The Naïve and Sentimental Lover, John le Carré: Book Review and Announcement

Moving away from spies and suspense, The Naïve and Sentimental Lover was one of John le Carré’s first books that can be seen as non-genre.

Read on for my thoughts, and also a special announcement at the end!

The plot:

Aldo Cassidy is a cautious man. He has a pleasant family, drives a safe, expensive car and wears luxurious clothes. But his soothing existence is upended when he meets Shamus and Helen – a dazzling, bohemian couple who are everything he is not.

As he is drawn into their reckless and unpredictable orbit, all that Cassidy thought he understood about his orderly life begins to unravel.

It made you feel like you were actually in the past

I’ll tell you something – when I wasn’t Googling a word every other page to find out what it meant, I really enjoyed the complexity and themes behind The Naïve and Sentimental Lover.

Despite Aldo Cassidy being the main focus throughout, there were three parts which focused on different characters, and I just adored the creativity and the way it made you feel like you were actually in the past (despite this not necessarily being fab). Le Carré made the characters unlikeable, but I understand what he was doing and reward him for this.

This book, whilst fiction, may be based on a relationship le Carré has experienced, which just added another dimension. I’ve only read a couple of other pieces by le Carré and heck, they were a lot to live up to, but I wasn’t disappointed by The Naïve and Sentimental Lover. I think once you put the whole spies and suspense out of your mind, you’ll really enjoy it.

I did feel like the ending could have been different (although can be argued as realistic), but nonetheless, it made for a lovely read, and one that I found dragged me into the protagonist’s life.

It is brilliantly written, and one of those books which leaves you feeling like “what on earth”, but everyone will take from The Naïve and Sentimental Lover what they will and sooo many themes arise, I’d be surprised if this wasn’t an English A-Level exam soon.

Undeniably charming and bizarre: The Naïve and Sentimental Lover is one that should be on your list and is an absolute classic.

Speaking of classics…


On 27 September 2018, 21 of John le Carré’s novels will be made into Penguin Modern Classics (and the collection is sooooo pretty to have on your shelf).

Not only this, but The Little Drummer Girl by John le Carré is being made into a major six-part BBC adaptation in October 2018, starting Alexander Skarsgård and Florence Pugh!

I’ll also be doing a competition for you to win a copy of The Naïve and Sentimental Lover, so keep your eyes peeled over on my Twitter and Instagram.

You can find out more about the Penguin Modern Classic collection here, and keep your eyes peeled for The Little Drummer Girl!

The Naïve and Sentimental Lover, John le Carré, RRP £9.99 (Penguin Modern Classics Edition); Book Depository 

Pages: 506

Publisher: Penguin Modern Classics

Genre: Fiction

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