Stunningly rejacketed as part of a major reinvigoration of this neglected 20th century master
William Somerset Maugham was born in 1874 and lived in Paris until he was ten. He was educated at King's School, Canterbury, and at Heidelberg University. He spent some time at St. Thomas' Hospital with the idea of practising medicine, but the success of his first novel, Liza of Lambeth, published in 1897, won him over to literature. Of Human Bondage, the first of his masterpieces, came out in 1915, and with the publication in 1919 of The Moon and Sixpence his reputation as a novelist was established. At the same time his fame as a successful playwright and writer was being consolidated with acclaimed productions of various plays and the publication of several short story collections. His other works include travel books, essays, criticism and the autobiographical The Summing Up and A Writer's Notebook. In 1927 Somerset Maugham settled in the South of France and lived there until his death in 1965
W. Somerset Maugham's short stories are his most highly regarded work, and the structure of The Moon and Sixpence reveals his preference for episodes and anecdotes. Partly inspired by the life of Gauguin and partly by Maugham's own life, the novel depicts a great artist as a driven, surly outcast, literally a leper. The characters are essentially one-dimensional and some stereotypes are quaint at best, but Maugham's sophisticated voice, spiked with barbed philosophical insights, remains amusing. Reader Neil Hunt does a good job voicing each character. The 1919 best seller may have a nostalgic appeal for older audiences, but most collections can safely give it a miss.‘Michael Barrett, San Antonio P.L.
"I picked it up and couldn't put it down." -- Alexander McCall
Smith * Mail on Sunday *
"Magnificent" * Express *
"From an era that produced George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells and John Galsworthy, Maugham is the great survivor" * Economist *
"If anyone deserves resuscitation, he does... As a teenager, I read and reread my sister's long shelf of Maughams. What I enjoyed was their atmosphere: the brooding, sensual, sinister mood of exotic locations, where his characters seemed always on the verge of mania and where no-one behaved nearly so well as they were expected to" -- Rosemary Goring * Herald *