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Sweet Tooth Audiobook

Sweet Tooth

Winner of such prestigious honors as the Booker Prize and Whitbread Award, Ian McEwan is justifiably regarded as a modern master. Set in 1972, Sweet Tooth follows Cambridge student Serena Frome, whose intelligence and beauty land her a job with England's intelligence agency, MI5. In an attempt to monitor writers' politics, MI5 tasks Serena with infiltrating the literary circle of author Tom Healy. But soon matters of trust and identity subvert the operation.
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Publisher's Summary

Winner of such prestigious honors as the Booker Prize and Whitbread Award, Ian McEwan is justifiably regarded as a modern master. Set in 1972, Sweet Tooth follows Cambridge student Serena Frome, whose intelligence and beauty land her a job with England's intelligence agency, MI5. In an attempt to monitor writers' politics, MI5 tasks Serena with infiltrating the literary circle of author Tom Healy. But soon matters of trust and identity subvert the operation.

©2012 Ian McEwan (P)2012 Random House Audiobooks

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (921 )
5 star
 (215)
4 star
 (346)
3 star
 (237)
2 star
 (83)
1 star
 (40)
Overall
3.6 (791 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.1 (789 )
5 star
 (310)
4 star
 (295)
3 star
 (139)
2 star
 (32)
1 star
 (13)
Performance
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  •  
    Elizabeth L Susskind Belmont, CA, US 11-05-14
    Elizabeth L Susskind Belmont, CA, US 11-05-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    2
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    Story
    "Clever plot well written"
    What made the experience of listening to Sweet Tooth the most enjoyable?

    Juliet Stevenson read it so beautifully.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Serena Frume because she was so realistic in her reactions


    Which character – as performed by Juliet Stevenson – was your favorite?

    Shirley Shilling - because Ms. Stevenson got her accent perfectly and imbued her with exactly the right touch of lower class brashness. Wonderful characterization.


    If you could rename Sweet Tooth, what would you call it?

    That's a strange question! Who's Watching Whom? maybe.


    Any additional comments?

    This was a very cleverly written book. Masterful in fact. The appeal for me was that I am very familiar with all the locations having grown up in Sevenoaks (Tony's home town) and lived in Camden when I was at college in London. I totally "got" Serena and could picture exactly every scene. I also grew up in the 1970s and remember all the political shenanigans of the time - the strikes, the three-day week, etc. Marvellous book, nice twist, and expertly read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lee Chapel Hill, NC, United States 11-04-14
    Lee Chapel Hill, NC, United States 11-04-14 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    161
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    41
    36
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    FOLLOWING
    7
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Could not relate to the narrator/main character"

    Somehow the author and narrator combined to drain all life out of what would seem to be an engaging story. I could not get any emotional involvement in the main character, so I just didn't care what happened next. I don't really understand how this feat was accomplished. The story is a first person narrative, with the narrator recounting events forty years or so in the past. She seems so cool and detached, even when the action is emotional, that it gave me some kind of cognitive dissonance. Obviously, I am a reader that needs to relate to the characters to enjoy the book. The writing is very good and the narrator is also very good, I can understand that other people may find it excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sara Stevenson 11-02-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Boring"
    Would you try another book from Ian McEwan and/or Juliet Stevenson?

    not from the Author, I can't condemn Ms. Stevenson based on one performance.


    Has Sweet Tooth turned you off from other books in this genre?

    NO, this one was very slow and boring.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Juliet Stevenson?

    I don't think that would help.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Sweet Tooth?

    ?


    Any additional comments?

    no story

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marian 06-03-14
    Marian 06-03-14 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Maddening, but genius!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this book, but with reservations. McEwen is more of a John Donne rather than a William Shakespeare in that McEwen's intellectualism makes his work somewhat less organic. One marvels at his invention even as he exposes all of the inner mechanics. But it is as if McEwen wants to claim all of the glory for himself, which left me a bit cold at the end.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    gkkk04 05-16-14
    gkkk04 05-16-14

    karma_musings

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A paradox"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Sweet Tooth to be better than the print version?

    N/A - did not read print, only listened to audio


    What did you like best about this story?

    That it turned out much better than it began.


    Have you listened to any of Juliet Stevenson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no, so N/A


    If you could take any character from Sweet Tooth out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Shirley Shilling; she was an interesting adjunct character, and I thought had a lot to offer. She would be intriguing to hold a conversation with.


    Any additional comments?

