William Somerset Maugham (1874 - 1965) took his reading material quite seriously. He said, "When I read a book, I seem to read it with my eyes only. But now and then I come across a passage, perhaps only a phrase, which has a meaning for me, and it becomes part of me."
Maugham's work has certainly become a part of millions of his fans today. To judge by his short story masterpieces, it was in the tiny crevasses and pinched corners of humanity that Maugham illuminated those elemental qualities that were to fascinate him all his life. In fact, the concept of a "normal" person never entered his mind. He claimed such people simply didn't exist.
Selections in Volume 3:
Listen to more collections of The Short Stories of William Somerset Maugham.
Public Domain © and (P)2004 Audio Connoisseur
"Griffin creates all the voices in these stories, and he does so with such conviction and believability that this reviewer double-checked the package to make sure a woman had not read some of the parts. He artfully captures the contempt, snobbery, or roughness of his characters, all the while managing British accents that immediately give away the character's class. Music is used with great care to underscore Maugham's words, and a subtle use of sound effects makes the stories all the more vivid. Listening to this world-class production is a wonderful way to spend a cold winter night." (The Boston Globe)
Charlton Griffin is one of the greater narrators you will find on audible. His vocal range is amazing, and he is pleasant to listen to.
It helps that he has great stories to read to the listener. Contemporary writers do not have the wit, skill, patience, and talent of Maugham. Think of Chekhov with an English sensibility. I also enjoy the colonial settings of most of his stories. Not to be missed if you dislike genre fiction as much as I do and enjoy actual literature.
After reading a brief biography of Somerset Maugham's life I was interested in reading his books. I've started with Short Stories 2 and 3 and while 3 was my favorite they were both really great. Even though they are shorter then a lot of the other books, they are worth every cent or full credit point. His stories are detailed and colorful and really get you thinking about every side of a problem and story. It seems his goal is to help you consider another side of your set opinion on right and wrong and morality and never take anyone or anything at face value or for granted. These stories will keep you thinking which is the best part of reading or listening to any book. This narrator was great, and although it was dramatized in parts which is something I don't usually like, he does it so well that I actually enjoyed it and helped add color to characters.
I would say this is the bottom of the list of Maughan short stories. They are OK, but not memorable. It has been a week since I listened to them, and if you asked me what they are about I would have to say I don't remember.
Of course. When he is great he is great. But not here.
Sorry, can't remember
Maughm is a good writer and I appreciate his ironic endings.
brittle, muffled, heavily accented.
The verger at St. Peters. He was undoubtedly a wise man.
"Spoilt by the narrator"
These are wonderful stories, but my enjoyment was ruined by the ludicrous reading by the narrator, Charlton Griffin. Although lauded for his narration on other websites, his performances should be avoided by anyone with a knowledge of UK spoken English. His approach is ponderous, pretentious and over-powering and he clearly revels in his own performance. However it is rendered ridiculous by his pathetic attempts to imitate regional British accents, the worst of which appears to be what he seems to think will be that of Somerset Maugham himself. These accents are barely identifiable as native English and usually consist of a mixture of at least 3 accents simultaneously. An example is his 'Scottish' accent which sounds Irish, American and Indian in turn without ever being remotely like anything heard in Scotland. These problems are distracting to the point of infuriation and I frequently had to switch off to clear my ears of the mess. Worst of all they take away all interest in the stories themselves and turn the whole performance into a pantomime. I will be careful to avoid any other readings by him and would advise others to do the same. Unfortunately it would appear he has a virtual monopoly on Somerset Maugham stories!
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