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Collected Short Stories: Volume 1 [Paperback]

W. Somerset Maugham
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 442 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Reprint edition (1967)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0008AL3EO
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 10.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,826,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 11 July 2006
Format:Paperback
Although the language in this is somewhat archaic, this is, or will become, a timeless classic, along with Maugham's other short stories. I, a 16 year old, was given this by my mum to read, and the book was really accessible. Every story is an original gem, which although short, lingers in your mind long after you have read it.

Maugham portrays the upper middle class wonderfully (although not all stories are about this group of people), with superb characterisation. I found it hard to relate with the characters within the collection as I had never met anyone like them, but that isn't to say I won't and it didn't make the book any less enjoyable.

To start off with, I read the shortest stories (a few pages long), and gradually built up to the longest ones, such as 'The Vessel of Wrath'. My favourites are 'The Bum', 'Jane', 'The Creative Impulse' and 'Lord Mountdrago'. I had never heard of Somerset Maugham before but am very glad I have read some of his stories.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite tales from a Master Story Teller 10 Feb 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Somerset Maugham remains one of the greatest writers of short stories and these stories show exactly why he has such a towering reputation.
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2 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars differnt world 10 Oct 2009
Format:Paperback
As i reviewed with the volume 3 set of short stories this guy writes in a very old fashioned colonial style and likes to call the natives (mainly in Samoa) Greasy Niggers, all chinese are Chinkies and everyone whoi is not white & British is treated with the upmost contempt. If this is likely to upset you, then do not read
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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforeseen Twists of Fate 12 Jun 2002
By Rebecca of Amazon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As a master of the short story, W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) was the highest paid author in the 1930's. He was born in the British Embassy in Paris, on January 25, 1874.

He wrote with a sense of irony and wit. Often, he would express a cynical attitude towards life and his love of traveling found its way into his writing. He didn't confine himself to one genre, but also wrote novels, essays and plays.

His purpose was to entertain his readers, although you do learn the subtleties of human nature from many of his stories. His keen eye for the minute details of life is combined with his writing style in such away as to capture and keep your attention. It is said that due to becoming an orphan at the age of 10, he was shy and tended to be more of a passive observer rather than an active participant. This explains some of the detachment that you feel in various stories.

"I have never pretended to be anything but a story teller. It has amused me to tell stories and I have told a great many. It is a misfortune for me that the telling of a story just for the sake of the story is not an activity that is in favor with the intelligentsia. In endeavor to bear my misfortunes with fortitude." (from Creatures of Circumstance, 1947)

In this collection you will find stories that are filled with tales of the South Seas, Europe and America. They are concise and persuasive and evoke a time and place where you completely are absorbed into a story that often has a nice unforeseen twist right at the end. Either you are surprised, laughing, sad life took a certain turn, or very amused.

My Favorite Stories in this Collection :

The Vessel of Wrath: A tale of love between a missionary and a drunken reprobate that has a most surprising ending. It deals with how humans draw foregone conclusions and how people can change for the better.

The Force of Circumstance: Story of almost unavoidable circumstances and deals with the emotions a woman feels when she finds out her husband has had children with a native woman in the village and seems to have neglected to inform her.

The Colonel's Lady: A wife publishes her poetry without her husband's knowledge. He can't understand her or why everyone loves her writing. The reader might not understand him, but might understand his wife's need to express her creativity in her own way as obviously, he is not aware of that part of her life.

The Round Dozen: Amusing and almost unavoidable ending.

These are stories you can read when you have an hour here or there to read a few stories at a time. Some are short enough to be read in 15 minutes or less and are only a few pages long. I enjoyed the slightly longer ones as the character development intensifies and Maugham's powers of observation have time to play out to the full extent.

An escape to another time and place.

~The Rebecca Review
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short Story Classic 27 Feb 2001
By unraveler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Maugham's style is perfectly suited for short story writing. His facility of communicating all kinds of ideas is truly amazing. Thus his stories feel like a light read, but they also often give you pause--Maugham is trying to pry deep into what makes people think and act the way they do. He wrote his stories a century ago, and the mark of the time lies firmly upon some of them. It is clear that he was influenced by psychological insgihts and ideas that have penetrated intellectual circles of his time. Read these stories for their ease of communication, ideas about human nature, and vivid images, such as those of the South Pacific and the industrial landscape of the rising American giant.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superbly accomplished "theatre of the mind" audiobook 17 May 2003
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
The Short Stories Of William Somerset Maugham II is a superbly accomplished "theatre of the mind" audiobook experience showcasing seven of Maugham's short stories: An Official Position; Mayhew; The Alien Corn; The Verger; Red; Home; and In A Strange Land. Skilfully narrated by Charlton Griffin and enhanced with both music and sound effects, The Short Stories Of William Somerset Maugham II is an enthusiastically recommended addition to personal, academic, and community library audiobook collections -- and a terrific introduction to a master storyteller's talent for a whole new generation of listeners.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maugham as he was meant to be heard 10 Feb 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
The first volume in this series won the Audie Award for Classic Fiction, and this second volume is just as good. Maybe better. It is rare to find a narrator who can keep you riveted to a story like Charlton Griffin. This man obviously knows his Maugham. Maugham was a storyteller par excellence, and in Charlton Griffin we have the man who was born to be his narrator. Every story sparkles.
5.0 out of 5 stars Maugham Rocks !! 2 Jan 2014
By Robert E. Searle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Mr. Maugham is an excellent story teller who writes about people and events with which he has had full or peripheral experience experience. This standard for authors' works is rare in today's literary offerings.
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