There have been few masters of the short story as popular as W. S. Maugham. His dry wit, worldweary loftiness, pungent cynicism, and penetrating powers of observation have contributed to the creation of some of the greatest short stories ever written.
Over a long period, Maugham continued to write stories that were highly interesting and controversial. With a creative verve for plot development and a jaded eye for the foibles of mankind, Maugham's stories crackle with the irrepressible energy of a master story teller.All of Maugham's short stories in this and subsequent volumes will be presented in the order in which they were published, beginning in 1921.The stories in Volume One are:
The Complete Short Stories, Volume One will continue in volumes two and three.
All stories not in public domain are the property of and published by agreement with the W. Somerset Maugham Royalty Trust.
Public Domain (P)2013 Audio Connoisseur
Charlton Griffin narrates these short stories by W. Somerset Maugham with a keen sense for each character's delivery. Griffin's love of this author shines through his Audio Connoisseur recording.
To listen to these works is to be transported to the Pacific Islands and various ports in Asia. Maugham spent much of his life in this part of the world. He found the mixture of cultures there in the early 20th Century to be fascinating, absurd, tragic and mysterious. One can never predict how the typical Westerner will react to the pressures of such strange, tropical surroundings. Maugham made much of this, but never went for the simple surprise ending in his short stories. Many of these works are quite disturbing in their portrayal of the moral weakness of Westerners when immersed in the seeming anonymity of the Tropics.
I'd never read anything by Somerset Maugham before, and after the first couple of stories I wondered what all the fuss was about. I'm glad I kept on, because the master storyteller soon emerged in subsequent tales and didn't let up. I will be moving on to the remaining volumes in this series as quickly as I can. The reader is sometimes a bit leaden, and there is an unnecessary musical soundtrack at the beginning and end of each tale, which comes across like a cheesy radio production. But all in all, this is wonderful stuff!
Retired to mountains of California. Sell on eBay as Prsilla. No TV. Volunteer in wildlife rehab. Knit, sew or embroider while listening.
I am writing this review before I finish listening because I'm finding this author a wonderful new friend. And I wanted to say that while the sound effects and musical interludes are unexpected, not necessary, I am enjoying them very much. I am a musician and sensitive to anything that would be too loud or vulgar or badly done. To my mind, whoever did the sounds was clever and creative with a sense of fun and drama. I love that dissonant chord that seems to say, "Oh, dear! Now what?"
Yes, this narrator has a problem with women's voices. He sounds like a man trying to speak falsetto. I have noticed that French and Japanese women still cultivate their voices. My friend Akiko sounded like little silver bells. Old recordings of Jackie Kennedy make her sound kitteny, like a kid wearing a pink angora sweater on a date! Hardly a powerful, educated woman! Griffin's women sound like that. So be it. This narrator is marvelous for the men's voices, all the accents, and the narration. He is fine by me and I will be downloading his version of "Of Human Bondage."
As for the stories, some leave me feeling better than others. All are well done. "The Outstation" has changed my life. As another reviewer put it, you notice characters similar to people you know and situations much like some you have lived with. I didn't find Warburton a snob! I admired him very much and fully understood his little routines for the preservation of sanity. As for Cooper, he is such a doofus, it costs him his life! Low class and going through life with his fists up! White socks with a dress suit and what he doesn't know probably doesn't count for much anyway! Har har! In him I saw a bit of myself, people from my hometown, George Dubbya Bush and now Trump. This story makes me want to shut up and smile and listen.
Offensive sexual stuff? Really? When? It must have been necessary to the story, and we are adults. I am finding Maugham to be whole-souled, a citizen of the world, who enjoys people and describes them wonderfully.
The content is good, but the music and sound effects are vulgar and awful
The sound effects and music are vulgar and awful
Somerset Maugham is by far my favorite story teller. His stories are masterpieces of constuction--it's no wonder so many were successfully made and remade as plays and movies. He traveled the world at the height of the British Empire, when it was still mysterious and each country had a distinct atmosphere not yet overrun with tourists and Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises. His longer books tend to get bogged down in philosophy but the short stories I can read again and again.
My only complaint is the narrator. He was fine with male voices but when he is speaking for women he sounds like a schoolyard bully mimicking the new girl -- the same exagerated nasally whine for all the women characters, from glamourous femme fatales to cackling old crones. But if you can tune that out I recommend it highly.
I know it is a classic, but it was extremely slow and then the 2 stories I listened to were too sexual for my taste.
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