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Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan (2012)

Recently added byCydMelcher, private library, orangemonster, stratlib, seapetal, KLMC, yvkoh, AnnCos
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Showing 1-5 of 118 (next | show all)
Spies, love, literature – I was in heaven and loved this book! Sorry, no plot lines from me because I don’t want to give anything away. This is a classic novel that fits right in with my “perceptual bias” category. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Reading a book by McEwan is never a waste of time but there are several I could recommend reading before this one. Atonement, Amsterdam, Enduring Love, And Saturday were all better reads. ( )
  Lynsey2 | Jan 15, 2016 |
This is a 3 . Nice book on edge of spy and "art." Where is art and where is life? Not a new trope. But McEwan did it nicely. Applaud the book. Listened on audible. ( )
  idiotgirl | Dec 25, 2015 |
I read this book for my book club and finished it, but otherwise probably would not have. The "mission" that Serena Frome was assigned seemed like "much to do about nothing." I would have preferred a coming of age story for a vicar's daughter in the 70's that wasn't complicated by her MI5 assignment. I guess I have trouble believing that a government would fund writers to create works to influence a political philosophy in their society. Isn't it more expedient to just run TV commercials? Ha ha. ( )
  readyreader | Dec 15, 2015 |
This is probably not Ian McEwan's best book, but it is still very, very good and a very enjoyable read. The plot is very clever with lots of twists and turns as befits a setting within the world of MI5. The female protagonist is engaging, if occasionally irritating and her male friends are distinctively drawn. It has taken me a long time to get around to reading this; given it is January I resolve to read him more speedily, ( )
  johnwbeha | Nov 18, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 118 (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
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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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