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Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan

My Review

The story starts off with the introduction of the main protagonist one lady of the name of Serena.
She chooses in this story to take up employment with the Mi5 the homeland secret service.
We start off by learning of her life, her family, lovers and outlook on the world of the 1970’s.
The title of this Novel is the name for a new project/operation the Mi5 was embarking upon in the novel with Serena as the honey trap.

Serena is an avid reader and finds herself with the responsibility of being undercover for Mi5 as an agent for a foundation looking to fund a new writer.
She is given the assignment of checking out and verifying if a writer called Tom Healey is a suitable recipient. Make contact and secure a deal with him that is all it should had involved.
He lives in Brighton and so far has been doing journalistic work and writer of short-stories, they want him to write a first novel.
The M15 would hopefully want him to give two fingers up to USA in writing with content and views that the agency approves of. They cannot goad him into writing what they want, but hope if he is the right person he will somehow be of service and aid unknowingly the government.

This secret agent tale took an interesting turn here for me when she pursuits this writer. On starting reading this i was not sure how I was going to be hooked, I found this element did it for me one hour into reading.
This takes the story down the road of love and deception rather than an espionage or page turning 007 thriller, of which made the story a enjoyable read. A story set in the 1970’s when the U.K had a different prime minister and the IRA where making headline news.
Ultimately Serena finds herself caught in a web of love and lies that makes great reading for the heart.

“That evening he plays with the children, cleans the hamsters cage with them, gets them into their pajamas, and reads to them three times over, once together, then to Jake on his own, then to Naomi. it is at times like these that his life makes sense. How soothing it is, the scent of clean bedlinen and minty toothpaste breath, and his children’s eagerness to hear adventures of imaginary beings, and how touching, to watch the children’s eyes grow heavy as they struggle to hang on to the priceless last minutes of their day, and finally fail.”

“It was a pleasant break in routine to travel down to Brighton one unseasonably warm morning in mid-October, to cross the cavernous railway station and smell the salty air and hear the falling cries of herring gulls. I remembered the word from a summer Shakespeare production of Othello on the lawn at King’s. A gull. Was i looking for a gull? Certainly not.”

“If i was slightly nervous it was because in the past weeks i had become intimate with my own private version of Haley, i had read his thoughts on sex and deceit, pride and failure. We were on terms already and i knew they were about to be reformed or destroyed. Whatever he was in reality would be a surprise and probably a disappointment. As soon as we shook hands our intimacy would go into reverse. I had re-read all the journalism on the way down to Brighton. Unlike the fiction it was sensible, skeptical, rather schoolmasterish in tone, as if he’d supposed he was writing for ideological fools.”

“I said, “Think it over a day or two, talk to a friend….Think it through.”
He said,”The thing is…” and he trailed away. He looked down at his lap and he continued.”It’s this. Every day i think about this problem. I don’t have anything bigger to think about. It keeps me awake at night. Always the same four steps. One, i want to write a novel. Two, I’m broke. Three, I’ve go to get a job. Four, the job will kill the writing. I can’t see a way round it. There isn’t one. Then a nice young woman knocks on my door and offers me a fat pension for nothing. It’s to good to be true. I’m suspicious.”

Reviewed by Lou Pendergrast on 18 October 2012

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