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The Painted Veil Audiobook

The Painted Veil

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Publisher's Summary

First published in 1925, The Painted Veil is an affirmation of the human capacity to grow, change, and forgive. Set in England and Hong Kong in the 1920s, it is the story of the beautiful but shallow young Kitty Fane. When her husband discovers her adulterous affair, he forces her to accompany him to a remote region of China ravaged by a cholera epidemic.

Stripped of the British society of her youth and overwhelmed by the desolation around her, she is compelled by her awakening conscience to reassess her life. She takes up work with children at a convent, but when her husband dies, she is forced to return to England to her father, her one remaining relative, to raise her unborn child. Though too late for her marriage, she has learned humility, independence, and how to love.

Listen to the classics: download more from W. Somerset Maugham.

©1925 W. Somerset Maugham; (P)2006 Blackstone Audio Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Audie Award Finalist, Classic, 2007

"[Maugham is] the modern writer who has influenced me the most." (George Orwell)
"An expert craftsman....His style is sharp, quick, subdued, casual."(New York Times)
"The Painted Veil, with its sadness, its moral tension, its irony and compassion, its building evocations of lust and terror and remorse, is a work of art." (Spectator)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (774 )
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4.4 (412 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Melissa Upper Marlboro, MD, United States 05-24-11
    Melissa Upper Marlboro, MD, United States 05-24-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Interesting story"

    I bought this as part of an Audible sale (can't remember why exactly I picked it), but I ended up enjoying it. The story of an unfaithful wife, the lengths to which her husband went to punish her, and her search for redemption. Quite a few interesting characters. Kitty makes you want to smack her several times during the book, but you end up rooting for her to make the right decision (and you totally agree with her self-loathing after her mistake the second time around); eventually she comes around. Waddington is a gem, as are the nuns in the convent. Not a very long read/"listen" and it moves along well. I enjoyed the narration.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P. Giorgio Illinois 06-23-11
    P. Giorgio Illinois 06-23-11 Member Since 2011

    TheWriter

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    "Not bad ... not great"

    A trifle pedantic and indulgent by the author. I found elements of Anna Karenina and hints of Madame Bovary, but not the emotional impact of either. This is a story that has all the ingredients of a morality tale, and none of the reality of redemption. It was predictable yet readable, and while I saw what was coming, felt I should continue it. It made me think that Maugham -- sorry -- had less creativity and imagination but wonderful style and powerful language. Nothing original here. But worth reading, worth hearing the masterful use of language.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    22Wonderful Sacramento, CA 09-26-16
    22Wonderful Sacramento, CA 09-26-16 Member Since 2013

    Kae S.

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    "Excellent characters"

    A simple period piece with tremendous character development. Outstanding narrator - ideal, really.

    I've listened to this several times. Love it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paris 08-29-16
    Paris 08-29-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Pretty good"

    Excellent performance. I would recommend this book. A tragic love story. Not my favorite, but a classic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbie Toney, Alabama 08-05-16
    Debbie Toney, Alabama 08-05-16 Member Since 2013

    Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.

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    Story
    "1925 to Now . . . Some Things Never Change"

    Vain, selfish, puffed up . . . and unable to see beyond the end of her own nose, Kitty Garstan, is pretty and has drawn the attention of plenty of eligible young men . . . but having turned them all down, and now at age 25 and about to pass into spinsterhood according to her mother, she feels pressed to accept the proposal of young bacteriologist, Walter Fane . . . he has fallen quite madly in love with her . . . though his shy, backward ways amuse her . . becoming wife to Dr. Fane at his post in Hong Kong seems a fitting station to Kitty . . . so it is that she accepts Walter's proposal . . . society life as the life of a bacteriologist is not what Kitty had hoped . . . and she soon begins an adulterous affair with the Colonel Charles Townsend, the Assistant Governor of Hong Kong . . . an older fellow, who, like Kitty, suffered much from an over inflated opinion of himself . . . thinking herself to be in love for the first time in her life, Kitty overlooks the obvious . . . i.e., the fact that Charles is happily married, that he spends WAY too much time preening in front of the mirror, and that his WIFE is the one with the brains in the family . . . and suave Charles feeds Kitty's ego, like candy to a baby . . . with all the "I love you's" and "I will never let you down"s until one could upchuck at the sheer idiocy of it . . . and low and behold, poor naive Walter . . . who has loved his wife with a never ending love, expecting nothing in return . . . well, he isn't the country bumpkin one would have imagined . . .(I do hate that the author did not delve further into Walter's own emotions from this point further, other than to show his bitterness . . . I am going to watch the movie, as other reviewers have noted that the conclusion is different) . . . from the time that Walter confronts Kitty with her cheating and their move to China, the story changes greatly . . . and so do Walter and Kitty . . . the relationship of Kitty with the nuns and children, the work of Walter with the Chinese dying of cholera, the story of Waddington and the Manchu Princess were all wonderful . . . but as Kitty grows and finally realizes the worthlessness of Charles, his shallowness, her own foolishness, and begins to see the kindness of her own husband, she is yet to truly VALUE it . . . to LOVE him . . . to understand the GIFT of him . . . the ending is a hard one . . . brutal . . . but leaves hope for Kitty to yet learn and grow with her father and her child.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy M Hallas 07-18-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Beautiful Realism"

    Awesome narrator - her voice was perfect for the role and so full of inflection! This story is very honest. It portrays the results of love and infidelity realistically, without silly Hollywood romance. It strikes true to the heart as you watch a vain and shallow woman gain depth and understanding and wisdom through her trials. She is transformed from a pitiful socialite to a woman of better, higher emotions and convictions. Beautiful story!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    angela griffin virginia beach, va, US 04-04-16
    angela griffin virginia beach, va, US 04-04-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Great Story"

    It was a little difficult to follow at the beginning, but increasingly got better. The story itself was just wonderful. To see the change in the main character, Kitty, throughout the book was eye opening. This story helps you look at your own life and attitude.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    montoia 10-17-15
    montoia 10-17-15
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    Story
    "Selfishness has no mercy on ourselves."

    Until we realize the world is not about what it can do for us, we are selfish and ignorant. The greatest joy in life is blessing others with peace and happiness, even in our darkest times.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. DeVries Northwest, IN. 06-29-15
    D. DeVries Northwest, IN. 06-29-15 Member Since 2013

    I have a quilting business. Since I love to read, I cannot read a book and quilt at the same time. Now I can listen to books and quilt too.

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    "Growing up"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes I would. This story pointed out the fragility of relationships...marriage and how the grass is NOT greener on the other side.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Kitty Fane and her evolution into 'growing up' and being held accountable for her decisions.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The author sets us back in time with the story and setting...but also can easily be set in today's era.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    My favorite scene was when the realization of her actions comes full force in her heart and mind.


    Any additional comments?

    A very insightful book. It reminds us all about the values of love and marriage...and honesty.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara Mulvenna 05-23-15

    barbara

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    "Exceptional"

    I think Maugham tells a beautiful story and his command of language and phrasing is wonderful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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