HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Sweet tooth by Ian McEwan
Loading...

Sweet tooth (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Ian McEwan

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,534None4,782 (3.56)99
Member:catalib
Title:Sweet tooth
Authors:Ian McEwan
Info:Toronto : Knopf Canada, 2012.
Collections:Your library
Rating:*1/2
Tags:None

Work details

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan (2012)

1970s (26) 2012 (27) 2013 (45) 21st century (13) book club (9) Britain (12) British (27) British fiction (11) British literature (15) Cold War (60) ebook (16) England (51) English literature (17) espionage (69) fiction (230) historical fiction (25) Kindle (10) literary fiction (11) literature (24) London (18) love (12) MI5 (40) novel (33) read (17) read in 2012 (9) read in 2013 (18) romance (8) spy (41) to-read (80) UK (9)

None.

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 99 mentions

English (94)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  German (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (103)
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
Given that I took a day and a half to read Allegiant, Ian McEwan's Sweet Tooth took way too long for me to finished. It's only 301 pages. The reason is I felt that Sweet Tooth was trying to be many things at once and became a bit schizophrenic: all the voices were coming in at once and everything was becoming confusing and disorientating.

If you wanted a spy thriller, you would be severely disappointed because this novel has to be one of the world's most boring spy thriller. The main character is Serena Frome. She is described as a very pretty blonde. Her younger life is unremarkable. Serena is the oldest of two and her father is a bishop. She is freakishly fast reader, reading three or four novels in a week. It's because of this talent that she wants to get a a degree in English but her mother wants her to get a degree in Mathematics because it's more practical.

This is where Serena's life gets more interesting. It is when she gets to college she meets her first college boyfriend named Jeremy. Later, Jeremy turns out to be gay but they remain friendly. It is through Jeremy that she meets Tony Canning, an elderly married tutor. Those two begin an affair. Canning ends the affair abruptly but recommends her for a government job that turns out to be a front for MI:5.

Because of the time period, women don't really get to go as far as men do up the ladder but after some time, Serena is approach with a job called Operation Sweet Tooth: a mission to recruit a novelist who has experience journalism to cultivate for the govenment's needs or something like that. Problem is Serena begins to fall her mark, Tom Haley, and that changes her life in more ways than one.

If you wanted a detailed telling of British affairs and politics between the late 1960s-early 1970s, you would have loved it because I learned a lot more about England during the Cold War than I ever thought could. It was actually one of the things I liked about the novel. What I didn't like about the novel was everything else. I thought Serena was an awful fictional human being. She was vapid and shallow and she was practically good for nothing except to sleep with men and complicate matters for herself.

I could not empathize with her because she was horrible and boring. I didn't care about her plight or anything else that happened to her. Personally, she reaped what she sowed. The true reason why I didn't give Sweet Tooth a one star was because the last 20 pages or so were decent and gave a reason why Serena's whole dull narrative took place. If I'm getting totured, at least tell me why. ( )
  Y2Ash | Apr 16, 2014 |
Given that I took a day and a half to read Allegiant, Ian McEwan's Sweet Tooth took way too long for me to finished. It's only 301 pages. The reason is I felt that Sweet Tooth was trying to be many things at once and became a bit schizophrenic: all the voices were coming in at once and everything was becoming confusing and disorientating.

If you wanted a spy thriller, you would be severely disappointed because this novel has to be one of the world's most boring spy thriller. The main character is Serena Frome. She is described as a very pretty blonde. Her younger life is unremarkable. Serena is the oldest of two and her father is a bishop. She is freakishly fast reader, reading three or four novels in a week. It's because of this talent that she wants to get a a degree in English but her mother wants her to get a degree in Mathematics because it's more practical.

This is where Serena's life gets more interesting. It is when she gets to college she meets her first college boyfriend named Jeremy. Later, Jeremy turns out to be gay but they remain friendly. It is through Jeremy that she meets Tony Canning, an elderly married tutor. Those two begin an affair. Canning ends the affair abruptly but recommends her for a government job that turns out to be a front for MI:5.

Because of the time period, women don't really get to go as far as men do up the ladder but after some time, Serena is approach with a job called Operation Sweet Tooth: a mission to recruit a novelist who has experience journalism to cultivate for the govenment's needs or something like that. Problem is Serena begins to fall her mark, Tom Haley, and that changes her life in more ways than one.

If you wanted a detailed telling of British affairs and politics between the late 1960s-early 1970s, you would have loved it because I learned a lot more about England during the Cold War than I ever thought could. It was actually one of the things I liked about the novel. What I didn't like about the novel was everything else. I thought Serena was an awful fictional human being. She was vapid and shallow and she was practically good for nothing except to sleep with men and complicate matters for herself.

I could not empathize with her because she was horrible and boring. I didn't care about her plight or anything else that happened to her. Personally, she reaped what she sowed. The true reason why I didn't give Sweet Tooth a one star was because the last 20 pages or so were decent and gave a reason why Serena's whole dull narrative took place. If I'm getting totured, at least tell me why. ( )
  Y2Ash | Apr 16, 2014 |
I love Ian McEwan, but this, his latest, novel is not for the first time reader.It is full of literary pyrotechnics that will probably confused those who are not familiar with his work.

Serena Frome (rhymes with Plume) is a the daughter of an Anglican bishop who has, at her mother's insistence gone up to Cambridge to study mathematics instead of reading English, which she most certainly prefers. Once there, she finds that her early talent for maths was just that - a minor talent - but she doggedly caries on earning an undistinguished third upon graduation. She does, however, have a talent for attracting men, one of whom is an older professor with whom she has a bittersweet affair the summer after she has graduated.

