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The Naive and Sentimental Lover (Coronet Books) Paperback – 19 Apr 1990


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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Coronet (19 April 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340515929
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340515921
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.9 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,132,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John le Carré was born in 1931. His third novel, THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD, secured him a wide reputation which was consolidated by the acclaim for his trilogy TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, THE HONOURABLE SCHOOLBOY and SMILEY'S PEOPLE. His other novels include THE CONSTANT GARDENER, A MOST WANTED MAN and OUR KIND OF TRAITOR.

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Review

"Splendid, original...le Carre shows how endowed he is with the gift of storytelling."--"The Times "(UK) "Comic and touching...this novel is brilliant and marvelously good reading."--Book World --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

'Splendid, original ... le Carré shows how endowed he is with the gift of storytelling' The Times

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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Walton TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 Oct. 2008
Format: Paperback
Speaking at the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the beginning of this month, John le Carre described his feelings about this novel as "toe-curling embarrassment". Since it had been me who'd asked him the question about it, I thought it'd be interesting to reread the book. This is a story that represents a departure from the author's work in the spy-thriller genre, although his abiding themes of betrayal, secrecy and intrigue still underly this tale of the repressed Aldo Cassidy and his obsession with the wildly unconventional Shamus and Helen. The whole appeal of the story, I think, hinges on whether you think this obsession is realistic and can empathise with Aldo's quest for something greater than his uneasy marriage to the brittle Sandra, or think that Shamus is a hectoring twerp of unparalleled selfishness who uses his (rumoured) artistic talent as an excuse for atrocious behaviour.

Personally, this time round, I still found myself believing in the story, although I could see how a little more impatience with the characters would cause a complete loss of faith in it. As for the writing, le Carre's attention to detail in the dialogue remains evident here: for example, the way Sandra ends just a few sentences with the nagging "but still" tells you a lot about what it would be like to be married to her. And I was interested to come across a few phrases that were to be later re-used in A Perfect Spy, which (like this book) contains a number of autobiographical elements. As an interesting side-trip from the genre that le Carre has dominated for so long, it's to be recommended, but I don't think anyone could argue that this is one of his best.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Scaroth, Last of the Jagaroth on 13 Oct. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I think ‘unrewarding’ is the adjective I would most see suitable to apply to John Le Carre’s sixth novel and his only non-espionage writing to date. I can’t say I disliked it as such, however I definitely found it irksome and meandering, with an utterly selfish and pointless central character whose life is materially successful but otherwise utterly unfulfilled, and whose quest for meaning and adventure leads him to throw himself in with a couple of highly questionable Bohemain types who basically take him for a ride. The novel is apparently semi-biographical, but if Le Carre is the central character, Aldo Cassidy, then he deserves our extreme pity with even perhaps, a measure of contempt.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By michael smith on 16 Jan. 2003
Format: Paperback
I know this book rarely gets a mention in a discussion of Le Carre's greatest works, but I absolutely loved it.
The book haunts me still after ten years, so I felt the need to buy it again!
The story reveals a deeply emotional side to John Le Carre that you will not find elsewhere.
If you are pondering the meaning of love, life and death and wondering what it's all about, take a chance on this book.
It moved me deeply.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Brian P. Holt on 11 July 2009
Format: Paperback
This was written after the breakdown of his marriage, and it shows.

I have copies of everything that Le Carre has written, and re-read them at regular intervals, with the exception this one semi-autobiograpic novel.

Oh! And 'The Looking Glass War'has dated far more than his other early works,but nonetheless one of my favouite authors.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By bookworm on 31 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback
I knew that this was a departure from le Carre's usual forays into the dark recesses of spying. Knowing that he was out on a tightrope I was prepared to cut him some slack but I rapidly lost interest and almost abandoned the book several times. What kept me going was the hope that le Carre, the master storyteller, would pull the rabbit out of the hat. Alas! By the time I got to the end I was skipping through great globs of the text. I wish I had abandoned it because it was a total waste of time.
The protagonists are Cassidy, areally naive silly gullible fool and even worse a thoroughly nasty con man called Seamus. They spar back and forth for hundreds of pages until the reader feels like shaking the pair of them and throwing them into the Thames. What a thoroughly unpleasant duo!
I really enjoy le Carre's prose, but this is one of the worst books I have ever read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. A. F. Zudys on 5 Nov. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A departure from the formulaic "spy" novels from Le Carre, I had the sense he might have written this book for his own satisfaction. For me easily his best.

A man tempted to break free of a successfully dull existence hits his own emotional Cresta Run - in all innocence!

I've read it at least twice before, but in paperback editions that have gone the way of all flimsy items - very glad to have the hardback now.

Essential reading.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Peter Fenelon on 29 Oct. 2002
Format: Paperback
First of all, this isn't an espionage novel - which will cause many readers to switch off straight away. But it is Le Carre, and therefore it's at least readable on a basic level.
It's a slight tale of attempted escapism, emotional ties, and the "freedom" that artists enjoy; the kind of middle-aged, middle-class upper-middlebrow book that in particularly bad years might've stood a chance at the Booker.
I'm sure if you think hard enough about this book you'll find echoes of JLC's relationship with his father in it, or echoes of his own life - but frankly I found the whole think really little more than a piece of extended angst.
Marginally entertaining for the completist, but apart from a similarity in tone and style that will appeal to those of us who enjoy JLC's writing, there's very little memorable or even particularly interesting here.
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