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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

4.2 (1151 )
5 star
 (522)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Overall
4.3 (752 )
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3 star
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1 star
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Story
4.5 (758 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Jan Woodbridge, VA, United States 04-05-11
    Jan Woodbridge, VA, United States 04-05-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Dreadfully Slow, Not a Big Plot."

    Although this book was originally published in 1925, I thought that it would take me to a different time and place. It definitely did that, but I was looking for a deeper plot. It was very boring to me. Don't get me wrong, this book was well written and the narrator did a fantastic job, but the story line itself did nothing for me. This book received raved reviews, but I truly did not see what all the fuss was about. It was ok. Unfortunately, I will not listen to this one again...

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Connie Shawnee, KS, United States 03-27-09
    Connie Shawnee, KS, United States 03-27-09 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    138
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    225
    51
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    5
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    Overall
    "Wonderful!"

    A wonderful story with excellent narration. This is the first classic novel I have listened to via audible. I so enjoyed the characters and the thoughts of the novel.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    maria aguirre 11-27-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
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    145
    22
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    "A wonderful journey"

    Quite simply this book was a very enjoyable listen. I liked the visual journey I imagined as the scenes were described and I thought the ending was unpredictable.

    6 of 9 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
    7
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    16
    4
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    Story
    "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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melissa Upper Marlboro, MD, United States 05-24-11
    Melissa Upper Marlboro, MD, United States 05-24-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
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    10
    9
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    0
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    Overall
    "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
  •  
    Paula Overland Park, KS USA 07-07-13
    Paula Overland Park, KS USA 07-07-13 Member Since 2012

    Enjoying one good listen after the next!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1851
    ratings
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    794
    301
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    321
    24
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Such a Good Story!"

    Even if you've seen the made for TV movie, listen to this book! Maugham's writing is brought to life by Kate Reading's superb narration. How she does so many different voices so well is a mystery. The story centers on the response of a husband who discovers his spoiled wife has cheated on him. Was his initial intent to put her in such peril that her death would be imminent? How did she adapt and grow in response to her husband's leadership? Mostly set in China during a cholera epidemic, it is a worthy story that is a great listen.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B Reader 01-23-17
    B Reader 01-23-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    62
    34
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    Story
    "The racism bothered me"
    Any additional comments?

    Beautifully read, and well-written, I was ready to enjoy the novel. That is until the descriptions of the Chinese people came to being. Maugham's British colonial world of 1925 describes the Chinese only as 'coolies', 'boys', 'dirty', 'yellow', 'animals' and more. We are told in a patronizing way that the main character is so very superior for having the wonderful nature to want to be around Chinese children. I found the main character to be ugly and insufferable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rich 01-15-17
    Rich 01-15-17 Member Since 2016

    Rye-and-Indian, baked daily.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    350
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    60
    60
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    27
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    Story
    "Romance and Morality, with a Bit of Theology"

    After completion of The Painted Veil, I find myself mulling over the following topics:
    - Do I find the lead character (Kitty) believable/realistic? I think I do.
    - I'm impressed by the message of women's liberty for a book written in the 1920s.
    - The intentional open-ended ending of the book: will Kitty be able to fulfill her ambitions of her future life?

    I picked up The Painted Veil on a $2.95 Daily Deal, knowing nothing more about the title than its publication date and abstract. Kate Reading's narration was superb, and I wouldn't mind reading some more of Maugham in the future. A very good read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    eva Shavano Park, TX, United States 01-14-17
    eva Shavano Park, TX, United States 01-14-17 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    40
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    "For a deal of the day, not bad."

    Yes, sappy, but you don't have to think to much for this chick book. It was a fun little ride, predictable, with a few twists. For 2.95, I was ok in the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ricardo 01-13-17
    Ricardo 01-13-17 Member Since 2017
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Painfully dull"

    Painfully dull and boring as a story of a woman in Victorian times can be.

    Absolutely no purpose, I can imagine a cheap soap opera being more interesting than this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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