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whereorwhen

W. Somerset Maugham

Not having read any of his books but knowing he had a number of films adapted from his plays I was very happy to buy a collection !0  Maugham novels from The Book People recently.  I have read Ashenden,  Cakes & Ale,  Liza of Lambeth,  Up at the Villa,  Christmas Holiday and the Narrow Corner, all with pleasure and interest.  I see that The Folio Society are bringing out Of Human Bondage in November which was listed by The Times as one of the100 greatest English novels of the 20th century. So perhaps there is a revival of interest in his work

 It seems Somerset Maugham himself wrote “Fact and fiction are so intermingled in my work that now, looking back on it, I can hardly distinguish one from the other” and it would appear that he described personal experiences as those of his characters in all his novels. He used his experience as a First World War secret agent, in his writing featuring Ashenden,  predating Ian Fleming’s Bond.

Has anyone here read any of his books?  I should love hear your opinion of them.



Whereorwhen
Mikeharvey

In the last year I've read 'Liza of Lambeth', 'Cakes and Ale and ' 'The Moon and Sixpence, all of which I enjoyed very much.  I often dip into his Collected Short Stories in several volumes - these are always worth reading.  Maugham's writing is always a pleasure to read.  The new edition of 'Of Human Bondage' from the Folio Socety looks very sumptuous, but is very dear.  
Have you come across a series of British portmanteau films made in the 1940's of some of his short stories - 'Quartet', 'Trio' and 'Encore'?  Available on DVD they're well worth looking at.  Each introduced by Maugham himself.  
The new Folio Society edition of 'Of Human Bondage' looks lovely doesn't it?
whereorwhen

W. Somerset Maugham

So pleased to hear you have read and enjoyed these books. I thought Liza of Lambeth a sad story but one that I am sure reflected the lives of the people in that time and situation.  I remember 'The Moon and Sixpence' as a film that I must have seen but so long ago I have only a vague memory.

I am now reading 'The Painted Veil' which I am sure I have seen as a film on TV - not sure of the title so perhaps it was changed. Thank you for the DVD suggestion, I will look for them.

Yes, The New Folio edition of 'Of Human Bondage' does look very tempting but as you say, very dear.  Every year when the new prospectus arrives I look and drool and then remember my double stacked book- sheves. I wait and debate with myself and finally give in and buy and try to keep within a certain budget so the more expensive volumes aren't usually included.  Sometimes of course they are later in the Sale at a reduced price which is great.

I love my books and until recently have avoided paperbacks, I just don't like the feel of them but having bought several paperback 'collections' I have enjoyed a lot of books I would have found difficult to house in hardback. Also they have the advantage of being so much lighter and easier to hold, (especially when reading in bed).
Sandraseahorse

Quote:
I am now reading 'The Painted Veil' which I am sure I have seen as a film on TV - not sure of the title so perhaps it was changed. Thank you for the DVD suggestion, I will look for them.


"The Painted Veil" has been made into a film at least twice.  The version I saw about 4-5 years ago had the same title.  I remember Edward Norton and Diana Rigg in it.
TheRejectAmidHair

Somerset Maugham was a wonderful short story writer. His complete short stories are published in four volumes, and they're never anything less than enjoyable. At best, I think they're remarkable.

I've read 4 of his novels (I was quite a fan back in my teenage years) - Of Human Bondage (I read it when I was about 15 or so - just the right age for a novel such as this!), The Moon and Sixpence, The Razor's Edge and Cakes and Ale. I guess much of his stuff may have dated a bit, but Cakes and Ale remains amongst my favourite novels. And I found myself browsing through The Razor's Edge lately, and enjoyed its cynical but warm-hearted wit.
whereorwhen

I have now read all 10 books in the collection with great pleasure apart from Don Fernando which failed to hold my interest.  All in all a set to highly recommend and I shalll look for more books by Somerset Maugham.

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