Ian McEwan is an extraordinay author. His characterizations and his writing cadence are extraodinary. This book was really not what I expected. I was expecting a spy thriller book with earth-shattering and catastrophic segments. There is nothing life-threatening or dangerous about this book even though the element of surprise and the fear of the unexpected are both there for the reader. I have to admit that Serena Frome was probably one of the most unlikeable protagonists that I've ever read. She was very well portrayed and that is not why I didn't like her. She is just not a woman that I would be drawn to at all if I was to meet someone like her. She vacillates and can't seem to make a decision to save her life. She's insincere and a bit of a snob actually. She moves through her life and her main goal is to make no waves, stand for nothing and just drift. Having said that, I found the minor characters in the book were wonderful and very real. I especially liked Serena's sister and father. Although we don't see them much in the book, I found them very easy to picture and imagine. There's a lot about love, desire, deceit, creativity (in the form of the written word). Without giving away anything of the plot, there is even an evil character. A character that doesn't loom that large in the narrative, but one whose deception is actually behind the whole story. McEwan does such a good job of laying bare human deceptions and exposing all the cracks and breaks under the gloss of the human facade. It seems to come up and hit you as you read his books.