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The Painted Veil Audiobook
The Painted Veil
Written by: 
W. Somerset Maugham
Narrated by: 
Kate Reading
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 (740 )
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4.4 (379 )
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    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
  •  
    J.B. Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States 07-17-16
    J.B. Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States 07-17-16 Member Since 2009

    Reading, the arts and physical activity clarify, explain, illustrate, and interpret life’s goods and bads.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Despondency Can Teach"

    The Painted Veil, W. Somerset Maugham and narrated by Kate Reading. Like any Maugham novel, its keynote is despondency. A formal turn of the century upper middle class encounter of a beautiful woman facing abject discouragement. Okay, so now I have made this sound like a bad read. It is not. Somehow, as pedantic as his stories seem Maugham draws one into these inane and frustratingly foolish situations and the reader becomes involved. You can be annoyed by the lead characters and nevertheless, there you are turning pages (or in this case, keeping the reader reading).

    ne other introductory item, the Publisher’s summary, although not untrue, makes the story seem to concentrate on aspects of the book that were minimal. The story has many episodes not described; and the vast number of circumstances in which we see our heroine (Kitty) is what makes this a readable story.

    Our heroine comes to us as a frail characterless chick! She is not one who appreciates any virtue other than conspicuous consumption. Though beautiful (like all Maugham lead woman characters) life mistreats here in that she could not find a man to marry until her late 20s, and, then out of desperation she settles for an otherwise not intriguing marriage, and they leave for Hong Kong where her husband will be posted as a bacteriologist. A cheating love affair gone wrong puts her and her husband into a desperate situation in a cholera epidemic. She volunteers to help with orphans at a nunnery and does some minor undertakings to help the nuns care for the sick, and gets overly praised for her minor effort. Okay, now you have the story, but not its teaching and that is where Maugham is a superior author.

    What if there is no afterlife? Are all the Catholics and Protestants going to be surprised? What, if anything, is the virtue of worshiping in an organized religion? What is Daoism and does it provide understanding of life’s absurdities. Why do the unrighteous do so well in our world. Why do we lack courage and why do we cower in the presence of threats. All this and more are considered by Maugham against his simple story. If you want to think about the worth of life then, A Painted Vail, is for you to read. You can also enjoy it all if you are looking for a cheap cheat on your husband story.

    A comment on the reader: a little too dramatic but then again, she moves the story forward very well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Sullivan Illinois 07-10-16
    J. Sullivan Illinois 07-10-16 Member Since 2015

    pretty great human person

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    "Purchased on a whim."

    I liked the movie so I thought I'd give the book a try. The movie is quite different, but I very much enjoyed the story of this book. The narration was splendid. The voices were distinct and perfect. Highly recommended!

    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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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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    "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.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Candik24 03-21-15
    Candik24 03-21-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good lesson learned"

    It was a good story. The lesson women need to learn is always this one.
    Characters development good for the shorter book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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