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Collected Short Stories: Volume 4 [Paperback]

William Somerset Maugham
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 Mar 2002 Vintage Classics
This final classic collection of stories reveals Somerset Maugham's unique talent for exposing and exploring the bitter realities of human relationships. Brilliant tales of love, infidelity, passion and prejudice, the stories range from 'The Lotus Eater' in which a man has a vision of a life of bliss in the Mediterranean, to the astringent tales of 'The Outstation' and 'The Back of Beyond' in Malaya and South East Asia. Largely set in favourite Maugham country, this colourful collection brilliantly evokes the numbered days of the British Empire.

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Collected Short Stories: Volume 4 + Collected Short Stories: Volume 3 + Collected Short Stories: Volume 2
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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: 13 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 314,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
SOME people read for instruction, which is praiseworthy, and some for pleasure, which is innocent, but not a few read from habit, and I suppose that this is neither innocent nor praiseworthy. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Master story teller at work 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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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Great storyteller. 19 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent. Arrived as estimated and well packed. Maugham never disappoints. His style is direct, simple and he always delivers the message with precision and balance.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Maugham 11 Feb 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Somerset Maugham fans will love these stories each one a classic. Why do I need nine more words to complete this review !
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short and sweet 8 Dec 2009
Format:Paperback
Despite occasionally drifting into being pompous there is little better for a holiday than a collection of Maugham's short stories. Most of life is there although perhaps strangely there is little mention of homosexuality.
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