The Complete Short Stories, Volume One

Narrated by: Charlton Griffin
Length: 19 hrs and 48 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (125 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

Over a long period, Maugham continued to write stories that were highly interesting and controversial. With a creative verve for plot development and a jaded eye for the foibles of mankind, Maugham's stories crackle with the irrepressible energy of a master story teller.

All of Maugham's short stories in this and subsequent volumes will be presented in the order in which they were published, beginning in 1921.The stories in Volume One are:

  • 1. Rain
  • 2. The Fall of Edward Barnard
  • 3. Mackintosh
  • 4. Red
  • 5. Honolulu
  • 6. The Pool
  • 7. The Letter
  • 8. Before the Party
  • 9. The Force of Circumstance
  • 10. The Outstation
  • 11. The Yellow Streak
  • 12. P. & O.
  • 13. Jane
  • 14. The Round Dozen
  • 15. The Creative Impulse

The Complete Short Stories, Volume One will continue in volumes two and three.

All stories not in public domain are the property of and published by agreement with the W. Somerset Maugham Royalty Trust.

Public Domain (P)2013 Audio Connoisseur

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A masterful production of Maugham's short stories.

Charlton Griffin narrates these short stories by W. Somerset Maugham with a keen sense for each character's delivery. Griffin's love of this author shines through his Audio Connoisseur recording.

To listen to these works is to be transported to the Pacific Islands and various ports in Asia. Maugham spent much of his life in this part of the world. He found the mixture of cultures there in the early 20th Century to be fascinating, absurd, tragic and mysterious. One can never predict how the typical Westerner will react to the pressures of such strange, tropical surroundings. Maugham made much of this, but never went for the simple surprise ending in his short stories. Many of these works are quite disturbing in their portrayal of the moral weakness of Westerners when immersed in the seeming anonymity of the Tropics.

11 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful introduction to WSM

I'd never read anything by Somerset Maugham before, and after the first couple of stories I wondered what all the fuss was about. I'm glad I kept on, because the master storyteller soon emerged in subsequent tales and didn't let up. I will be moving on to the remaining volumes in this series as quickly as I can. The reader is sometimes a bit leaden, and there is an unnecessary musical soundtrack at the beginning and end of each tale, which comes across like a cheesy radio production. But all in all, this is wonderful stuff!

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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I LOVE THIS AUTHOR!

I am writing this review before I finish listening because I'm finding this author a wonderful new friend. And I wanted to say that while the sound effects and musical interludes are unexpected, not necessary, I am enjoying them very much. I am a musician and sensitive to anything that would be too loud or vulgar or badly done. To my mind, whoever did the sounds was clever and creative with a sense of fun and drama. I love that dissonant chord that seems to say, "Oh, dear! Now what?"

Yes, this narrator has a problem with women's voices. He sounds like a man trying to speak falsetto. I have noticed that French and Japanese women still cultivate their voices. My friend Akiko sounded like little silver bells. Old recordings of Jackie Kennedy make her sound kitteny, like a kid wearing a pink angora sweater on a date! Hardly a powerful, educated woman! Griffin's women sound like that. So be it. This narrator is marvelous for the men's voices, all the accents, and the narration. He is fine by me and I will be downloading his version of "Of Human Bondage."

As for the stories, some leave me feeling better than others. All are well done. "The Outstation" has changed my life. As another reviewer put it, you notice characters similar to people you know and situations much like some you have lived with. I didn't find Warburton a snob! I admired him very much and fully understood his little routines for the preservation of sanity. As for Cooper, he is such a doofus, it costs him his life! Low class and going through life with his fists up! White socks with a dress suit and what he doesn't know probably doesn't count for much anyway! Har har! In him I saw a bit of myself, people from my hometown, George Dubbya Bush and now Trump. This story makes me want to shut up and smile and listen.

Offensive sexual stuff? Really? When? It must have been necessary to the story, and we are adults. I am finding Maugham to be whole-souled, a citizen of the world, who enjoys people and describes them wonderfully.

4 people found this helpful

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Awesome performance !

Loved every moment of it - Looking forward to listening to all of his books and traveling to those wonderful south sea islands !

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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King of the short story, narrator can't do women

Somerset Maugham is by far my favorite story teller. His stories are masterpieces of constuction--it's no wonder so many were successfully made and remade as plays and movies. He traveled the world at the height of the British Empire, when it was still mysterious and each country had a distinct atmosphere not yet overrun with tourists and Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises. His longer books tend to get bogged down in philosophy but the short stories I can read again and again.
My only complaint is the narrator. He was fine with male voices but when he is speaking for women he sounds like a schoolyard bully mimicking the new girl -- the same exagerated nasally whine for all the women characters, from glamourous femme fatales to cackling old crones. But if you can tune that out I recommend it highly.

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A ruined reading

For me the reading was ruined by excessive and irrelevant 'music' (sometimes only beats or noise patterns) that preceded each story, the music even dribbling into the first sentences. The reader was adequate but I found the music distracting, annoying and certainly unnecessary. I returned this purchase to Audible.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Mixed reviews

Maugham is always a great story teller with a wonderful, evocative use of subtle language. Griffin's narration is superb and suits the atmosphere of this set of stories, set for the most part in the far east. Would have gotten five stars except for the introduction of unnecessary musical interludes, which were sufficiently annoying to consider not getting volumes 2 and 3.
David Evan Glasser

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Wonderful Stories With a Twist

I’m inclined to think that it was William Somerset Maugham’s style - at least in short stories - to fantastically describe his characters and their locations with embedded clues to the inevitable twist coming near the end of his works. And his phrases are fantastic: “It was a sharp sensation, simulating to the appetite (like hot sauce with ice cream)...” and the culture and discussions among his characters are one with the times in which he describes them.

Nothing can be ill-said of Charlton Griffin. As a narrator, he has a beautiful voice that pronounces every syllable with precision and, especially with these stories, he takes on a character (male or female) and makes them his own. I will always love to hear his voice.

My only complaint about this is that not all of the short stories are here. The title says “Volume One,” but so does my book, and I only heard and read along with the first half of the stories. But this is my own fault for not digging a little deeper, I suppose. The short stories contained in this volume are: Rain, The Fall of Edward Barnard, Mackintosh, Red, Honolulu, The Pool, The Letter, Before the Party, The Force of Circumstance, The Outstation, P & O, Jane, The Round Dozen, and The Creative Impulse. I’m hoping the next 15 stories my book contains are in the next volume. Happy reading!

1 person found this helpful

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Somerset Maugham

These stories, so well read, have given us so many wonderful afternoons! Thanks to Audible.

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LOVE MAUGHM, BUT WHAT'S WITH THE SOUND EFFECTS

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No, great stories ruined by the silly radio effects. if you want to sell a radio play, it should be described that way in the description.

Would you be willing to try another one of Charlton Griffin’s performances?

Don't particularly care for his voice.

1 person found this helpful