18.5.13

SWEET TOOTH, by Ian McEwan

Britian, 1972; the end of the Cold War, where the maneuvering has gone underground, and intellectuals are unknowingly subborned by shadowy government surrogates. Serena Frome (rhymes with plume), maths prodigy, finds Cambridge life too challenging. When an affair with a professor ends (brutally), she is invited to join the intelligence service, but as a lowly secretary in a basement. Then she's tapped for a "secret" job: develop and contact writers, and in particular promising young novelist Tom Haley. Money is involved: generous payments. And then Serena begins to fall for Tom. Serena's immediate superior, gauche Max Greatorex, complicates matters. As does the lovers increasingly deep involvement. When can Serena tell Tom what she really is? And then...everything comes together in the final pages, which you'll have to read yourself. McEwan, as always, barely sets a foot wrong (although the journey to the end at times could move a bit faster), but the ending is completely satisfying and surprising. A 4+