Customer Reviews


18 Reviews
5 star:
 (3)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (4)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (6)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The soul of John Le Carre
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...
Published on 16 Jan 2003 by michael smith

versus
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Something different
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...
Published on 27 Oct 2008 by Jeremy Walton


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Something different, 27 Oct 2008
By 
Jeremy Walton (Sidmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Naive and Sentimental Lover (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The soul of John Le Carre, 16 Jan 2003
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a pretentious mess really, 13 Oct 2014
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Naive and Sentimental Lover, 5 Nov 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Catharsis, 11 July 2009
By 
This review is from: The Naive and Sentimental Lover (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best., 9 Jun 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As big fan of Le Carré's work this book came as a bit of disappointment. What I like about is work is that some of his characters seems to got under my skin and in this book that doesn't even close close to happen.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars The Sentimental Lover, 7 Dec 2011
By 
R. Minican (Thirsk, North Yorks.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Naive and Sentimental Lover (Paperback)
The delivery was good but unfortunately this must be the worst book that John Le Carre has wrote. He needs to stick to what he knows best "espionage".
I read the book to halfway through and gave up. Very disappointing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A minor work unrelated to the rest of his novels., 29 Oct 2002
By 
Peter Fenelon - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too long, 11 Mar 2007
Although le Carre has a good style in comparison with other thriller writers, it is not strong enough to hold the reader's interest in the absence of his usual intricate plot. The main character, Aldo, is slow to catch the reader's interest, although he does so in the end; Shamus and Helen are perhaps more interesting but as 'free spirits' you may find them rather dated. The plot is slight and much of the text is taken up by Aldo's thoughts on various subjects. Having said all of this, the book might have been a worthwhile read if it had been cut to a considerably shorter length; as it was, it was a struggle to get through it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Truly dreadful, 31 Dec 2012
This review is from: The Naive and Sentimental Lover (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Naive and Sentimental Lover
The Naive and Sentimental Lover by John Le Carré (Paperback - 21 Sep 2006)
£7.19
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews