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Sweet Tooth

De : Ian McEwan
Lu par : Juliet Stevenson
Durée : 12 h et 3 min
4.5 out of 5 stars (6 notations)
Prix : 24,54 €
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Description

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’ that 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.

©2012 Ian McEwan (P)2012 Random House Audiobooks

Critiques

"Ian McEwan’s SWEET TOOTH is a joy, beautifully written, moving between love and betrayal, reality and shadows with a wonderful ease, breathing vivid life into the characters." ( Kati Nicholl, Express.co.uk)

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Notations

Global

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
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    3
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Histoire

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Il n'y a pas encore de critique disponible pour ce titre.
Trier par :
  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Christopher
  • 06/02/2013

Superb and surprising

If you could sum up Sweet Tooth in three words, what would they be?

Clever, empathetic and intriguing

What other book might you compare Sweet Tooth to and why?

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes- they are both brilliantly observed memoirs that utterly capture the essence of youth and early love affairs. Sweet Tooth is, however, vastly superior in my opinion with a more interesting story.

Which scene was your favorite?

The ending is superb.

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

I couldn't/ wouldn't.

Any additional comments?

Great narration and delivery and a thoroughly enjoying listen. Just the right length, tense, taught and interesting.

6 sur 6 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Moonglotexas
  • 18/09/2012

What a twist! Thought provoking!

Would you listen to Sweet Tooth again? Why?

Yes, absolutely! Beautiful read and well-wriiten, it drove me into an almost trance-like hazy. The world so realistically sculptured by both Ian and Juliet, I began to feel like I came home to the story at the end of the day.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Sweet Tooth?

The ending was one of those, "oh my word, did I hear that right?" moments. Rarely do plots surprise me, this one did and for that I am grateful

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

Yes, she is one voice that neither intrudes on the story nor fails to instil the necessary emotion - she is the perfect balance

Any additional comments?

Fabulous book from a great author, exquisitely read!

4 sur 4 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Ilinca
  • 27/02/2013

MI5 romance

It starts off as an interesting promise of a story of literature and espionage, just as the blurbs advertise. Halfway through you realize it's neither; it's really a story of relationships (one in particular) and the power games that go into them. Which might be interesting in itself, if it weren't, well, not very interesting. A character who's not particularly bright falls for a character who's utterly unlikable. Then half the book is spent waiting for something terrible to happen, some major disgrace that is mentioned at the beginning. Then the book ends.
I, for one, though I liked other books by McEwan, found it difficult to be interested in these characters and felt cheated in many promises, of plot or depth, that they can't fulfill. I did find it easy to read through (listen to, in fact) to the end. But it should advertise as an intelligent soapy story incidentally set within MI5.

3 sur 3 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    1 out of 5 stars
  • T. Meirom
  • 09/03/2014

Wait to the end?!

If it wasn't an Ian McEwan book, I would never have finished reading. It's a tidies, uninteresting story, that moves slowly and uncharmigly through the motions of an annoying, grey, 3rd grade secratery in MI5 (don't late the name of the organization fool you - it's still boring) and her contact with a new novelist (more interesting character, but very shelowly explored). The whole thing feels almost as if McEwan wants to create a frame for some short stories, which are probably the only great thing in the book.
Just because I know McEwan, I knew there will be a twist at the end, and curious to know what he has come up this time, I hang in there. We'll let me tell you that: the finale is also disappointing.
If you are a great McEwan fan like me, you will forgive him for this book, but I really think it's not worth spending any time on it.

1 sur 1 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    1 out of 5 stars
  • sally
  • 14/11/2013

Don't judge the Book by its Cover!

The cover promises a novel of excitement and intrigue but the whole thing was as grey as the depressing London streets McEwan kept going on about. The whole concept seemed far fetched and sketchy at best (a great waste of tax payers dollars if you ask me). Serena was incredibly boring and wishy washy, by the end of the book I grew to hate her and wished that the twist I was waiting for was that someone would shoot her.I love Juliet Stevenson but even her great talent couldn't make Serena interesting. Don't waste a credit.

1 sur 1 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Ian C Robertson
  • 22/04/2013

Very Disappointing

I am a fan of Ian McEwan's works, but you wouldn't know that from the title to this review. I loved Amsterdam and Atonement, of course. However, I regret to write that title is unfortunately accurate.
I have been resisting the steadily increasing number of my friends who also liked Atonement, but who are now complaining about the quality of recent works (Saturday and Solar, for example). To them, I have staunchly defended McEwan's wit, intelligence and style. Alas, I can't manage that defence for Sweet Tooth.
Having said that, this is not a "bad" book; it's just not up to McEwan standard. The language is still good and his trademark character introspection is still there. However, the story is just plain bland. I disagree with those reviews that thought the "twist" was surprising. McEwan tried to give it away in the second Chapter and, by mid way through the book when he extemporises the evil of an unscrupulous ending, it is plain that is not what was going to happen here. By Chapter 19 (of 22) the "twist" was so obvious I could barely be bothered to listen to the last two Chapters. For all that, I won't give the ending away, except to say that the publishers' blurb is all you need to know about the plot. Those who care to listen can judge for themselves.
As for the lovely Juliet Stevenson, she gives a wasted, but accomplished performance, as one would expect. The truth is that I was reluctant to pick up this book because of the last few from McEwan, but the narrator's credentials convinced me otherwise. She at least, was not a disappointment.
A fair review would give this 2.5 stars overall, but because I can't do that, I've rounded it up, for old times sake.

