Friday, December 28, 2012

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan

I was excited to read Sweet Tooth after hearing that McEwan's narrator, Serena Frome, is the first female narrator he has written since Atonement.  I was also interested because it is described as both a spy story and a love story.  Frome is employed by British Intelligence in the 1970's and Operation Sweet Tooth engages her to infiltrate the literary circle of a new writer on the scene, Tom Haley.  Serena falls in love with the prose and the man.  The opening passage of the novel warns the reader that the relationship will be flawed when Frome admits - "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."  I enjoyed the novel's meta-fictional experimentation.  Within the chapters which advance the plot are long passages of Serena's summaries of the books by Haley that she is reading.  Those plots were, perhaps, even more interesting to me than the rest of Serena's  adventures.  I still prefer Atonement.

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