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4 Local Warehouse Literature- A to Z

Sweet Tooth

by

Sweet Tooth Cover

ISBN13: 9780385536820
ISBN10: 0385536828
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

 

Awards

Staff Pick

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.
Recommended by Dianah, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this stunning new novel, Ian McEwan’s first female protagonist since Atonement is about to learn that espionage is the ultimate seduction.

Cambridge student Serena Frome’s beauty and intelligence make her the ideal recruit for MI5. The year is 1972. The Cold War is far from over. England’s legendary intelligence agency is determined to manipulate the cultural conversation by funding writers whose politics align with those of the government. The operation is code named “Sweet Tooth.”

Serena, a compulsive reader of novels, is the perfect candidate to infiltrate the literary circle of a promising young writer named Tom Haley. At first, she loves his stories. Then she begins to love the man. How long can she conceal her undercover life? To answer that question, Serena must abandon the first rule of espionage: trust no one.

Once again, Ian McEwan’s mastery dazzles us in this superbly deft and witty story of betrayal and intrigue, love and the invented self.

Review:

"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:

"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." Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Review:

"A sublime novel about novels, about writing them and reading them and the spying that goes on in doing both....Rich and enjoyable." Financial Times

Review:

"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." Daily Mail

Review:

“McEwan is one of the most gifted literary storytellers alive.” James Wood, The New Republic

Review:

“[McEwan’s] finely honed prose is a deep pleasure to experience.” Chicago Sun-Times

Review:

“McEwan is in the first tier of novelists writing in English today....He has achieved a complete mastery of his craft.” The New York Observer

Synopsis:

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.

About the Author

Ian McEwan is the bestselling author of fourteen books, including the novels Solar; On Chesil Beach; Saturday; Atonement, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the W. H. Smith Literary Award; The Comfort of Strangers and Black Dogs, both shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Amsterdam, winner of the Booker Prize; and The Child in Time, winner of the Whitbread Award; as well as the story collections First Love, Last Rites, winner of the Somerset Maugham Award, and In Between the Sheets. He lives in England. www.ianmcewan.com

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 12 comments:

ARB, April 13, 2014 (view all comments by ARB)
This is a story told by a former spy forty years after the fact, after all the deceptions and lies have been put to rest. Or have they? A young woman recruited to work as an MI5 agent during the '70s recounts her experiences as a hapless player in a project called Sweet Tooth. McEwan's descriptions of the secret services are sly and often funny. He tells stories within stories, and I found myself wondering how he could possibly wrap it up. When he did it was very amusing.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
techeditor, December 26, 2013 (view all comments by techeditor)
The one best word to describe SWEET TOOTH is "clever." Don't skip to the last chapter, but that one is the most clever of all. You'll realize by the end how clever all the chapters are, though.

All eleven of the McEwan novels that I've read have taken their time, even when the book is short, which most of his are. Sometimes a reader may wonder if he's ever going to get to the point or if, maybe, he got to the point and the reader missed it. Usually it's the latter. Or, as in SWEET TOOTH, he gives clues to the point along the way that the reader may not realize are clues. Even if that is the case, the reader will probably recall them later.

Then, BAM. How clever this is! McEwan may take his time, but few people can write like he does.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Cynthia Francisco, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by Cynthia Francisco)
McEwan's books are always a surprise, and this one no exception. I am a fan of spy thrillers and Sweet Tooth gives the genre an entirely new twist. It keeps you guessing until the end. Happy reading!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 12 comments

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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Related Subjects


Featured Titles » Literature
Featured Titles » New Arrivals
Featured Titles » Staff Favorites
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » New Arrivals
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Technothrillers
Fiction and Poetry » Romance » Historical

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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