The Great War changed everything and everyone, and Larry Darrell is no exception. Though his physical wounds from the war heal, his spirit is changed almost beyond recognition. He leaves his betrothed, the beautiful and devoted Isabel; studies philosophy and religion in Paris; lives as a monk, and witnesses the exotic hardships of Spanish life. All of life that he can find - from an Indian Ashrama to labor in a coal mine - becomes Larry's spiritual experiment as he spurns the comfort and privilege of the Roaring 20s.
"Brilliant and easy to read"
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.
"What An Unexpected Delight!"
Somerset Maugham's success as a writer enabled him to indulge his adventurous love of travel, and he recorded the sights and sounds of his wide-ranging journeys with a unique urbane, wry style. The Gentleman in the Parlour is an account of the author's trip through what was then Burma and Siam, ending in Haiphong, Vietnam. Whether by river to Mandalay, on horse through the mountains and forests of the Shan States to Bangkok, or onwards by sea, Maugham's vivid descriptions bring a lost world to life.
Philip Carey, a sensitive orphan born with a clubfoot, finds himself in desperate need of passion and inspiration. He abandons his studies to travel, first to Heidelberg and then to Paris, where he nurses ambitions of becoming a great artist. Philip's youthful idealism erodes, however, as he comes face-to-face with his own mediocrity and lack of impact on the world. After returning to London to study medicine, he becomes wildly infatuated with Mildred, a vulgar, tawdry waitress, and begins a doomed love affair.
"You won't want it to end!"
Of Human Bondage is one of the greatest novels of modern times, and it is certainly Maugham's greatest achievement. It was published in 1914, when Maugham was at the height of his creative powers. The story concerns Philip Carey, afflicted at birth with a club foot, and his passionate search for truth in a cruel world. We follow his growth to manhood, his educational progress, his first loves, and the wrenching tragedies and disappointments that life has in store for him. In some of the finest prose of the 20th century, Maugham has presented us with the timeless story of one man's search for the meaning of life.
"One of the greats"
When Cakes and Ale was first published in 1930 it roused a storm of controversy, since many people imagined they recognised portraits of literary figures now no more. It is the novel for which Maugham wished to be remembered.
"A classic worth reading"
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.
"A masterful production of Maugham's short stories."
This is the story of Kitty Fane, the adulterous wife of a bacteriologist stationed in Hong Kong. When her husband discovers her deception, he exacts a terrible vengeance: Kitty must accompany him to the heart of a cholera epidemic in China.
"A novel about personal growth"
In June 1917, W. S. Maugham was asked by the British Secret Intelligence Service, to undertake a special mission in Russia to support Kerensky's government. The mission failed, and two and a half months later, the Bolsheviks took control. Maugham subsequently said that if he had been able to get there six months earlier, he might have succeeded. Quiet and observant, Maugham had a good temperament for intelligence work. The writer used his spying experiences as the basis for his collection of short stories called Ashenden: Or the British Agent. They became the prototype for the modern espionage novel.
This is the story of an artist who was willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of art. In much of its general outline, this famous novel follows the life of Paul Gauguin, famous French post-impressionist painter, but it is not a novelized biography of Gauguin. Rather it is a sharply-delineated, carefully wrought "private life", written by one of the most vivid and penetrating contemporary literary masters.
"great, simply great"
Julia Lambert is in her prime, the greatest actress in England. Off stage, however, she is bored by her handsome husband, coquettish, and undisciplined. She is at first flattered and amused by the attentions of a shy and eager young fan, but before long Julia is amazed to find herself falling wildly, dangerously, in love.
In The Moon and Sixpence, Charles Strickland is a respectable London stockbroker who decides in middle age to abandon his wife and children and devote himself to his true passion: art. Strickland's destructive desire for self-expression takes him first to Paris to learn the craft of painting, and finally to Tahiti in the South Pacific. The Moon and Sixpence remains a complex and engaging novel echoing Maugham's own struggles between artistic expression and public respectability.
"Enjoyable novel, well narrated"
There’s something Constance Middleton’s friends are dying to tell her: her husband is having an affair – with her best friend! Despite their hints, Constance remains ever cool, and seemingly oblivious. Or is she? In this biting comedy of manners, marriages and mistresses, Constance – a not-so-desperate housewife - has some ideas of her own about extra-marital activity that surprise everyone in the end!
"Fun and frothy, but with a bit of a bite!"
In 1938 Maugham wrote, "Fact and fiction are so intermingled in my work that now, looking back on it, I can hardly distinguish one from the other." Maugham also wrote that most of his short stories were inspired by accounts he heard firsthand during his travels to the lonely outposts of the British Empire. In volume three of this series, we present all of the remaining short stories which Maugham published after World War I and which he subsequently caused to be republished in various collections.
"What a treat!"
Charles Strickland, a conventional stockbroker, abandons his wife and children for Paris and Tahiti, to live his life as a painter. While his betrayal of family, duty and honour gives him the freedom to achieve greatness, his decision leads to an obsession which carries severe implications.
"Roman a clef-abominable french artist Paul Gauguin"
Larry Darrell is a young American in search of the absolute. The progress of this spiritual odyssey involves him with some of Maugham's most brilliant characters: his fiancée Isabel, whose choice between love and wealth have lifelong repercussions; and Elliot Templeton, her uncle, a classic expatriate American snob. The most ambitious of Maugham's novels, this is also one in which Maugham himself plays a considerable part as he wanders in and out of the story, to observe his characters struggling with their fates.
W. Somerset Maugham is one of the best-loved short story writers of the last 100 years. In this collection of his finest short work Maugham takes the listener to the sun-drenched Pacific islands where the Governor mercilessly abuses the inhabitants; to the story "Rain", in which the Reverend and the prostitute play out one of the most famous finales ever written; to the studies of chauvinistic Colonels, and snide conversations in Edwardian drawing rooms, as well as at the gates of heaven. As an introduction to one of the greatest writers in the English language Stephen Crossley's reading is the perfect place to start.
"Rain Down on Me"
El gran novelista ingles Sumerset Maugham se aparto de sus acostumbradas obras de exploracion psicologica en La Luna y Seis Peniques, donde en la historia del financista Strickland que abandona a su familia para dedicarse a la pintura en Haiti, hizo una biografia novelada de Paul Gauguin, el amigo de Van Gogh y uno de los grandes precursores del arte moderno.
William Somerset Maugham (1874�1965) was born at the height of British imperial power. When he died, the British Empire was all but a memory. In Maugham's lifetime, as his civilization slowly disappeared, people from all walks of life, the proud, the urbane, the crude, and the desperate, passed beneath the lens of his dispassionate scrutiny. Transformed into some of the most unforgettable literary works of the 20th century, his experiences re-emerged in his plays, fiction, and essays.
"Portrait of the artist as an old man"
Somerset Maugham set out on an extraordinary trip in September of 1922. He would remain abroad for nine months and end up traveling by canoe, riverboat, rickshaw and mule from Rangoon to Mandalay in Upper Burma, down through Thailand to Bangkok, then to Phnom Penh and across the jungle by river to Angkor Wat. From there he went down river to Saigon, then by ship to Hue and Haiphong. He ends the audiobook with an anecdotal story of his fellow passengers while on shipboard to Haiphong.