Friday 25 December 2015

Book Review: The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham

Title: The Painted Veil
Author: W. Somerset Maugham
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: 2009 (1925)
Pages: 214
Format: Paperback
Genre: Modern Classic

Source: Birthday Gift

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Kitty Fane is the beautiful but shallow wife of Walter, a bacteriologist stationed in Hong Kong. Unsatisfied by her marriage, she starts an affair with charming, attractive and exciting Charles Townsend. But when Walter discovers her deception, he exacts a strange and terrible vengeance: Kitty must accompany him to his new posting in remote mainland China, where a cholera epidemic rages. First published to a storm of protest, The Painted Veil is a classic story of a woman's spiritual awakening. (Goodreads Synopsis)

The Painted Veil was a book I approached with some expectation, having previously enjoyed Maugham's Of Human Bondage. Luckily, I wasn't disappointed. This short novel caught my interest right from start, not least because Kitty is a character you can't help but like, even though she has many faults. I finished this in two sessions as it was hard to put down; I always wanted to know what would happen next. A great commentary on the period and on human nature.

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