Ian McEwan’s new novel is a stylish and sexy morality play set in the world of British espionage of the early 1970s.
Sweet Tooth is the 14th book by British author, Ian McEwan. Serena Frome’s story is narrated in detail essentially from the time she first gets involved with the man who will usher her into a position in MI5, in the early 70’s Britain. Serena is a compulsive reader of fiction and her first “secret mission” is to cultivate promising young author, Tom Haley. Their mutual attraction ensures they step beyond the boundaries set by her superiors, and before long, things start to unravel. While a working knowledge of British politics of the seventies plays would enhance the enjoyment of this novel, it is not requisite. McEwan presents the reader with a delicious irony when Serena tells us she distrusts any kind of fictional trick, something of which McEwan is a master. Once again, he fools the reader but, whereas I felt cheated by it in Atonement, this time I revelled in it. The end has the reader wondering: just whose words are we actually reading? The answer is very simple: those of a brilliant novelist.
Keep your wits about you while reading this complex tale of double identity, hidden meaning, and spy vs. spy! Lovely Serena finds herself employed by the MI5 during the Cold War of the 1970s, where she is sent to investigate potential authors who support government sentiments. Serena is entranced by the writing of a young man named Tom Haley. She selects him both as the novelist worthy of governmental promotion and her secret lover. Secrets are many in this tale, however. Author McEwan treats readers to bizarre stories within the story that encroach into Serena's real life with just the right amount of disbelief and suspense, and finishes with a final well-designed twist.