Book Review: Vintage Maugham – Collected Short Stories by Somerset Maugham

Vintage Maugham is a volume of short stories by Somerset Maugham. The stories are an intoxicating cocktail of life’s drama letting the reader discover the everlasting charm in Somerset Maugham’s style of writing. The stories present the best in the writer’s work – there is no argument on this point.


William Somerset Maugham was born in 1874 and spent his early ten years in Paris. He received his education at King’s School, Canterbury, and at Heidelberg University. At one time, he was seriously contemplating to become a doctor in medicine, but due to his success in his first novel: Liza of Lambeth (1897), he decided to continue his career as a writer. In fact, the author had financial successes that most of his contemporaries did not enjoy.


The book is an interesting, intelligent read – the plots of the stories contain betrayal, tragedy and passion. Raymond Chandler, says about the author, in his own words: ‘His plots are cool and deadly, and his timing is absolutely flawless.’


Somerset Maugham’s life and works go hand in hand. The content of what he wrote has its root in his earliest memory e.g. the death of his mother, and his struggle to cover his manner of stammering, and his short stature.


Vintage Maugham is full of fascinating intrigue and unhappiness to shed light on the true feelings of the narrator. From the cup of Somerset Maugham’s grief overflows the versatility of his pen.


The collection of short stories have been selected by Anthony Curtis – who was editor, critic and authority on Henry James, Virgenia Woolf and particularly Somerset Maugham.


The great range presented in Vintage Maugham is a very considerable model to show how Somerset Maugham adopted his themes – as life observed him, and he observed the play of life around him. His failed marriage recounts his relationship with homosexuality. These departures must have: directly or indirectly made his plots leave the overall human puzzle for his readers.


The Fall of Edward Bernard (1921), The Door of Opportunity (1931), is compilation of the author’s best writing – they are quietly powerful measuring the sensitivity of the human heart.


The book has been brought out by Vintage Books – London.

Geeta Chhabra

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