"Sweet Tooth" is a novel written by the English author Ian McEwan. The book was published in 2012.
The characters described are likely, even floating in midair in a rarefied world that seems to belong to the fantasy more than to reality, but they can transmit through a silence a world, their world and make it available to the reader by introducing it, calmly , in an unknown dimension, in the world of espionage, suspicion and meanness.
The protagonist, Serena, daughter of a bishop, educated according to the bourgeois principles, forced to neglect her preference for letters and graduate in Mathematics in Cambridge, gets a job at MI5: we are in the seventies, England is in the midst of the energy crisis, the Northern-Irish independence movement is very active, developing and extending the cold cultural war.
The mission consists in having to recruit writers and intellectuals who can make propaganda in favor of the West, against the Soviet bloc.
McEwan hides, behind the form of the spy-story, a heavy criticism of what can be the art of the writer where it is exploited for political ends.
Already in Atonement we had witnessed the artistic mystification created by the protagonist Briony, who betrayed a negative judgment of the author on art as fiction. Here this judgment appears in all its evidence, not only in the main plot, but also in those stories, which are reported to us as the creation of the character of Tom Haley, which can be considered short novels in the novel, according to the best English tradition.
In each of these stories, the protagonist, who is the twin who replaces the parish priest, or the individual who is taken by passion for a dummy, or the husband who loves his wife more passionately after learning of his dishonesty , it is the lie that triumphs. Each of these stories becomes a symbol and metaphor of the novel in which it is inserted.
The necessity of the Secret Services to finance, without revealing to them the true end of the operation defined as Miele, authors who write works that enhance the values of the Western world, in contrast with those represented by Soviet communism, once again make the distinction between traditional intellectual and intellectual organic . It is obvious that the intellectual who puts himself at the service of power, of whatever sign it is, becomes organic to that same power.