Friday, June 7, 2013

Review: "Sweet Tooth" by Ian McEwan

I feel, with what I have read of Ian McEwan, that he is a writer I simply read out of a mysterious compulsion, much like I do Chabon or Lethem. Any new book that comes out I feel the need to check out, and most of the book I have read of his are either very boring or very tedious, but most of the time both. Really, with the exception of his novels Enduring Love (my favorite) and Atonement, I have not really liked them very much. They each have a charm, with even his lesser books like The Child in Time and Black Dogs being worthy enough to finish. And, in retrospect, his earlier novels The Cement Garden and The Comfort of Strangers, each of which are very dark in comparison to his more modern works, seem a lot cooler than they were when I first read them. But his latest novel Sweet Tooth is one of his weakest books. I’d compared it to The Innocent, which also had a boring plot about British spies. The main character is Serena Frome, a book-smart girl who, after an affair with a professor, is brought in to a spy ring to keep track of a young writer, named Tom Hanley, whom she likes at first for his works, then falls in love with the man, with far-reaching consequences for her risky job. The little joy that this book provides comes from the long explanations of Tom’s stories that recall McEwan’s earlier days, like the one about a man who falls in love with a store mannequin or the husband whose life and marriage are falling apart, and the revelation of its cause and aftermath. It really makes you want to be reading those books instead of this one. While I am not a spy novel kind of guy, I know enough to tell that this is not a good one. Especially from someone who I still feel is very gifted.
Rating: 3/5

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