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The Painted Veil (Vintage Classics) [Paperback]

W Somerset Maugham
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

5 April 2001 Vintage Classics

Kitty Fane is the beautiful but shallow wife of Walter, a bacteriologist stationed in Hong Kong. Unsatisfied by her marriage, she starts an affair with charming, attractive and exciting Charles Townsend. But when Walter discovers her deception, he exacts a strange and terrible vengeance: Kitty must accompany him to his new posting in remote mainland China, where a cholera epidemic rages...

First published to a storm of protest, The Painted Veil is a classic story of a woman's spiritual awakening.

Frequently Bought Together

The Painted Veil (Vintage Classics) + Of Human Bondage (Vintage Classics) + The Razor's Edge (Vintage Classics)
Price For All Three: 19.57

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; New Ed edition (5 April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099286874
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099286875
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 218,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Reveals many of Maugham's strengths: an understanding of women, meticulous craftsmanship and raw emotion'" (Daily Mail)

"A work of art" (Spectator)

"An expert craftsman... His style is sharp, quick, subdued, casual" (New York Times)

Book Description

Stunningly rejacketed as part of a major reinvention of this neglected 20th century master

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Spellings alert! 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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ending changed - Buy it but NOT THIS EDITION 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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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Reccomended 6 Sep 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This a book that became one of my instant favourites. It tells the story of Kitty, the beautiful though superficial wife of socially inept doctor Walter Fane. Bored of life in Hong Kong she begins and affair with Charles Townsend whom she finds eminently more suitable. Ultimately her deception uncovered her husband exacts an unusual vengeance making her accompany her to a cholera ridden province in mainland China. Whilst the story line is fascinating in itself the real beauty of the novel comes from the descriptions of the feelings both husband and wife have for each other. Both come of as incredibly human with believable flaws, and though I was slightly disappointed with the ending the rest of the novel continually delighted me.
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45 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling. 21 Sep 2003
By S. Hapgood VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It doesn't start off very promisingly. Kitty is having an illicit afternoon liaison with her lover, Charles Townshend, and it's all so very British Empire. Talk of tiffin and men in topi's can make it feel like "Carry On Up The Khyber", albeit set in China instead of India! But after that first short chapter you quickly get drawn into it. Kitty, in spite of her faults, is a very likeable and only-too-human heroine, and her husband, Walter Fane, is one of the most intense and complex characters Maugham ever wrote. Fane takes a disturbingly bizarre revenge on his wife's infidelity by making her accompany him to a cholera-ridden village in the wilds of China. Once there, Kitty seeks spiritual salvation and insight, and succeeds. Sadly, there is to be no happy ever after for this couple, and I was genually saddened that this was so. But Maugham, with his usual sharp insight, gives us great insight into the bit players in Kitty's life, such as Waddington and his mysterious Chinese princess, and the Mother Superior at the convent. This is good stuff.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful edition! 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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Things around you, at the time 1 Aug 2013
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The painted veil 2006
Absolutely excellent. So much to learn about what went on during that period, either in England or in the colonies or the Far East of that time. Brilliantly acted too. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Mrs. Odette J. Hudson
5.0 out of 5 stars Maugham never let you down
Maugham never disappoints, I would say that this edition is absolutely terrible. Much better to choose the vintage edition.
Published 1 month ago by Valentina
3.0 out of 5 stars The Painted Veil
I really enjoyed the book storyline very modern considering it was written in 1925, but oh dear the print was awful I dont think it had been proof read
Published 3 months ago by David Davies
5.0 out of 5 stars Human relationships
As a interesting story I think it deserves a 5 star rating. Where it doesn't deserve 5 stars is in the text which some times reads as if it has been badly translated from a... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ann Evans
4.0 out of 5 stars The Painted Veil
Just a classic love story where two people realise too late that life is not for fighting Good read and typically 1930s
Published 7 months ago by Mr Graham Lyons
1.0 out of 5 stars Utter rubbish
This is a computer download. The English is appalling and a disgrace. Shame on you Amazon for continuing to sell it. It should be removed from your list immediately!
Published 7 months ago by Beatrice Averill
5.0 out of 5 stars descriptive
I chose this rating because the prose was descriptive. None of the characters were particularly likeable but the plot was interesting and held the attention.
Published 9 months ago by carole gosling
5.0 out of 5 stars A lesson in life
Compelling and unpredictable book - first time I have read Somerset Maugham. Will definitely read more by this eminent author
Published 9 months ago by cherie Duffy
5.0 out of 5 stars a surprisingly good read
Didn't expect to enjoy this, but found myself caught up in the story, and the struggles of the heroine to find a purpose for her life. very well written,still relevant today.
Published 10 months ago by Pat Simpson
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I had always understood that Maugham wrote with a great "sense of place" - knowing both Hong Kong and China well this was something that was not present! Read more
Published 11 months ago by Penelopethe weaver
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