3 sur 4 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Philip
  • 04/11/2012

Espionage - romance - literature - all in one!

Ian McEwan is one of the most intelligent, sophisticated, and enthralling authors of our lifetime. If you have read or listened through any of his previous masterpieces like "Solar", "Amsterdam", "Enduring Love" or "Saturday", then you know (partially) what to expect, though each novel definitely has its very definite style, theme and twist. No "production line" or "template" approach with this author!

"Sweet Tooth" is a tale around Serena Frome - her university years (studying mathematics, but with more of a passion for literature), her entrance into the UK Secret Service MI5, and the tale of her first big assignment in MI5: recruiting author Tom Haley (through a charity type setup) to write a novel promoting freedom of speech and providing a counterweight against communist/socialist novelists.

"Sweet Tooth" is a celebration of literature, science, and love. I enjoyed the way it is crafted, with many "stories in a story" (Serena reading the short stories that Tom has written). Very, very cleverly done. An excellent representation of the 1970s Cold War environment.

I strongly recommend this book, both for readers/listeners who try Ian McEwan for the first time, as well as his long-time fans!

1 sur 1 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 17/09/2012

A gripping cold war spy romance

Would you consider the audio edition of Sweet Tooth to be better than the print version?

Definitely. I have already recommended it to several friends.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Serena's character was very well portrayed as I could relate to how women were treated in the seventies. I was amazed that a male could write so well from a woman's point of view.

Which scene was your favorite?

The final scene in which Serena sits down and reads the letter.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Serena's reaction in the final meeting with her superiors - great character descriptions and portrayal of emotions.

Any additional comments?

This is definitely Ian McEwan's best novel. Many modern writers create insipid, extraneous characters to offset the villains from a particular country or ethnicity in order to accommodate our politically correct world, but it rarely works for me. Fortunately, McEwan hasn't succumbed to this yet.

1 sur 1 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Colleen
  • 13/08/2016

Pretentious nonsense

Not one of McEwan's best. Self indulgent and tedious. Unlikeable and improbable characters working their way through a banal plot. Narrator, however was excellent.

  • Global
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Lisa
  • 09/08/2013

DON'T BOTHER!

What would have made Sweet Tooth better?

OMG the story was tedious and boring! It felt like it was not going anywhere and even the end wasn't exciting.

What was most disappointing about Ian McEwan’s story?

The whole story was disappointing..

What character would you cut from Sweet Tooth?

All of them! it was so long and boring!

1 sur 2 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

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  • Global
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Cheimon
  • 21/04/2013

Underwhelming - literary point not worth the story

Sweet Tooth is, sadly, very underwhelming. McEwan's point is well made, but not worth the effort it takes to get there.

What are we looking at here? Freedom of thought? Power of fiction over worldly powers? The power of the spy in all his iterations? It all comes down to fiction vs. reality, in many guises. I see that and it would have made a lovely short story – it's very possible that that's on purpose and kudos to McEwan for that joke, which is actually pretty funny - but none of these themes justify sitting through twelve hours of a bland, mildly annoying, improbable protagonist and a story where every little piece of suspense goes up in nothing, despite it's highly suspenseful setting.

If this were young adult fiction, I'd get why the protagonist's obsessions have to interfere with her life, but in this context it feels petty and unbelievable. It's almost as though she walks through the world with an attitude of "my sexual satisfaction trumps all other interests, and I'm not even sorry," but she's not combining that attitude with the feminist convictions that should logically underly it. You work at MI5, and you don't think twice about starting something with your immediate superior or jumping into bed with the person you're handling? Just because you can?

The ending doesn't really change much here… it explains her lack of depth as a character in a novel, but doesn’t make the story any more relevant. It is a self-reflective ride of contemporary fiction, which is all neatly mirrored in the protagonist - which is all academically lovely, but doesn't elevate the pleasure of the story.

So the whole influence of fiction on reality, yes, sure, but in the end I am left with a piece of fiction that has sorely little influence on my reality – I feel like I am being force-fed his point in many guises, but because they are all self-contained in something that is entirely fictional if we take two steps back from it, they ultimately fail to hit home. This distinguishes Sweet Tooth from Atonement, where the reader's investment in the story is an enormous part of the reveal at the end - the fictional nature of the entire story as told by McEwan doesn't matter there, because the emotions that carry its enormous weight are very real for the reader.

In Sweet Tooth, the reader is left with nothing to feel much about. It's amusing, academically clever. Nothing more.

(In addition, the narrator intones the story with a certain downward cast that might inhibit my enjoyment of the protagonist and my willingness to believe that men would find her so irresistible. She doesn't come across as particularly lively or humorous. This might not be entirely McEwan's fault.)

4 sur 4 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ruth Vornefeld
  • 10/02/2015

Twisted and beautiful

Auch beim zweiten Hören noch ein Genuss - eine schön konstruierte Handlung, ironisches Spiel mit der Form und eine perfekte Sprecherin.

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Paul
  • 04/01/2014

Very skilled but story could be more gripping

Deftly read but story takes a very long time to get going. I found it a bit high-brow and didn't quite get the point of the story. I also found it slightly unbelievable how the author pretended to be a woman. This was my first McEwan. Perhaps I picked the wrong one to start.