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Friday, July 29, 2011

Review - Somerset Maugham Collection of Short Stories Volume 2


The book I have has a very dull cover. It was surprising I even picked it up. This one is so intriguing it would draw you in to read the book. I understand there are four volumes of short stories and I am determined now to track them down!

Volume 2 deals with the Englishman of the colonial era in full force - set in Malaysia, Borneo, South America and a couple on the Continent the stories are wonderfully told - an almost Eastern story teller ambiance of step by step stories leading to a twist in the tale, a quirky character and a sadness that the story is to end.

Dealing with relationships throughout the stories, the pressure that loneliness puts on one and how it can alter people is a recurrent theme throughout this book. Planters, administrators of the British Empire led a lonely life at the top - maintaining a stiff upper lip, maintaining standards which were difficult to maintain and for men a very lonely life of home and club. The existence of a secret life of native mistresses and half caste children was a fascinating aspect of their lives told in some of the stories.

Maugham is not critical of the culture he talks about but he is matter of fact about it - describing it and telling it as it is - no frills or furbellows attached! you take the harsh reality with the good times, the easy life of servants and being in power along with the harsh climate, antagonistic labour and insecurity for your life.

Beautifully descriptive, beautifully told you have got to read these books.

12 comments:

Tea said...

Didn't know he had written so many short stories. Four volumes is a lot. I hope you find the other copies.

Sam said...

I've not read any Maugham. It's one of those writers I should really get around to sometime.

Holly said...

I have Moon and Sixpence and The Painted Veil on my shelf and haven't read them yet. This one sounds good too. I really need to get around to reading this author!

Alyce said...

This is one of those authors that I've heard about but even though I recognize the name I really know nothing about their writing. Sounds good!

Blodeuedd said...

I agree, very dull indeed. But I am glad you looked past that and found out the book is good :D

winstonsdad said...

I ve read the 1st and 3rd of his collections like you want read all his short stories he is such a great writer of short stories ,these ones Are ones I want get next I like to see how his time in asia is potrayed in short storiess ,all the best stu

mel u said...

These sound like great short stories-I have not read anything by Maugham yet-thanks so much for this post

Aisle B said...

I have one of his books in the boxes. Will have to pull it out. Loved your review :)
You always have a way to pull in your emotions to why the reads were stellar.

Excellent review :)

Marie said...

I do have to read these, thank you! :-) I would love to read Maugham and am kind of ashamed I haven't.

Elizabeth said...

Didn't know he wrote this...nice to know....thanks.

Stopping by from Cym Lowell's Book Review Party.

Stop by my blog if you like.

http://silversolara.blogspot.com

Elizabeth

Jenny Q said...

What a mailbox, Mystica! My friend has been reading Maugham. I've yet to read any of his books. Enjoy your goodies!

Anonymous said...

Hello!
Congratulations on your blog and you excellent reviews!
I found your blog beacause I am looking for a Somerset Maugham story that talks about a englishman living in a far away land (I suppose it's an island) that receives supplies and newspapers from home only six months in six months. He reads in the newspaper that there as been a murder back home related to his family or friends but instead of looking for the result of that murder in the next newspaper (he has the last six months of newspapers woth him!), he reads a newspaper a day, like if was back home and time was six months in the future.
My father read this sotry when he was young and would like to read it again but doesn't remember it's name...
Can you help me? Maybe you've read it!
Thanks!
Miguel