    This book started out in a very slow and somewhat annoying (to me) manner, but built to a really amazing ending. It has an Alice Through the Looking Glass quality that is the reason I gave it the rating I did.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa San Diego, CA 03-28-14
    Lisa San Diego, CA 03-28-14 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    7
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    Performance
    Story
    "Beautiful writing, but too much summarized"
    What made the experience of listening to Sweet Tooth the most enjoyable?

    Juliet Stevenson is awesome. I've listened to many books she's narrated including Jane Eyre, To the Ligthhouse, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Middlemarch, Room with a View, and she reads beautifully in every one, including this one. And even though I'm kind of complaining in my review, Ian McEwan's writing in general is exquisite. I tend to read his work to help improve my own writing.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    The end left me hanging. I'm still not sure that everything turned out fine or not because of that abrupt ending (and I don't want to spoil the ending, so I won't elaborate further). I think technically the choice of ending was fine, but as a consumer of this story, as an audience member, I felt it wasn't enough. I have general complaints about McEwan summarizing too much of his story instead of writing out more actual scenes because his tendency to summarize leaves me with little to visualize in my own head, so instead I'm sitting there processing information and waiting for the next scene... so with this ending... Imagine you're watching a movie of this, and it ends like that: would you be happy? I wasn't. I feel like I was cheated out of an ending. Abrupt endings are more appropriate for short stories. I feel novels need a longer wrap-up, and though I understand this ending is part of his interesting plot twist, I still would have liked to have visualized a final wrap-up scene at the end in my own head.


    Any additional comments?

    I was only in Chapter 5 when I started writing the following out of frustration: "Oh my god--only a high caliber literary writer like Ian McEwan can take a cool story idea like a young woman joining MI5 and make it dull in that achingly beautiful, dull way that literary writers with prestigious backgrounds like to do. I'm at 2:26:05, Chapter 5, and so far all I'm hearing is summary. He's writing a 1st person point of view that's almost entirely summarized. Even when he starts a passage with "One day..." he still ends up summarizing the day. I'm at the point that when there is an actual scene with some dialogue, I'm gulping down the words as if they were drops of water in a hot desert, and then when he moves on to more summary, I feel like I didn't get enough and I'm suffering with thirst, hoping for more water, more cool drops of dialogue and scene. It's frustrating that the best writers on the planet write with such thin plots. What's the deal?" Now that I finished the book, I have to admit that things do pick up as you get closer to the end when things start to unravel. If you want a cool spy novel, this isn't it. And it takes a really long time to get the story going. This is really a love story, and though I'm sure McEwan had to do some research on Mi5 to ground the story in reality, it's still a love story about a writer and a woman who loves literature, which means he's not straying too far away from writing what he knows.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dianne 02-11-14
    Dianne 02-11-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
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    "Tedious"

    I bought this book because Juliet Stevenson is such a good reader. The book is well read, but I kept skipping chapters and didn't seem to get anywhere with the story. It dragged on and on. I never did read the last chapter because I just couldn't bear any more. Not recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CAC 01-18-14
    CAC 01-18-14

    CAC

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    38
    4
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    "Less than meh"
    What was most disappointing about Ian McEwan’s story?

    Pretentious meta-literary claptrap. Not surprising that one of the characters admires John Fowles. I don't. Twelve hours of my life I'll never get back.


    What about Juliet Stevenson’s performance did you like?

    Typically brilliant reading wasted on distinctly unbrilliant material.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kiely Conshohocken, PA, United States 01-04-14
    kiely Conshohocken, PA, United States 01-04-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Slow- maybe audio is not the best way to read"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    no- it was too slow of a book to listen to but I might enjoy reading not listening to this.


    If you’ve listened to books by Ian McEwan before, how does this one compare?

    I have read other Ian McEwan books and enjoyed them. He writes beautiful stories but perhaps they should be read and not listened to.


    What three words best describe Juliet Stevenson’s performance?

    Average- I have come to realize that I have a hard time listening to narrators with a British accent.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victoria A. Mccargar Los Angeles, CA 12-20-13
    Victoria A. Mccargar Los Angeles, CA 12-20-13 Member Since 2015

    Vicky Scheibe

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "So promising, so disappointing"

    This started out with everything I like -- a good story, excellent writing, some Cold War spy stuff, a central character who pulls you into the action, a setting that evokes an era I remember well.

    It all rolls along splendidly with increasing tension and hints of sinister doings. I'm thinking I'm going to read everything Ian McEwan has ever written when wham! A final plot twist so impossible, so unbelievable and so contrived that the entire book just deflates all at once. It's as though McEwan didn't know how to end it and didn't.

    I like McEwan's writing enough to give him another try but this was a case of cheating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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