Collected Stories

Collected Stories

Book - 2004
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From one of the twentieth century's most enduringly popular fiction writers: the only hardcover edition of his short stories.

 

Though W. Somerset Maugham was also famous for his novels and plays, it has been argued that in the short story he reached the pinnacle of his art. These expertly told tales, with their addictive plot twists and vividly drawn characters, are both galvanizing as literature and wonderfully entertaining. In the adventures of his alter ego Ashenden, a writer who (like Maugham himself) turned secret agent in World War I, as well as in stories set in such far-flung locales as South Pacific islands and colonial outposts in Southeast Asia, Maugham brings his characters vividly to life, and their humanity is more convincing for the author's merciless exposure of their flaws and failures.

 

Whether the chasms of misunderstanding he plumbs are those between colonizers and natives, between a missionary and a prostitute, or between a poetry-writing woman and her uncomprehending husband, Maugham brilliantly displays his irony, his wit, and his genius in the art of storytelling.

(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf : Distributed by Random House, 2004
ISBN: 9781400042531
1400042534
Branch Call Number: Fiction
Characteristics: xliii, 839 p. ; 22 cm

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amherst19101
Jan 02, 2019

This is a stunning collection of short stories from one of the 20th Century's most important writers. Maugham's stories reflect his various careers: as medical doctor, writer and member of Britain's secret service in the early part of the 1900's. Most are set in exotic places and catalogue a fascinating cast of characters Maugham met on his various travels, many set in tropical Asia. Maugham's style is easy to read, often ironic; and if nothing else these stories are an ode to a bygone era. Contemporary readers might find some of Maugham's references to women and ethnic minorities offensive, but in light of the prevailing attitudes of his day, Maugham's views to this reader seem rather benign and at times positively enlightened. His narrative voice, while rather removed and often ironic, also demonstrates an admirable humanity and a warmth. And if Maugham is known for poking fun at the foibles of his various characters, he himself does not escape such scrutiny.

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shadowcat1234
Nov 05, 2010

Wonderful !

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