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Collected Short Stories: Volume 4 Paperback – 7 Mar 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; New Ed edition (7 Mar. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099428865
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099428862
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 32,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"The short story was Maugham's true métier, and some of the stories he wrote are among the best in the language" (Anthony Burgess)

"One of my favourite writers" (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

Book Description

The final collection of Maugham's marvellous stories

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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Thirty five on 27 Aug. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There is little better than reading Somerset Maugham's short stories. This group are set in the East, conjuring up the picture of English plantation owners sitting on their veranda drinking spirits as the sun sets on the Empire. Maugham has a great way of pulling you into the stories environment so that you feel as though you could be there with him. None of the stories are sensationalised. They are tales told simply about people he comes across on his travels. Nevertheless, his characters are drawn sufficiently for you to believe them, empathising with their problems as you think fit. Maugham does not moralise on the events he records, but it is easy for us to do after reading each of the stories. His writing style is simple and effective.

This is a great book with a good standard of literature. Read it if you want to be amused for a short period with stories of so many different people - reading too many stories at once is not as engaging - and dream of a time gone by when we had standards in society and people really believed in the Empire.
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42 of 46 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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8 of 9 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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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Brian Boru on 18 Aug. 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My initial interest in this book was somewhat narrow. I obtained it specifically to read the short story "The Letter" by W. Somerset Maugham. This particular offering by the prolific Maugham was made into a marvellous film starring Bette Davis. I was interested to see if the film stayed true to the plot portrayed in the original story. Having now read "The Letter" I am pleased to report that the film did basically reflect the original story. The film however was a "stretched" version of the story, with additional scenes at the beginning and the end.

The stories in "Volume 4" portray the lives of expatriates living in Malaya in the period prior to the Second World War. Their desires, shortcomings, and many indiscretions are masterfully described by Maugham. It is obvious that the local knowledge he absorbed while living in the Far East stands him in good stead when describing life in Malaya.

Short stories are not everyone's cup of tea but I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys interesting stories well told.

I am now tempted to have a look at Volumes 1, 2 & 3 of W. Somerset Maugham's Short Stories.
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