Author: Ian McEwan
What They Say: Serena Frome, the beautiful daughter of an Anglican bishop, has a brief affair with an older man during her final year at Cambridge, and finds herself being groomed for the intelligence service. The year is 1972. Britain, confronting economic disaster, is being torn apart by industrial unrest and terrorism and faces its fifth state of emergency. The Cold War has entered a moribund phase, but the fight goes on, especially in the cultural sphere. Serena, a compulsive reader of novels, is sent on a secret mission codenamed Sweet Tooth, which brings her into the literary world of Tom Healey, a promising young writer. First she loves his stories, then she begins to love the man. Can she maintain the fiction of her undercover life? And who is inventing whom? To answer these questions, Serena must abandon the first rule of espionage - trust no one.
What Sheli Says: I was desperate to read this book when it was published earlier this year and when I finally got my hands on a copy I was not disappointed.
It is the story of a young girl recruited to the British Security Services and gets sent on a mission, Sweet Tooth. However, although I really enjoyed the secret agent aspects of this book, I think Serena’s relationships with others are captured beautifully and are really the triumph of the book.I was a little worried that as this was a book told from a girls point of view, but is written by a man. I really think that McEwan did an amazing job of this though as I did not feel that it felt masculine in any way. Serena was a really likeable character, and I felt something of an affinity with her and her reclusive, bookish ways.
This book is a love story, a thriller and a brilliant book about books. It really captures Serena’s loves in a sensitive, but realistic way, has some great detail about her time in Mi5 and also had some great literary references that laid out the map of her life. There are also a number of stories within this story, each more weird and wonderful than the last.
I absolutely loved this book and found it difficult to put down. I will definitely be seeking out more of McEwan’s work.Sheli's Rating: 10/10
“There was, in my view, an unwritten contract with the reader that the writer must honour. No single element of an imagined world or any of its characters should be allowed to dissolve on an authorial whim. The invented had to be as solid and as self-consistent as the actual. This was a contract founded on mutual trust.”