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William Somerset Maugham (1874 - 1965) was a British playwright, novelist and short story writer. He was among the most popular writers of his era and reputedly the highest paid author during the 1930s.
Table of Contents:
Liza of Lambeth (1897)
The Making of a Saint (1898)
The Hero (1901)
Mrs Craddock (1902)
The Merry-go-round (1904)
The Bishop's Apron (1906)
The Explorer (1908)
The Magician (1908)
The Canadian (The Land of Promise) (1914)
Of Human Bondage (1915)
The Moon and Sixpence (1919)
Short Story Collections:
The Punctiliousness of Don Sebastian
A Bad Example
The Choice of Amyntas
The Trembling of a Leaf: Little Stories of the South Sea Islands (1921)
The Fall of Edward Barnard
A Man of Honour (1903)
Lady Frederick (1912)
The Explorer (1912)
The Circle (1921)
Caesar's Wife (1922)
East of Suez (1922)
The Land of the Blessed Virgin: Sketches and Impressions in Andalusia (1905)
On a Chinese Screen (1922)
The Painted Veil is a beautifully written affirmation of the human capacity to grow, to change, and to forgive.
In Up at the Villa, W. Somerset Maugham portrays a wealthy young English woman who finds herself confronted rather brutally by the repercussions of whimsy.
On the day her older and prosperous friend asks her to marry him, Mary Leonard demurs and decides to postpone her reply a few days. But driving into the hills above Florence alone that evening, Mary offers a ride to a handsome stranger. And suddenly, her life is utterly, irrevocably altered.
For this stranger is a refugee of war, and he harbors more than one form of passion. Before morning, Mary will witness bloodshed, she will be forced to seek advice and assistance from an unsavory man, and she will have to face the truth about her own yearnings. Erotic, haunting, and maddeningly suspenseful, Up at the Villa is a masterful tale of temptation and the capricious nature of fate.
From one of the twentieth century’s most enduringly popular fiction writers: the only hardcover edition of his short stories.
Though W. Somerset Maugham was also famous for his novels and plays, it has been argued that in the short story he reached the pinnacle of his art. These expertly told tales, with their addictive plot twists and vividly drawn characters, are both galvanizing as literature and wonderfully entertaining. In the adventures of his alter ego Ashenden, a writer who (like Maugham himself) turned secret agent in World War I, as well as in stories set in such far-flung locales as South Pacific islands and colonial outposts in Southeast Asia, Maugham brings his characters vividly to life, and their humanity is more convincing for the author’s merciless exposure of their flaws and failures.
Whether the chasms of misunderstanding he plumbs are those between colonizers and natives, between a missionary and a prostitute, or between a poetry-writing woman and her uncomprehending husband, Maugham brilliantly displays his irony, his wit, and his genius in the art of storytelling.
The Painted Veil is a beautifully written affirmation of the human capacity to grow, to change, and to forgive. Full of imperfect and flawed characters it was perceived as descriptive of those character types of the time, but in some way, it feels quite contemporary, especially in the themes it addresses and the way it describes the relationships between women and men.
Set in England and Hong Kong in the 1920s, The Painted Veil is the story of the beautiful but love-starved Kitty Fane. When her husband discovers her adulterous affair, he forces her to accompany him to the heart of a cholera epidemic. Stripped of the British society of her youth and the small but effective society she fought so hard to attain in Hong Kong, she is compelled by her awakening conscience to reassess her life and learn how to love. This wonderfully atmospheric and evocative book has on 3 occasions been made into a film, most recently in 2006.