In Ian McEwan’s novel Sweet Tooth, a wariness of an extreme form of (human) control characteristic of Cold War politics indirectly reflects an anxiety about authorial manipulation. Rather than asserting his own direct authority over the text, McEwan uses tropes of romance and espionage to interrogate the conjunction of power and masculinity on which his authorship—and the cultural-political divide, largely speaking—is predicated. By foregrounding the perspective of a female spy, doubly positioned as the lover and reader of the writer within the novel, Sweet Tooth complicates what it means to construct narrative authority, while also challenging the binary thinking that dominated the Cold War years.


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