Sweet Tooth: A Novel

Editorial reviews

Sweet Tooth: A Novel

McEwan hasn’t lost his gift for ending on a high note, but unlike in Atonement, the ordinary details aren’t imbued with enough convincing drama to earn such a breathtaking finish.

To be sure, the delicious ending reinforces Sweet Tooth’s slightly-too-sunny disposition, but it is difficult to remain impervious to the story’s life-affirming and almost defiantly romantic outlook.

What we learn at the end should make readers want to flip back through the book and re-read it with opened eyes; unfortunately, the experience of wading through "Sweet Tooth" the first time dispels much urge to read it again.

Sweet Tooth proves to be the work of an optimist, but the power of McEwan's earlier works is sacrificed to the cause.

If the novel's end seems a little too tidy, and Serena's voice not always convincing - she is the daughter of a bishop, but her sensibility rarely reflects the deep imprint of a religious upbringing - "Sweet Tooth" is nonetheless a more-than-nourishing tale set in the last decade of the Cold War.

Postmodernist writing can have humor and heart, but, in Sweet Tooth, McEwan's postmodernist narrative "tricks" simply serve as weapons of mass destruction.

Espionage aspects of Sweet Tooth — concerning the IRA and USSR — are curiously flat. The book's tensions and temptations reside instead in its labyrinthine literary and romantic interplay.

Ian McEwan’s delicious new novel provides all the pleasures one has come to expect of him: pervasive intelligence, broad and deep knowledge, elegant prose, subtle wit and, by no means least, a singularly agreeable element of surprise.