Notwithstanding the fact that very few of us could be nostalgic for the institutional racism and myriad other attendant issues of the colonial era these stories are pleasantly evocative of a lost age which is somehow captivating. Knowing nothing about the author I first read Maugham when I was in my late teenage years. Having unexpectedly enjoyed his stories I just assumed he belonged to the canon of great British writers. So it was with a mild surprise when I read a fun Christopher Hitchens essay which eloquently did its best to undermine this impression. I had to find out if my teenage impression had been so obviously incorrect so revisited Maugham through this collection of essays. I must admit that even if Hitchens not unfair these essays still manage to entertain me with their strange moods and transplanted Edwardian attitudes.
Sadly, I cannot comment on their quality as literature because the Hitchens essay made too much of an impression on me to relate a properly formed opinion but if you can past some of the sometimes loose characterisation they are a very satisfying read and gave me pause for thought which is my usual reaction from what I think of as good writing.