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Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan (2012)

  1. 00
    Too Bad to Die: A Novel by Francine Mathews (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: A tense and enthralling historical thriller in which British Naval Intelligence officer Ian Fleming attempts to foil a Nazi plot to assassinate FDR, Churchill, and Stalin.
  2. 11
    The Unwitting by Ellen Feldman (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: The same general topic from a different angle.
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Showing 1-5 of 138 (next | show all)
Stilted, one-dimensional protagonist. This was not my favorite McEwan book. ( )
  maryhollis | Feb 20, 2017 |
Read in January 2013, will wait till after book club to write a review

According to the goodreads star system 1 star = did not like...so this book gets one star. Plodding and uninteresting. As a book club member I feel a responsibility to finish a book that's been chosen, otherwise this one would have been abandoned. Not recommended. ( )
  janb37 | Feb 13, 2017 |
It is interesting that, except for near the end, the short short-stories within the story were more intriguing than the book's narrative. ( )
  jack2410 | Feb 2, 2017 |
The only previous McEwan novels I have read are [b: Atonement|6867|Atonement|Ian McEwan|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320449708s/6867.jpg|2307233], [b: On Chesil Beach|815309|On Chesil Beach|Ian McEwan|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1436962381s/815309.jpg|1698999], and [b: Saturday|5015|Saturday|Ian McEwan|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1431501825s/5015.jpg|2307189], both of which were skilled in the use of different voices, narration styles, and content. As reading McEwan is like opening up a box of chocolates and wondering what you'll get, (excuse the Forrest Gump idiom, but it works here), and Sweet Tooth is no different.

The plot starts out slow and the minute detailed descriptions of Serena's coming and goings get to be too much, but the masterful work is at the end how McEwan pulls everything together. (I should add I really liked the ending.) Everything is paced and plotted wonderfully; the framing really works here and makes the story more interesting as you push through.

That's it downfall: The beginning seems muddled and messy but as you plow through, you get the sense of what McEwan is going for. ( )
  byshieldmaiden | Jan 17, 2017 |
McEwan's latest is a combination spy and love novel. I didn't think the prose was as richly beautiful as in Atonement, but it was a decently engaging novel and I liked the metanarrative twist at the end. ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 138 (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 (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ian McEwanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Balmelli, MauriziaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Verhoef, RienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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If only I had met, on this search, a single clearly evil person.
Timothy Garton Ash, The File
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To Christopher Hitchens
1949-2011
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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.
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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)

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