Thursday, January 03, 2013

Sweet Tooth

This is an okay book written by Ian McEwan. Cambridge student Serena Frome’s beauty and intelligence make her the ideal recruit for MI5. The year is 1972. The Cold War is far from over. England’s legendary intelligence agency is determined to manipulate the cultural conversation by funding writers whose politics align with those of the government. The operation is code name “Sweet Tooth.” Serena, a compulsive reader of novels, is the perfect candidate to infiltrate the literary circle of a promising young writer named Tom Haley. At first, she loves his stories. Then she begins to love the man.

The novel is dedicated to McEwan's late friend Christopher Hitchens. Like Haley, McEwan studied at the University of Sussex. Several of McEwan's acquaintances make cameo appearances in the novel, including his friend Martin Amis, his first publisher Tom Maschler, and his mentor Ian Hamilton. The story is inspired by the actual scandal affecting the conservative literary magazine Encounter, which in 1967 was revealed to have received covert funding from the CIA.

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