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Sweet Tooth

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Sweet Tooth Cover

ISBN13: 9780385536820
ISBN10: 0385536828
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Average customer rating based on 12 comments:

JohnLee, December 19, 2012 (view all comments by JohnLee)
Ian McEwan is an extraordinary author. His characterizations and his writing cadence are extraodinary. This book was really not what I expected. I was expecting a spy thriller book with earth-shattering and catastrophic segments. There is nothing life-threatening or dangerous about this book even though the element of surprise and the fear of the unexpected are both there for the reader. I have to admit that Serena Frome was probably one of the most unlikeable protagonists that I've ever read. She was very well portrayed and that is not why I didn't like her. She is just not a woman that I would be drawn to at all if I was to meet someone like her. She vacillates and can't seem to make a decision to save her life. She's insincere and a bit of a snob actually. She moves through her life and her main goal is to make no waves, stand for nothing and just drift. Having said that, I found the minor characters in the book were wonderful and very real. I especially liked Serena's sister and father. Although we don't see them much in the book, I found them very easy to picture and imagine. There's a lot about love, desire, deceit, creativity (in the form of the written word). Without giving away anything of the plot, there is even an evil character. A character that doesn't loom that large in the narrative, but one whose deception is actually behind the whole story. McEwan does such a good job of laying bare human deceptions and exposing all the cracks and breaks under the gloss of the human facade. It seems to come up and hit you as you read his books.
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Angelique Leone, September 21, 2012 (view all comments by Angelique Leone)
Pre-order this book! I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy. It is such a great, enticing story. The main character's love of reading is magically weaved through the entire book; you even get to read the short stories she is reading (multiple plot lines for the price of one)! The backdrop of the early 70s, the Cold War that isn't as scary as other forces, changes in women's desires and careers, combined with beautifully flawed characters makes this for a more complex book than at first glance. McEwan doesn't disappoint!
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780385536820
Author:
McEwan, Ian
Publisher:
Nan A. Talese
Subject:
Espionage
Subject:
Popular Fiction-Technothrillers
Publication Date:
20121113
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
9.5 x 6.6 x 1.1 in 1.44 lb

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Sweet Tooth Used Hardcover
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Product details 320 pages Nan A. Talese - English 9780385536820 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Ian McEwan's latest novel is a Cold War–era spy tale that is not exactly what it appears to be. After suffering through a couple of bad love affairs, Serena, a beautiful 20-something university graduate, stumbles into a job with MI5 and is initially thrilled — until she realizes women only hold lowly clerical positions. Still suffering the effects of a demoralizing breakup, she takes the job anyway. Yet soon she does get an undercover assignment: Sweet Tooth is the code name for a loosely reasoned plan to financially back struggling artists by giving them a stipend and letting them produce art, with the proviso that the funding is coming from another source. (Having the secret service pay a writer to influence others seems too close to buying public opinion.) Serena's job is to bestow this welcoming news to a struggling writer, Tom Healey, who is trapped by the drudgery of a full-time job as a university professor. Yes, she falls for Tom, and yes, she keeps her identity and the source of his new funding from him. It seems clear where the novel will go, but I guess I was fooled once again by the amazing mind of Ian McEwan.

His inexplicable ability to crawl into a character and expose every flaw, every rationalization, every weakness, yet at the same time, expose their vulnerability and insecurity, is just flat-out astonishing. He doesn't tell the story so much as let you live inside it. His setting, his characters, and his tale feel as if they are your own — so perfectly do they dovetail into your world. It's uncanny. After reading my eighth Ian McEwan novel, I'm convinced that he just gets better and better. The man is at the absolute top of his game. Let me just say that Ian McEwan is the greatest writer living today.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "McEwan goes for laughs in this cold war spoof in which Serena Frome, one time math whiz, struggles through Cambridge and graduates in 1972 with an embarrassing third. For reasons never satisfactorily explained, a professor and former MI5 operative recruits her as a spy. Serena's soon in love, not for the last time in the story, no matter that he's 54, long married and sickly, or that she's 21, gorgeous, and in a relationship. She's a voracious reader, and her familiarity with contemporary fiction earns her an assignment to persuade a writer with anti-Soviet leanings to abandon academia and write full-time, supported by funding whose source he can never know. Espionage fans won't find much that's credible, and fans of political farce might be surprised by a narrative less focused on lampooning MI5 than on mocking (mostly female) readers. Given the nonstop wisecracks, the book might be most satisfying if read as sheer camp. A twist confirms that the misogyny isn't to be taken seriously, but Serena's intellectual inferiority is a joke that takes too long to reach its punch line. McEwan devotees may hope that in his next novel he returns to characterizations deeper than the paper they're printed on. Agent: The Georges Borchardt Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "A subtly and sweetly subversive novel [that is a] masterful manipulation of the relationship(s) between fiction and truth....Britain’s foremost living novelist has written a book as drily funny as it is thoughtful."
"Review" by , "A sublime novel about novels, about writing them and reading them and the spying that goes on in doing both....Rich and enjoyable."
"Review" by , "McEwan writes with his usual clinical precision, brilliantly evoking the London of dingy Camden flats, the three-day week and IRA atrocities. His assumption of a female persona is pitch-perfect."
"Review" by , “McEwan is one of the most gifted literary storytellers alive.”
"Review" by , “[McEwan’s] finely honed prose is a deep pleasure to experience.”
"Review" by , “McEwan is in the first tier of novelists writing in English today....He has achieved a complete mastery of his craft.”
"Synopsis" by , The incomparable Ian McEwan masterfully entwines espionage and love as only he can in a wickedly intriguing new novel.

The year is 1972. The Cold War has entered a moribund phase, but the fight against Communism goes on, especially in England's cultural circles.

Serena Frome, the beautiful daughter of an Anglican bishop, has just completed her maths degree at Cambridge. Her brief affair with one of her professors leads to an interview with MI5. Serena lands an assignment in Operation Sweet Tooth: the funding of artists and writers with whom MI5's political views align. Her "target" is Tom Healey, a promising young writer. First she falls in love with his stories, then she begins to fall in love with the man. When his novella wins a prestigious prize, the deceit becomes too much for Serena to bear. But before she can confess, her cover is blown, scandalizing the literary world and crippling MI5's efforts. Who blew the whistle and why? Ian McEwan will keep you guessing in this superbly deft and witty story of betrayal, intrigue, and love.

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