William Somerset Maugham (1874 - 1965) took his reading material quite seriously. He said, When I read a book, I seem to read it with my eyes only. But now and then I come across a passage, perhaps only a phrase, which has a meaning for me, and it becomes part of me.
Maugham's work has certainly become a part of millions of his fans today. To judge by his short story masterpieces, it was in the tiny crevasses and pinched corners of humanity that Maugham illuminated those elemental qualities that were to fascinate him all his life. In fact, the concept of a normal person never entered his mind. He claimed such people simply didn't exist.
Selections in Volume 3:
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- Rain, perhaps Maugham's most famous story, follows the efforts of a missionary who tries to reform a wayward woman.
- The Luncheon describes the hilarious meeting of an impoverished writer and a friend with an appetite.
- Episode is an odd story of what happens when love finally gives out.
- The Poet is about a man who, in the midst of breathless anticipation, finally gets to meet the most famous poet in Spain.
- A Man with a Conscience tells a convict's story of murder and his lack of remorse.
- The Kite is the humorous story of what happens when a woman comes between her man and his passion.
- The Back of Beyond explores the volcanic emotions that are aroused when a love that is taken for granted is proven false.