Atonement is one of my favourite novels, but I was so disappointed in Solar that I didn’t think I would read another of his novels. However, a friend convinced me to read this one and I’m glad. I didn’t like it as much as Atonement, but I did enjoy it.
Here is the blurb …
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 named “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. How long can she conceal her undercover life? To answer that question, Serena must abandon the first rule of espionage: trust no one.
Once again, Ian McEwan’s mastery dazzles us in this superbly deft and witty story of betrayal and intrigue, love and the invented self.
This novel was beautifully written and I could identify with Serena – I studied Maths at university (when I would rather have studied English). The story is told from Serena’s point of view, but it is clear that there is more going on than she knows about. People’s messy lives don’t work well with espionage!
I think this is McEwan back to his finest form.
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