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© William Sansom Estate 2017

London. All rights reserved.

The Cautious Heart

1958

Hogarth Press

Cover Design by Charles Mozley

A young man falls in love. Of the thousand faces that pass by the piano which he plays in a small London club - this one face contains his future. Why? he says to himself, as, although in love, or because he is love, he questions the reasons that make us flal for one rather than the other person whom in our lives we chance to meet. 

Nor does this affair run easily. The story involves a triangle of an unusual kind - where the other man is not after the girl nor she after him. He is instead an attachment, an old friend continually in trouble, a man whose anarchic nature results in him sponging on people who toe the line he despises, who lives on rescue. These troubles become obsessional with the girl Marie - and consequently with the narrator, who has thus to share his love with a shadow. One would think a small fly in the ointment, and soluble - but, as in life, it grows huge, and against a background of London in the snow and in the spring, of ordinary flats and streets and the way of life today, the big drums of drama play.

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Criticism
The reader is tickled into laughter; but his heart is touched also, and his reason is made to nod approval.'
 
The New York Times
 
A tender, ironical, adult novel…Sansom is the poet of London.
Walter Allen

One of Mr Sansom's best novels. The old sources of delight are there: the enjoyment of the appearance, sound, smell, taste of things and the flavour of words...brings out all the resources of Mr Sansom's sensuous imagination. 
Edwin Muir