the perfect spy! The world is divided by 'The Cold War' and the government of the time wants to give financial but secret aid to promising young writers that will boost the anti - communist propaganda.
Serena as an avid reader is seen as the perfect choice to be sent on a secret mission, code named 'Sweet Tooth' to infiltrate herself into the literary circle of a promising young writer, Tom Haley. Her task is to gauge his suitability for such financial aid. Serena discovers that at first she loves Tom's writing and of course approves him, however she had not reckoned on falling in love with him. What will she do, whom can she trust and will she be able to keep her secret life from the man she has fallen for?
Once again another brilliant novel from Ian McEwan, a clever and ingenious story with plenty of intrigue, that will satisfy his fans and maybe attract new ones. Do give it a try.
Sweet Tooth - Reading - Ian McEwan
Ian McEwan introduces Sweet Tooth
My previous reviews for Amsterdam, Atonement, On Chesil Beach, Saturday and The Cement Garden were written for Bookcrossing before this Book Review blog was in existence.
Photo Credit: Annalena McAfee
Ian McEwan was born on 21 June 1948 in Aldershot, England. He studied at the University of Sussex, where he received a BA degree in English Literature in 1970. He received his MA degree in English Literature at the University of East Anglia.
McEwan's works have earned him worldwide critical acclaim. He won the Somerset Maugham Award in 1976 for his first collection of short stories First Love, Last Rites; the Whitbread Novel Award (1987) and the Prix Fémina Etranger (1993) for The Child in Time; and Germany's Shakespeare Prize in 1999. He has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction numerous times, winning the award for Amsterdam in 1998. His novel Atonement received the WH Smith Literary Award (2002), National Book Critics' Circle Fiction Award (2003), Los Angeles Times Prize for Fiction (2003), and the Santiago Prize for the European Novel (2004). He was awarded a CBE in 2000. In 2006, he won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his novel Saturday and his novel On Chesil Beach was named Galaxy Book of the Year at the 2008 British Book Awards where McEwan was also named Reader's Digest Author of the Year.
McEwan lives in London and is currently writing a new novel. His most recently published work is For You, a libretto.
Photo and Biographical Information is with thanks to the following sites where you can also find out more about the author and his writing.