The Loving Eye
Cover Design by Charles Mozley
One wild spring morning, looking across the gardens behind his Kensington home, Matthew Ligne sees a strange new woman at the window opposite. He becomes obsessed with her.
At first, knowing that dreams are best left as dreams, he forbids himself to try to fabricate a meeting. But finally he must - and then reality proves as strange as the dream.
Matthew's window looks out on a corridor of London back gardens, on the cats and trees and flowers and people that make these, as every Londoner knows, into a rich and private jungle within the brick facades, and his love affair with Lily is entangled with the many and various creatures of this world....with Dawn McGhee, a night-club hostess with a taste for gin and butterflies on her stockings, with Monsier Dupont the white-spatted cat, with Leslie Lovelace an out-of-work actor and man-of-most-trades, and even with a murder investigation.
These flowering gardens, the Spring, love and London are the ingredients of what is unquestionably Mr Sansom's most evocative, most entertaining and brilliant novel.
The Loving Eye is unquestionably Mr Sansom's most evocative, most entertaining and brilliant novel. All his virtues are here - the freshness of vision, the deep sensuousness, the melancholy gaiety like the sweet yet acrid smell of bonfires. The only other English writer with an equivalent master is Mr Henry Green and in his new book Mr Sansom is more than mere virtuoso preoccupied with pyrotechnics. To enter Mr Sansom's world is to be permanently enriched. It is an animistic world where everything, even the wallpaper, is alive with love.
John Davenport, London Observer
Mr Sansom is the master of the language of colour and texture, and heightens in the reader a fascination for the wayward subtleties beneath the surface.
Enchanting romantic comedy...in The Loving Eye, William Sansom is at his best - his blend of demestic wit with poetic fantasy, his almost uncannily close-up observations and his perceptive liking for human nature have, here, th eideal chance to come into play. I commend to you one of this autumn's most striking novels.
Elizabeth Bowen, Tatler
A wonderful piece of observation and of writing...no on else. I think, could have given us the uncanny truth of the 'small, separate world' that is here presented.
Howard Spring, Country Life
It is the loving eye and perfect ear of William Sansom that make this novel a delight.
The two outstanding stylists among our novelists today are Mr H E Bates and Mr William Sansom. The Loving eye is certainly a virtuoso performance. The construction is extremely clever; the long set-pieces of description broken by the coarse Cockney monologues and the sudden moments of real feeling, all leading to the calm happiness of the ending.'
The Loving Eye is a delicate, almost lyrical idyll. The Loving Eye is simply; but this is accomplished simplicity and as good as anything we've had from him in years.
He is the humorist of the rarer sort, with sensitivity, style and a tinge of sorrow. This is altogether an ingratiating, deftly executed performance, with a measure of warmth and wisdom about the nature of love. It is fresh and warming high comedy.
New York Times Book Review
All his virtues are here apparent - the freshness of vision, the deep sensuousness, the melancholy gaiety...He is now a master of texture in the Flaubertian sense...unexpected, tantalising and wholly satisfying.
In my opinion, The Loving Eye is William Sansom's most successful novel. It is light, gay, shrewd and delightfully human. It is one of the novels I've enjoyed most in 1956.
Time and Tide
This is Mr Sansom's best novel since The Body...the Lonodn backrounds are beautifully done...This world of gardens and cats, of Spring and sudden storm...of early morning streets and rainy dusks is brough magically to life.
Times Literary Supplement
A wonderful piece of observation and of writing...no one else, I think, could have given us the uncanny truth of the 'small, separate world' that is here presented.