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The Painted Veil Paperback – 1952


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Product details

  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin/ Heinemann; 1st Thus edition (1952)
  • ASIN: B0000CI9Q1
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,159,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"A writer of some stature" (Graham Greene) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Film-tie in edition --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By smartreader on 27 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My comments relate to the Thinking Media (Spiritual Classics) version of this title. I have never read a book with so many typos/mistakes. Literally several per page - sometimes within the space of 2 or 3 sentences, often so bizarre it was hard to work out what the original sense was, making reading so absolutely infuriating that I don't know how I managed to keep going. Spoiled my enjoyment of the book completely. Don't be tempted to buy this version.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By geraint ellis on 1 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback
Aspiring writers are often advised to write about that which they know - the things around them, at the time. This is never more clearly demonstrated than in the way people speak. Emily Bronte wrote in the way the family around her spoke. She would 'peruse an epistle', not read a letter. She would 'quit the chamber', not leave the room. She wouldn't listen; she would 'hearken' etc. In much the same way, this book, written for the middle and upper-class of its day, has its own distinctive language: 'I've got into a devil of a scrape' - 'He's a thundering good chap' - 'I'm most frightfully sorry; I don't seem to know your name'. (Try that at the end of your first date) But however one feels about the distinctiveness of period-language - of writing about things around you, at the time, this book - along with just about everything Maugham ever wrote, is a master-piece - a superb snapshot of how it was, then.
It is written in film-like short scenes: how from bad can come good/how two people can discover love and mutual respect from facing together a life-threatening experience (a fight against Cholera). In that sense, it's a book about caring. In that sense, the storyline is incremental, and grows upon one, layer upon layer. (Theme: A familiar feature of Maugham's writing. 'The Razor's Edge', is to do with the quest for spiritual rather than material happiness. 'Of Human Bondage', is autobiographical fiction, and in that genre is perhaps the most thematic 'book of knowledge' ever written - 640 pages)
Maugham writes succinctly. In page 25, two years pass by in one line. Walter: 'A person to whom small talk did not come easily'. Charlie Townsend: (The cad) 'who has made a science of popularity'.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By JoelHarrisonDatBoss on 22 April 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book but please don't buy this edition. Not only are there countless typos - mainly small mistakes on every page, as if they have run a spellcheck which picks up the larger mistakes but misses things, putting "out" instead of "but" and "hit" for "hint" - but much worse, the ending is changed. I only realised this after comparing notes at my book club and complaining about an issue I had with the ending which slightly marred an otherwise great book. No spoilers but the last paragraph is 1/2 the length of the original and changes some words - including the very last word of the book - which I can only think makes it more acceptable for an American Christian audience - "peace" becomes "God". Buy it - but buy Somerset Maugham's version not some American publisher's idea of what it should have said.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S.Christensen on 6 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Really poor edition - full of spelling mistakes!
My comments relate to the Spiritual Classics from thINKing version of this WONDERFUL classic. I have never read a book with so many typos/mistakes. Often it was hard to work out what the original meaning was, making reading very frustrating.
The original book is awesome and would have been a joy to read if I had bought a different edition.
DO NOT BUY THIS EDITION!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Leppla on 2 Aug. 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I, like many others, saw the movie first (I am a huge Edward Norton fan!). I have come to learn that when I see a movie first that when I pick up the book I have to look at the book as it is completely separate from the movie, and infact is not tied to the movie at all - this is the only way I am able to give a book a fighting chance. That being said, I loved this book (and the movie too). It was actually nice to envision the actors from the movie, in terms of physical looks, while reading the book.

Kitty is spoiled rotten, having a life of great privileged. Kitty also prides herself as being very independent, especially from her mother's 'demands' and 'disappointments' that she is not married yet. To get away from her 'overbearing' mother (at least overbearing in Kitty's opinion) she marries Walter Fane, who she does not love and barely likes. Upon their marriage they move straight to China as Walter's work as a scientist is. Bored in China, Kitty meets Charles Townsend, a politician; soon they start a torrid love affair! Despite Kitty's new found happiness, Walter finds out. In an attempt to tear Kitty away from Charles Townsend, he uproots them to the center of a Cholera epidemic. Bitter against Walter, Kitty finds her new life unbearable. However, in time she is able to see another side of Walter as he works to save the town's infested water supply and many lives.

I would not say that this is a book about a love affair (as Kitty and Charles Townsend have), but more of self discover, as Kitty finds who she is and what she is capable of bearing. All the characters are very well written. I loved and hated Kitty all at the same time; I felt sorry for Walter; and I hated and like Charles Townsend. The plot unfolds expectantly, as W.
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