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Description - Collected Short Stories by W. Somerset Maugham

The stories in this collection move from Malaya to America and England, and include some of Maugham's most famous tales; 'Flotsam and Jetsam', the story of an old woman trapped for years in a loveless marriage in the remote rubber plantations; 'The Man with the Scar', and notably the opening story 'The Vessel of Wrath', a tale of the unexpected love that grows between a devout missionary nurse and a drunken reprobate. In this second volume of his collected stories, Maugham illustrates his characteristic wry perception of human foibles and his genius for evoking compelling drama from an acute sense of time and place.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099428848
ISBN-10: 0099428849
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 32mm)
Pages: 544
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 3-Jan-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - Collected Short Stories by W. Somerset Maugham

UK Kirkus Review » Somerset Maugham was born in 1874 and died in 1965. After qualifying as a doctor under pressure from his family, he turned with relief to the work he'd always believed was his destiny, and became a writer, producing a large number of novels (a dozen of which are still in print), two volumes of autobiography, travel books, a series of successful and enduring stage plays - and scores of short stories. His plots are tightly constructed and often exciting, but critics complained that his characters were stereotypes rather than individuals. However, for today's readers the settings in which he placed them gave them a unique character. In fact, despite his own protestations, the overall impression is that Maugham had not 'invented' them at all; that he was simply recounting the experiences of people he had met in extraordinary circumstances, in a world that no longer exists. He was able to do this largely from first-hand knowledge. The Ashenden tales were based on his own service with the Intelligence Department during World War I; and many of the others drew on his travels to exotic places, especially the South Seas and Far East, where there were still people from Britain administering the colonies or managing the then still profitable Malayan rubber and timber plantations. They were often cut off from 'civilization' for months, even years, at a time, leading to frustrations and emotions which intensified to the point of explosion. The language has now dated, and life has changed - as have social attitudes - but the stories are still immensely readable and in a sense timeless, with a haunting, hypnotic, quality which draws the reader on from page to page. They don't necessarily reach a conclusion with the last words written. There is a tantalising impression that there is more to come, a quality which is irresistible, and addictive. (Kirkus UK)


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Author Biography - W. Somerset Maugham

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.

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