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The Naïve and Sentimental Lover: A Novel Paperback – July 20, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Splendid, original…le Carré 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

About the Author

John le Carre was born in 1931. He attended the universities of Bern and Oxford and later taught at Eton. He spent five years in the British Foreign Service. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reissue edition (July 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143119753
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143119753
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #284,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John le Carre was born in 1931. His third novel, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, secured him a worldwide reputation, which was consolidated by the acclaim for his trilogy: Tinke, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; The Honorable Schoolboy, and Smiley's People. His novels include The Little Drummer Girl, A Perfect Spy, The Russia House, Our Game, The Taileor of Panama, and Single & Single. John le Carre lives in Cornwall.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By David Starr-Glass on August 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
A historical setting might help to understand this book. John Le Carre (the pseudonym for David Cornwell) began his brilliant writing career with two not-so-impressive mystery books, which were not well received. His third book, "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold" was his first "spy book", although his writing is too rich and multi-layered to be characterized so narrowly. However, "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold" was very, very successful and his career was well and truly launched.

"Naïve and Sentimental Lover" was the fourth book and Le Carre seems to have been exploring different styles and genres. "Naïve and Sentimental Lover" is a wandering coming of age book in which the central character, Aldo Cassidy (the name should already have alerted you to a problem), tries to make sense of his life and calling as CEO for a baby pram company (yes, that is correct).

The book is redolent of bell-bottomed trousers, flowers in the hair, hippy culture, and concerned social questioning (over the vegetarian quiche) of the late 1960s and early 70s. Add to this the maniacal writer-in-being Shamus, his marginally nymphomaniac wife Helen, and total abandonment in Paris and you have a book that is quiet unlike anything Le Carre ever wrote again.

It is a difficult book and although I consider Le Carre perhaps the finest writer of our times, I could not finish it at a first reading. Recently, I revisited the book after a dozen or more years. I did complete it and am happy that I made the effort to pick it up again. Perhaps the distance helped?

It was, second time round, a very entertaining and quite hilarious read that was not, I suspect, ever meant to be read too seriously.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 24, 1999
Format: Hardcover
As a Le Carre fan I was a little confused when I first started this novel - this is not another spy novel. Sort of like when you order coffee and are presented with a cup of tea: but then if it's the best cup of tea you've ever had, you soon forgive the mistake. The author was exploring an entirely different side to himself when he wrote this. I first read this book many years ago and it has haunted me since, and still rates as one of my all-time top 5. It is an achingly beautiful and involving story about three people struggling with themselves while caught in a love triangle. The power relations between the characters are intense and engaging. Read this classic story about the "human condition" and be amazed, entertained and moved.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 12, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Over the years, I had read all of Le Carre's books except for this one. I recently decided to give "Naive" a try, notwithstanding the departure from a "spy" theme. Subject matter aside, which is a two man, one woman love triangle, the book is painfully slow. While I usually find Le Carre's character development to be compelling, and his books hard to put down, I had great difficulty getting through the middle of this one. I'd never before read one of his books and found myself anxious to be finished. I'm an enormous Le Carre fan--I think of him as my favorate author. Nonetheless, my advice is to skip this book.
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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 7, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The only reason I give this book one star is because it cannot be rated any lower.
I have read every novel authored by Le Carre and I rate him as one of, if not THE best writers in the espionage/cold-war genre. He is one of my favorite writers and I am fascinated by his ability to introduce a the human side to his characters and make you have compassion for them
This book however, may very well win the title of "the worst book I have ever read". I was unable to relate or have any feeling for any of these characters except for one of distaste, and struggled to make it through this book. I constantly wanted to throw the book away, but read on in the hope tht I would discover some redeeming quality ... none was found.
For readers looking to discover the wonderful collection of LeCarre novels, I would recommend any of the Smiley books and would warn all readers away from this work.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By rompers uncle on July 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I tried to read this one (I am currently reading the corpus in the order it was written), but I failed. After about page 100 I had to give up

Its not badly written at all, and it contains the vivid characterizations that many people like JLC for. but I just decided I didn't personally have the time to complete it. I am a slow reader, and I like JLC because of his subject matter (and perhaps also because of the way this subject leads him to certain reflections on existence), and this book is not about spies, or even a mystery story.

The author tried to make a plea in his introduction that we should give this book a chance; he said something like it was 'my try at writing a work of art' and that the critics had no right to deny him that attempt just because the subject wasn't what he was known for. Fair enough--but don't ask us to like it if it doesn't measure up!

'Spy who came in from the Cold', and 'Tinker Tailor...' are both going to be around alot longer than this one. Does that make them works of art? Perhaps. At least they convey to me a certain meaning, which is more than the rather vacuous first 100 pages of this novel did.
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