HI! Here is a post on one of my newly found favourite authors- I think he's underrated, and I love his stuff. Here goes...
W. Somerset Maugham
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|W. Somerset Maugham|
Maugham photographed by Carl Van Vechten in 1934
|Born||William Somerset Maugham|
(1874-01-25)25 January 1874
UK Embassy, Paris, France
|Died||16 December 1965(1965-12-16) (aged 91)Nice, France|
|Occupation||Playwright, novelist, short story writer|
|Notable work(s)||Of Human Bondage|
The Razor's Edge
After losing both his parents by the age of 10, Maugham was raised by a paternal uncle, who was emotionally cold. Not wanting to become an attorney like other men in his family, Maugham eventually trained and qualified as a doctor. The first run of his first novel, Liza of Lambeth (1897), sold out so rapidly that Maugham gave up medicine to write full time.
During World War I, he served with the Red Cross and in the ambulance corps, before being recruited in 1916 into the British Secret Intelligence Service, for which he worked in Switzerland and Russia before the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. During and after the war, he traveled in India and Southeast Asia; all of these experiences were reflected in later short stories and novels.
Well, I think that was a little lacking in personality, I'll admit it, but it is good. I recently read one of his books- UP AT THE VILLA and I found it brilliant. They made it into a film too, but I bet it wasn't as good as the book. The following is from GOODREADS.COM- I'm sure you're familiar with it. Anyway, it was given an overall rating of 3.59, which is ok. Critics. ;-)
In Up at the Villa, W. Somerset Maugham portrays a wealthy young English woman who finds herself confronted rather brutally by the repercussions of whimsy.
On the day her older and prosperous friend asks her to marry him, Mary Leonard demurs and decides to postpone her reply a few days. But driving into the hills above Florence alone that evening, Mary offers a ride to a handsome stranger. And suddenly, her life is utterly, irrevocably altered.
For this stranger is a refugee of war, and he harbors more than one form of passion. Before morning, Mary will witness bloodshed, she will be forced to seek advice and assistance from an unsavory man, and she will have to face the truth about her own yearnings. Erotic, haunting, and maddeningly suspenseful, Up at the Villa is a masterful tale of temptation and the capricious nature of fate.
W. Somerset Maugham presents characters who have divergent views on life. This complex psychological mix of personalities engages the reader from the first bend of the binding to the suspenseful ending.
How will the fast paced events of two days effect the way Mary Panton engages with the world? At thirty, Mary has loved and lost, known abuse and humiliation by the hands of her deceased alcoholic husband. She feels a numbness toward intimacy, and even though she is persued by men, she prefers the comfort of solitude.
Through the lens of her past, overtures from a long standing friend seem passionless though convenient and considered appropriate by the upper class. An introduction to a married man with money but of questionable character cannot be accomodated with her beliefs and life experience. She is unable to give herself to either of these willing suitors, yet to a young stranger whose needs are unmet, she feels pity and the results are tragic.
Identification with his suffering is her reason for an intimate encounter with the stranger, and afterwards she is plagued by guilt while he is humiliated by her rejection. Realizing a short reprieve from his existence, he cannot return to what was before. He makes a terminal decision.
Now she is unable to meet the standards her friend requires of a wife, so she plans her leave of the Villa and Florence. With choises for intimacy narrowed, her view of life expands. Who will offer her a path she has not taken, unknown and full of risks, but not in the shadow of her past?
There is much to contemplate in this novella written with the economic hand and expansive mind of W. Somerset Maugham. Highly Recommended!
There you have it! It's really short so you should read it, it only took me about an hour and a double spanish lesson. ;-)