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' which 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.
"Enthralling, beguiling and totally addictive from the first page to the last... McEwan's sense of time and place is authentic with his trademark attention to details of the social history of the period" Bristol Magazine
Ian McEwan is the author of two collections of stories and twelve previous novels, including Enduring Love, Amsterdam, for which he won the Booker Prize in 1998, Atonement and, most recently, Solar.
"No contemporary novelist is more enthralled by what goes on inside the human skull than Ian McEwan... Doubling back and forth across genre boundaries, Sweet Tooth takes risks...this acute, witty novel is a winningly cunning addition to McEwan's fictional surveys of intelligence." -- Peter Kemp Sunday Times "Playful, comic... This is a great big Russian doll of a novel, and in its construction - deft, tight, exhilaratingly immaculate - is a huge part of its pleasure." -- Julie Myerson Observer "A thoroughly clever novel...a sublime novel about novels, about writing them and reading them and the spying that goes on in doing both...very impressive...rich and enjoyable." -- Lucy Kellaway Financial Times "Gave us another of his delightful posh-totty narrators, young Serena Frome, who is recruited into the intelligence services in the 1970s." -- Kate Saunders The Times "What you see is not what you get, and the twist at the end reminds us of how many of this author's works confound readers imaginations... A well-crafted pleasure to read, its smooth prose and slippery intelligence sliding down like cream." -- Amanda Craig Independent