Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
published 2012 chapter 9 set in the 1970s
observations: In general this blog likes to choose pictures of people wearing clothes, not just the clothes, though there have been exceptions (this is fairly extreme one). Sometimes a perfect outfit pops up in our researches, but it is on a mannequin, a shop dummy; and again we would use such a picture with reluctance – there are examples here and here, and it is possible to deduce there is something within the extracts that seems to justify the use of an inanimate object in these particular cases.
Here we have the rare opposite situation - the woman described above is a shop dummy, and Neil is about to fall in love with her. This is a story within a story in a really rather tricksy book - there is a twist at the end of it which prevents much open discussion of the plot. It is, as is usual with this author, beautifully written and very entertaining, and it is close to impossible to guess where it is going next. The picture of the UK, and particularly London, in the 1970s is very convincing and real. The picture of the security services is also convincing and real, as well as being both funny and horrifying. Whether is more than just a clever book with a clever trick is hard to say.
Links up with: Mrs Bradley likes orange in an outfit, as does this young woman. Espionage, women and high drama also feature in this book. Another Ian McEwan book here, and he is mentioned in the comments on this entry.
The picture is Flaming June by Frederick Leighton, a Victorian painter whose reputation has had its ups and downs. It is owned by an art museum in Puerto Rico.