I know it is a lovely book but it is even lovelier than I have expected. Maugham was a genius. I am particularly intrigued by the thin taste of sadness in his stories. Here are some of the most impressive stories that I have found in this collection.
The book-bag - a love story of sister and brother that ends in tragedy.
German Harry - A man who chose to live on an isolated island for 30 years, all on his own. He landed on the island after a ship wreck, in which 16 sailors survived but only six left after three years.
The four Dutchman - Four fat funny-looking guys who worked perfectly well and had a lot of laughter together on a ship until the captain killed one of his mates before shooting himself.
Episode - A good-looking postman who stole to please his girl found he no longer loved her after spending 18 months to think of her incessantly in prison.
The kite - A mother snatched back his married son with a kite.
Mayhew - A successful lawyer abandoned his practices to move to Capri, the most celebrated Italian town in Maugham's works. He spent a lot of efforts on a research of the Roman Empire history, but never started writing up his book before his death.
The lotus eater - The story for which I selected this book. A man had 25 years of beautiful lives in the paradise of Capri, only to find that he was out of money and lacked the courage to end his own life as originally planned.
A man with a conscience - A man tricked up his best friend to marry his girl. After the friend's death he found that their friendship was dearer to him than his wife.
A casual affair - The tragic story of Jack Almond, ruined by his love affair with an aristocratic lady.
Red - A pair of most beautiful couple failed to recognise each other after 30 years.
Neil MacAdam - A righteous young man fight off the seduction advanced by the wife of his mentor....Continua
That I am just halfway through this book does not make me hesitate to say Maugham is one of the finest short story writers Britain has ever produced. The tales are related in a thoroughly candid and lucid manner few English writers can master. ( can't stand complex sentences which are peppered with obscure words and idioms and written only with the intention to impress readers the sheer scope of vocabulary one knows and to implicitly justify one's superior positions over "ordinary people")
Maugham's knack of recounting intriguing tales, which can be set in balmy islands in the Far-East, ancient Italian cities or Mediterranean islands, turns reading into sheer joy. I don't read for instruction or for any utilitarian goals, but enjoyment. Will write more after finishing the book....Continua