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Collected Short Stories: Volume 1 Paperback – 7 Dec 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics (7 Dec 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099287390
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099287391
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Fascinating tales, sharply revealed characters, a fine narrative craft" (J.B. Priestley)

"He was a superb storyteller - one of the very best in our language - who wrote with a wordly, sardonic understanding of the human condition. Writing was his life; everything else was secondary to it" (Daily Mail)

Book Description

The first volume of collected short stories, written by a master of the form

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IT was nearly bed-time and when they awoke next morning land would be in sight. Read the first page
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 Dec 2000
Format: Paperback
You turn the pages and enter a magical world of fabulous characters. You feel as if you are curled up listening to the delicious, risque, tales of an old, dear and rather wicked friend.
You are transported to the very place, the villa, the street, the bar,the smells and tastes are almost tangible. You can feel the sun, hear the crickets and are lost in his world.
Somerset Maugham is one of the worlds great story tellers. This is what sets him apart from other short story writers. he is not pretentious in his writng.
He would be a divine dinner companion, amusing every one with his stories.
If you have not enjoyed this master before curl up over Christmas, you are in for a treat.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jimbo on 23 Aug 2011
Format: Paperback
Maugham was a prolific writer of short stories, and this is the first volume of his Collected Short Stories, as published by Vintage (there are other collections of his short stories) which he compiled himself. Rather than organise them by theme or chronologically, Maugham instead attempted to organise geographically, by the location in which they are set. This serves to remind the reader how widely travelled Maugham was and the wide scope of his stories, and this volume tends to focus on the British Pacific colonies, Monte Carlo, France, and Spain. Although this can meant that similar characters emerge in stories that are adjacent to each other (The Happy Couple and The Lion's Skin, both set in Southern France are perhaps the worst examples for this), to be fair this doesn't happen too often. Overall this approach helps to create a sense of exoticism, certainly as the reader moves through the opening suite of stories that are set in the Pacific, and he successfully teases out a variety of different stories from the territories through which this collection moves.

Some people may regard these stories as slightly old fashioned or conservative in terms of their approach. Whilst it is true that his stories frequently focus on the lives of the rich and famous, he does succeed in introducing a wide range of characters. He doesn't use his stories to push a particular view of the world, creating simple stories that frequently contain surprising and effective twists. His stories are relatively uncluttered and always exceptionally engaging.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dave on 24 Oct 2012
Format: Paperback
I have read and re read the four volumes of Maugham's collected short stories again and again since boyhood. After a few years I find I forget the plots so I can read them again. This is not to say that the plots are bad, they are in fact very good but they are not the most memorable feature of Maugham's writing. What sticks in your mind is the overall atmosphere and the author's own very distinctive voice. Whilst writing very simply Maugham manages at the same time to be extraordinarily vivid, whether he's taking you into a bar full of rough sailors in the South Pacific, a smart restaurant in Paris or a planter's bungalow in the wilds of Malaya you really do feel as though you are actually there, I can't think of another writer who sets a scene as well and with as little fuss.
Maugham can't resist putting himself into these tales, some may regard this as a fault but I find it adds to their charm. It is like being told risqué stories by a horribly snobbish and rather disgraceful old aunt.
The stories themselves are often morally ambiguous, usually have a clever plot twist and though they are set all over the world I think the most memorable ones are about the more remote corners of the old Empire. Though written in the twenties and thirties by a man born in the eighteen seventies they are surprisingly modern in tone. Above all they are thoroughly entertaining. So if you're at a loose end; maybe the heat's getting to you a little or you've had a bout of malaria, make yourself comfortable on your veranda, listen to the lazy lapping of the river and take a deep lungful of the hibiscus scented air. Call for Ali and ask him to mix you a a gin pahit, get your pipe drawing nicely and settle down for an hour or two with this volume. You're sure to feel better afterwards.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 15 Mar 2008
Format: Paperback
A wonderful collection of stories, though unfortunately I found the ones he wrote on Western Europe (mainly Spain) to be lacking of the passion and insight that we saw in his tales of the far east. Nevertheless in a book this big and with this many stories skipping the Spanish stories barely mars the enjoyment. Whilst perhaps these aren't as powerful as his longer works they often portray insightful glimpses into human character and his wonderful writing style still make these a worthwhile read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By G. R. Bawdon on 13 Jun 2009
Format: Paperback
Maugham is out of fashion at the moment. He is a superb short story author and is well worth exploring.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By W. Halliburton on 13 Jun 2009
Format: Paperback
If I were asked which book to take to a desert island, it would be The Collected Works of Somerset Maugham, or at the very least his Short Stories.
Need I say more!?
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By DB on 21 July 2014
Format: Paperback
This was my first WSM. I started reading this particularly for the story "Rain" - prompted by having read quite a bit of Joseph Conrad recently (a big influence on Somerset Maugham) and also the French writer Pierre Boule (who was strongly influenced by both JC and WSM). "Rain" was an excellent story and I enjoyed most of the others.
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