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The Naive and Sentimental Lover
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The Naive and Sentimental Lover

3.16  ·  Rating details ·  948 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
Aldo Cassidy is the naive and sentimental lover. A successful, judicious man, he is wrenched away from the ordered certainties of his life by a sudden encounter with Shamus, a wild, carousing artist and Helen, his nakedly alluring wife.
Paperback, 560 pages
Published September 21st 2006 by Sceptre (first published 1971)
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John Farebrother
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book. Le Carré fans will be nonplussed when they read this, there isn't a spy or a civil servant on the horizon. It's the author's only departure from the genre that he has made his own, and in his own words it "isn't everyone's cup of tea, to say the least". In fact there is hardly any plot: the book deals with an encounter between an eccentric writer, his girlfriend and a businessman going through a midlife crisis. But the prose is superb: the story is told through a series of sub ...more
Aug 05, 2011 rated it liked it
There's a passage from this book I've often wondered about:
"First there's foreplay," said Helen, speaking as though she were ordering dinner, "then there's consumation, and finally there's afterglow."
As far as Helen's concerned, then, afterglow is just an integral part of sex. But not everyone agrees. For example, Galen of Pergamum seems equally certain of his facts when he says:
Post coitum omnia animal triste est.
I find the contrast rather striking. Is it the case that some people experience af
Mar 05, 2013 added it
This is not, like I have seen claimed in several places, le Carré’s first novel that is not a spy thriller (there is also A Murder of Quality, which although it features George Smiley as its protagonist is not about espionage at all, but is a murder mystery) but his first (and possibly only, I have not read them all yet) non-genre novel. It also seems the least liked of his novels, and while it would be easy to dismiss that as fans complaining that they are not getting their customary fare, I th ...more
Dillwynia Peter
Nov 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title is typically Iris Murdoch as too the themes - how will Mr Average deal with people outside his norm. And here lies the rub because altho this book is Murdoch co-authors with Joyce, it is in fact a novel by Le Carre; and judging by the comments & reviews the masses have told him he can only write about espionage.

The book has become quite dated & is very much a product of what I consider the bleakest period in 20th Century England - the late 60s & 70s. It might all be Carnaby
Jan 25, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I rarely abandon books, and when I do, it is usually within the first chapter, and generally because I dislike the genre or the author's style irritates me. I persevered with this novel for almost 200 pages because I am trying to read all the Le Carres in order, and felt I needed to finish this in order to 'earn' Tinker, Tailor. However, I hated it so much that I felt I had to give up before it irrevocably coloured my view of Le Carre's work. My primary problem with the novel was that it just se ...more
Winifred Holland
Jan 01, 2013 rated it did not like it
I have read most of le Carre's work and this is the only one I have really hated. I was aware that it was a departure from his usual spy/cold war espionage genre but I had decided to re-read all his books in the order in which they were written.
I found this book almost impenetrable. It veered around so much and was so apparently hallucinogenic it felt the way I imagine an acid trip would feel.
One of the main characters, Seamus, is one of the most unpleasantly manipulative characters you will eve
Jul 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: novel, espionage
The only novel that LeCarre has written outside of the espionage genre, The Naive and Sentimental Lover is an exploration of the nature of love and obsession. The main character, Aldo Cassidy, is a stolidly successful businessman. When he goes to Somerset to look at house he is considering buying, he meets a couple who are squatting there: Shamus and Helen.

Shamus is emerging as a successful novelist, while Helen's main attribute is her beauty. In a complete reversal of his usual obedience to th
Apr 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I haven't read any other Le Carre books and perhaps that is why I liked this book so much. It is unnecessarily long, but is undeniably gripping. It's as charming and funny as it is bizarre.
My interpretation of it is that Helen, Shamus and Aldo are the three Freudian parts of the human psyche. Shamus - wild, child like and pleasure focused - is the id. The calm, rational and balanced Helen would be the ego. And Aldo, who never takes any risks, loves his creature comforts and always minds his P's
May 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
While totally different from le Carre's usual spy novels,he still presents interesting characters & exotic locations. He makes full use of the double entendre and the writing is filled with innuendoes...great fun. One can't help smiling at Cassidy's naivety as he befriends a pair of strange bedfellows and questions his earlier existence. What follows is an absolute romp. Very entertaining.
Phillip Frey
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in the ins and outs of love.
This is such a well-written book that has nothing to do with spies, as most of le Carre's do. This book has to do with love, seduction, and the human condition. Something le Carre appears to know a lot about.
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Why knock it? 1 10 Jan 07, 2014 09:45PM  
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John le Carré, the pseudonym of David John Moore Cornwell (born 19 October 1931 in Poole, Dorset, England), is an English author of espionage novels. Le Carré has resided in St Buryan, Cornwall, Great Britain, for more than 40 years, where he owns a mile of cliff close to Land's End.

See also: John le Carré - Wikipedia
More about John le Carré...