Shortlisted for: Audiobook of the Year - Specsavers National Book Awards 2012
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 services. 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' that brings her into the literary world of Tom Haley, 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.
McEwan's mastery dazzles us in this superbly deft and witty story of betrayal and intrigue, love, and the invented self.
©2012 Ian McEwan (P)2012 Random House Audiobooks
"Ian McEwan's SWEET TOOTH is a joy, beautifully written, moving between love and betrayal, reality and shadows with a wonderful ease, breathing vivid life into the characters." (Kati Nicholl, Express.co.uk)
"McEwan Takes Us Back To The Seventies"
I enjoyed this book, the experience made more pleasurable by Juliet Stevenson's brilliant narration.
I think that although McEwan's best work may be behind him, for me - at least - he remains Britain's best contemporary writer.
The ending is typical McEwan, and the build-up is expertly managed, as one would expect. At the end of Solar (am I the only person who enjoyed this book?) there is a half-hour interview with McEwan. It is a pity this book lacks the same as a lot of Sweet Tooth is clearly autobiographical.
For older folks (like me) this book perfectly evokes the early 1970s. For younger readers (listeners), it will read like a nice little historical drama.
"A great listen"
I have read every Ian McEwan book and have only been disappointed once (Solar). This book is Ian McEwan on top form. Loved the storyline, the characters, the narration by Juliet Stevenson. Would recommend it.
A beautifully written (and read), character-led book. Sometimes male authors writing from a female character's viewpoint leave me unconvinced. This was perfect. I was left smiling and wondering what happened next to the characters. The background - the places and the 1970s politics were very evocative too. The best book I've read this year for sure.
"Brilliant - my book of the year"
This is a brilliantly constructed novel and really well narrated by Juliet Stevenson. Give yourself a treat and download it !
This is an evocative book, sensitive to women's developing freedoms to work and live in the 1970s, brilliantly voiced by the excellent Juliet Stevenson. As an earlier reviewer notes Ian McEwan makes a convincing use of the female voice. I never get time to read new fiction, and this is a very nice way of receiving the story. Recommend.
"Meets expectations beautifully"
Lovely story, beautifully read. Great ending.
Everything you'd expect from McEwan and Stevenson - the words and tone fit together perfectly.
"A great listen"
I don't normally write reviews but i really enjoyed this book. The main character was easily likable. It had a good pace, with gradual build towards a seemingly inevitable disaster that kept me hooked, making me carry on with the cleaning a bit longer to see what happens. A thought provoking plot. Well read too.
After all the media attention and author interviews, I was looking forward to this book as a return to form for Ian McEwan after the mediocre "Solar". There are some nice lines and apt phrasing but the characterisation is fairly shallow, the plot banal, almost a cliche, and the much trailed surprise ending is in effect a bolt-on narrative device that does little to save the novel. It may help to excuse the inadequate realisation of the first person, female narrator, but I think that responsibility lies with McEwan. Compelling, profound and fascinating it is not.
If you want that in a recent novel, try "Waiting For Sunrise" by William Boyd: espionage, duplicity and self deception in a multi-layered novel of real interest. And he is a rattling good story teller.
This book is so thoroughly satisfying & the performance by Juliet Stevenson is quite brilliant.
"Like Chinese boxes"
Like 1Q84, this is a *clever* book that runs circles around its readers. And like with 1Q84, the writer pulls it off because he is so incredibly good at just that - writing. Ian McEwan really is one of my favourite authors and Saturday is among my all time favourite books (strangely, I notice that it gets rather poor reviews on Amazon - I really have no idea why!).
It's interesting with a book that takes place in the 70s - can't remember when I last read a book from that decade! Ice cold war, the Yom Kippur war, oil crisis, mine-workers' strikes, the Troubles at an all time high - there really does not seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel! And then the protagonist works for MI5 without the novel being any kind of spy novel. It's a novel about growing up, facing up to choices made very early in life, literature and politics in a very McEwanesk mix.
The narrator has just the right upperclass British intonation - she's very good.
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