While the affair ends badly, he gets her recruited into MI5 where after languishing for months as a glorified file clerk, she gets assigned to "Sweet Tooth," the agency's scheme to recruit writers and pay them through a front foundation to write articles, stories and novels that will be a counterpoint to the prevailing left-leaning literature in Britain in the 1960's and 1970's.

Serena is sent to recruit a doctoral candidate at the University of Sussex, Tom Haley, (a stand-in for McEwan himself) and, of course, they promptly fall into bed and then into love, much to the chagrin of her MI5 handlers.

The story is advanced through a literary conceit of Tom's short stories that are altered versions of McEwan's own works of the period and the author's former publisher, his former editor and his old running buddy, Martin Amis all put in appearances as characters in the book. The setting in the bad old days of Britain in the 1970's is evocative, but unexplained, so if the reader is not familiar with the events of those years, he or she would do well to bone up on them.

I had figured out who the bad guy was in this piece well before the end of the book, but the reveal in the last chapter was still a surprise. This may be one of those books, full of literary tricks that Serena would have despised, but the "happy ending" would probably make her smile. I hope so. ( )
  etxgardener | Mar 12, 2014 |
For book club. Almost painful to read it was so awful. I would give it a zero rating. Gives women a negative image in the 60s and 70s and has the main character with a Daddy complex. Really terribly depressing. I would not ever read this author again and I didn't finish this book.
  hklibrarian | Mar 6, 2014 |


I'll have to think about this. My first reaction is 2 stars. I might change that.

January 16 ~

Okay, I've thought about it and my star rating remains at two stars. The following are my reasons why:

- First, I want you to know I am an Ian McEwan fan, but this book disappoints. I find all the characters glib, unlikable and unbelievable, full of themselves, predictable and boring. The writing seems, to me, to be self-conscious and contrived and the narrative is sterile, lacking any warmth. Sweet Tooth takes place in the London of the 1970's. The Cold War is ever present. Serena Frome, fresh out of Cambridge becomes a spy for the British government. She has not a whit of common sense. Strange that she managed a degree from Cambridge. She is passive, incredibly immature, and constantly looking for her next sexual liaison. Sound like a MI5 operative to you? Certainly not to me. She is asked to take part in an operation named “Sweet Tooth,” which involves using a 'foundation' to cultivate writers who will help with the West's propaganda machine against Communism. Because Serena has an abiding love for (sort of) literature she is sent to cultivate a young author named Tom Haley, who has published some short stories and other writings but is in need of cash to continue his work. They have an affair, fall in love, and talk about fiction and writing. Here we are fed bits and pieces of Tom's writings. This is a clever, annoying trick that somehow wants us to think about love, art, life, and how it might all relate to spying.
In the end we have a spy novel with no mystery, and a love story with no romance. It is utterly forgettable.



( )
  m2snick | Feb 19, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
A satisfying spy novel with a literary twist provides both surprises and sly references to McEwan's early work
 
Ian McEwan has never been a spy (or, if he has, that fact remains classified), but of today's novelists he may be the most uniquely suited to the profession. He has a scientific, technical mind drawn to structural ploys and complicated scene engineering. . . . Mr. McEwan likes manipulating readers as much as plots. . . . Ultimately, like his bloodless previous novel, Solar (2010), there is little point to Sweet Tooth beyond Mr. McEwan's low-level authorial deceptions. . . . The book is soon overwhelmed by its own narrative ruse, which revealed in the final pages, is clever but not meaningful.
added by sgump | editWall Street Journal, Sam Sacks (Nov 13, 2012)
 
In playing these mirror games, Mr. McEwan seems to want to make the reader think about the lines between life and art, and the similarities between spying and writing. He also seems to want to make us reconsider the assumptions we make when we read a work of fiction. As usual his prose is effortlessly seductive. And he does a nimble job too of conjuring London in the 1970s — with its economic woes, worries about I.R.A. bombings and uneasy assimilation of the countercultural changes of the ’60s. These aspects of “Sweet Tooth” keep the reader trucking on through the novel, but alas they’re insufficient compensation for the story’s self-conscious contrivance and foreseeable conclusion.
 
The combination of all these nose-tapping hints suggests to the alert reader that there’s something clever-clever coming along at the end, which makes it feel even more like a gimmick. I won’t spoil things if you’re going to read the book, but just remember that one of the central characters is a novelist. OK?
 
But Sweet Tooth – which has been misleadingly hyped as a thriller – is a different kind of work altogether. It’s McEwan’s version of metafiction, his exploration of what it could mean to write a postmodern-realist novel for a wide (mainstream and literary) readership. It’s also rather biographical. . . . . but this novel could be seen as his way of reaching beyond the easy labels without abandoning the style his readers love. He’s intelligent, has popular and literary appeal, manages credibly and interestingly to include politics in his writing, and has a gift for making an enormous range of readers feel as though he is writing about them, about their own particular life of the mind. He observes the tiny tragedies of growing up and growing old with humour and insight.
 

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ian McEwanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Verhoef, RienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
If only I had met, on this search, a single clearly evil person.
Timothy Garton Ash, The File
Dedication
To Christopher Hitchens
1949-2011
First words
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.  I didn't return safely.  Within eighteen months of joining I was sacked, having disgraced myself and ruined my lover, though he certainly had a hand in his own undoing.
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Blurbers
Publisher series
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

Recruited into MI5 against a backdrop of the Cold War in 1972, Cambridge student Serena Frome, a compulsive reader, is assigned to infiltrate the literary circle of a promising young writer whose politics align with those of the government, a situation that is compromised when she falls in love with him.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
2 avail.
537 wanted
5 pay3 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.56)
0.5 1
1 8
1.5 4
2 30
2.5 17
3 127
3.5 67
4 160
4.5 26
5 52

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 89,470,147 books! | Top bar: Always visible