“Not Mr McEwan’s Finest Book.” was the Economist’s summation of this odd book and I thoroughly agree. Described also as a “Russian Doll” of a novel because of its stories within stories. Most of them distracting or just plain poor.
For me it’s just badly written with an incredible central character, Serena Frome, written in the first person by McEwan.
The sex scenes (and there are several) are embarrassing, the musings on life stilted, and the overall flow of it just plain bad.
It’s a Cold war thriller set around the 1970’s offices of MI5 and MI6 and concerns the travails of the aforementioned Serena as she appears to shag her way through most of the Western World’s (mostly) straight spies.
I adore Ian McEwan but this is just guff. Sorry.
Massive plot twist or otherwise. Avoid.