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Share via Email Photograph: One reads him, of course, with the expectation of a story in which something terrible will occur, and that expectation is now a part of the alchemy. Who is going to be harmed?
Will the harm be emotional, physical, or both? In what richly inventive ways will the setting — Dorset coast, south of France wilderness — facilitate the inevitable crisis?
And what kinds of meaning are going to be implicated in it? The new novel, Sweet Tooth, is no exception. We learn in the first paragraph that she was sent on a secret mission 40 years ago, and that it ended badly for her and her lover.
A history tutor at Cambridge — an older man named Canning, who has a mysterious scar — recruits her, first as his mistress, then as a spy for MI5. Canning dumps Serena with sudden and to her inexplicable cruelty, disappearing out of the story for a long time, and as Serena takes up her career at MI5 other themes emerge.
An office intrigue starts up, bringing the subject of sexual politics into play the pervasive condescension of men towards women in that not-so-long-ago era is reconstructed with painful accuracy.
Meanwhile, frequent allusions to the eastern bloc keep the topic of totalitarianism firmly in view, and as Serena begins to demonstrate some totalitarian instincts of her own she opens a file on a headmaster who attended a meeting of his local Communist partyit looks as if some kind of study in east-west political symmetries might be afoot.
With all these possibilities in the air, it seems certain that the mission, one way or another, will be intricately bound up with the more significant conflicts of that discordant era.
When Serena is finally summoned to the fifth floor, we accompany her with serious interest and suspense. It comes as a surprise — amusing but faintly disconcerting — that one of the first things the five men waiting up there ask her to do is to rank the novelists William GoldingKingsley Amis and David Storey in order of merit.
Their project is to co-opt some writers of a leftish but non-communist bent, with a view to influencing the British intelligentsia away from its increasingly anti-western bias.
The plan is for Serena to pose as the representative of a cultural foundation with money to bestow, and reel in some promising newcomer.
The person they have in mind is a PhD student at Sussex who has published some well-received short stories, along with some articles criticising the Soviet bloc. One resists, slightly, the literary turn. Still, manipulation of the intelligentsia has a deep history on both sides of the iron curtain: Sometimes he seems to be enjoying the trip down memory lane purely for its own sake, sketching his old pals and their hangouts with nostalgic affection.
Sometimes he seems interested in using the relationship between spy and author as a metaphor for the intricate dance of concealment and trust that goes on between a reader and a writer.
Depending on your tastes, you may find these recursive twists and turns delicious. What about the PLO?Sweet Tooth: A Novel - Kindle edition by Ian McEwan.
Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading Sweet Tooth: A grupobittia.coms: K.
McEwan has spied on real life to write Sweet Tooth, and in reading it we are invited to spy on him Rich and enjoyable.” —Financial Times “McEwan fans won’t be disappointed by Sweet Tooth, and newcomers to the author will be meeting him at the top of his game.” —The Globe and Mail (Toronto)Reviews: K.
About Sweet Tooth. 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. “Sweet Tooth” by Ian McEwan is the story of Serena Frome (rhymes with plume) and her brief tenure with Britain’s famous MI5 – Military Intelligence, Section 5.
The story begins in present day as Serena tells the reader about her experience some forty years before when she was a young woman. Nov 25, · Ian McEwan’s work falls into two distinct periods. His early stories and novels were all cool posts perversity, a high-end parade of deadpan macabre and kink and sideshow eccentricity.
May 13, · Irish Independent, August 25, On the inside cover of Ian McEwan’s thirteenth full-length book, Peter Kemp of the Sunday Times declares its .