Sweet Tooth: A Novel Hardcover – 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
Serena Frome (rhymes with plume), the gorgeous and intelligent daughter of an Anglican bishop and an ambitious mother, reluctantly studies math at Cambridge. In her spare time, she shines as a book reviewer in a student magazine column called "What I Read Last Week." Frome soon discovers Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and starts writing anti-Communist rants, which get her noticed by Tony Canning, a university professor who becomes her lover. Unbeknownst to Serena, Canning grooms her for a career in the intelligence service with MI-5.
Serena's superiors put her in charge of recruiting young academic and promising writer, Tom Healy, into the program. Of course, she cannot tell Healy that his funds come from MI-5; he believes he is being paid by a cultural foundation. Ultimately, Serena leads a double life with Healy; she becomes his lover but also spies on him for the intelligence service. Meanwhile, she believes she is being followed doesn’t know whom she can trust, especially after she finds out a secret about Canning.
As usual, McWean's spare, efficient prose makes this book both memorable and enjoyable. But it's the author's knack for subtly incorporating the unexpected that makes him truly remarkable. "Solar" featured a faked murder, "Atonement" hinged on a crucial lie, and "Amsterdam" ended in devastation. "Sweet Tooth," too, contains a little surprise that everything turns upon. It not only makes the reader gasp audibly; it brilliantly unites the themes of deception, betrayal and unconditional love.
The end left me deflated. There was no defining closure. I thought maybe even one more page could have allowed a satisfying ending. Then for some reason I flipped back to page 1 & found in the first paragraph how cleverly McEwan had given us the ending we would all be looking for at the very beginning, had we only known.
I found the premise of the `Sweet Tooth' mission silly, but then I'm not up on how MI5 works. Serena is not the most likable of characters. For a pretty, well educated, well read girl from a good family she is very naïve & gullible. She appears as pliable putty falling `in love' with every man that crosses her path. Also the books within the book was a bit tedious. For these reasons the story kind of plodded along, but I couldn't stop reading because of the way McEwan writes. Its conversational prose written in the first person, narrated by Serena, kind of pulls you in & you can't stop.
*Of special interest to me was the way Tom explains to Serena how to `feel' poetry rather than just read the words. (Pg.178). Exceptionally touching & beautifully expressed. It made me want to read some poetry.*
McEwan is a skillful master of words making for me an otherwise absurd story with an unlikable heroine quite readable.
Wonderful pictures of the bed-sit, rain-soaked London of that era..A finely drawn character.
Most recent customer reviews
I'm a fan of Ian McEwan, but then what serious reader isn't. Sweet Tooth was not as good as Enduring Love, Amsterdam or Saturday Night, but it was still good, as all of McEwan's... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Heather Leighton
It surprised me - a pleasure to read from start to finish and it created a spontaneous smile across my face when the plot twist happened - so totally worth the cover price.Published 18 months ago by chris gregory
Not particularly interesting to me. A bit disjointed and goes nowhere.Published 19 months ago by Dolly and me
When is a spy novel not a spy novel? When it’s in the hands of the excellent Ian McEwen, who uses his prodigious writing skill to give us a literary, and very literate, tale of... Read morePublished on Nov. 10 2013 by Gabriel Boutros
This book reminded me of a Harlequin Romance staged at MI5. Serena Frome, the protagonist, loved her sex and just wanted a man. Any man. Read morePublished on Sept. 26 2013 by TBirdVI
If you loved Atonement or Saturday, this book will disappoint you. By any other author, this would be a good book but by McEwan, this book is wanting.Published on Aug. 11 2013 by Mrs Tupper
It is hard to know where to start in reviewing this annoying novel. First, author wants to show off his virtuosity in writing in the first person in the persona of a woman. Read morePublished on July 12 2013 by John F. Brinckman