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Download The Trembling of a Leaf: Little Stories of the South Sea Islands Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Trembling of a Leaf: Little Stories of the South Sea Islands Audiobook, by W. Somerset Maugham Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (531 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: W. Somerset Maugham Narrator: Frederick Davidson Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2006 ISBN: 9781455186365
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When noted English writer W. Somerset Maugham set off for the South Seas to regain his health, his experiences would become the bedrock for the stories represented here. These are among Maugham’s best work, as well as some of the best stories ever written about the exotic South Seas.

“Mackintosh” is a taut psychological study of two officials on a remote tropic island. “The Fall of Edward Barnard” is a story about what is important in life, a precursor to Maugham’s well-known novel, The Razor’s Edge. Love is always a subject of the tropics, and Maugham’s deft, ironic handling of the theme in “Red” and “Honolulu” is masterful. “The Pool” tells a poignant and tragic tale about the pitfalls for love across cultures. Maugham’s most famous story, “Rain,” about the ironic consequences of obsession, was adapted for both theater and film.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An unforgettable study of the effect of the South Seas upon the mind, body, and soul of...man.”

    New Republic, 1921

  • “Each separate tale is begun by inspiration and completed by artistic perfection.”

    Saturday Review

  • The Trembling of a Leaf…marked a triumphant return to the genre of which [Maugham] was to become a master.”

    Selina Hastings, The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham

  • The Trembling of a Leaf, the first of his collections of Far East stories…[is] an impressive achievement…Maugham had happily discovered that the fragments of experience he encountered on his travels could be easily transformed into well-crafted short stories, and with this volume he began an enormously fruitful period.” 

    Robert Calder, Willie: The Life of Somerset Maugham

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elsa | 2/13/2014

    " I adore these stories more than I can say. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jillian | 1/18/2014

    " If you loved The Moon And Sixpence you will love these short stories. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jill | 1/10/2014

    " Not loving the compilation of short stories. They are well written, but Somerset Maugham's novels are so much better. He is a fabulous writer and is great at development. While I think the themes in these stories (particularly in the third story) are powerful, and he has powerful motifs, I just don't feel like they have the same quality as his novels do. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Skipp | 12/31/2013

    " This was a gift from a friend. I didn't think I'd like it but it was a very readable collection of short stories. The prevailing theme is early 20th century West meets East in the South Pacific. Maugham pulls out some great plots from the conflict of European colonials living in exotic locations. The character descriptions are really what won me over and convinced me to try Maugham's longer novels. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Everett Darling | 12/17/2013

    " Well-written narratives of Europeans in the Pacific Islands, but certainly not light summer reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jonathan | 11/19/2013

    " Beautiful, sad, ironic, disturbing .... a pleasure! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne | 3/18/2013

    " Very interesting stories due to the characters. All set in the South Seas.....mainly Samoa, American Samoa and Tahiti. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nadia | 12/29/2012

    " Rain was rather a strange story but after living through a tropical rainy season one can really understand it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John Parks | 10/5/2012

    " Sometimes stories are better told in 25 pages than in 250 . Maugham is a master and I think his best writing is in the short stories in this compilation. Some of my all-time favorite stories. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maxine | 9/8/2012

    " Thoroughly enjoyed each story, one of my favourites authors. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ramya Reddy | 8/15/2011

    " W.Somerset Maugham's writing is magical...I love everyone of his books I've read so far. This one does not fail me one bit. Beautiful. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Arkady | 7/5/2011

    " Really enjoyed "Rain", "Mackintosh", and "The Fall of Edward Barnard". "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Annalie | 6/19/2011

    " what a master story teller! I dislike reading short stories, with the exception of W. Somerset Maugham's wonderful tales that transport you to a different era and exotic locations. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 3/2/2010

    " Some classics here: Rain, Red, and Mackintosh. Still a delight to read although a modern reader having done a short course on creative writing would probably complain about 'telling' not 'showing'. Maugham is one of the finest story-tellers, and that's what counts to my mind. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nadia Boycheva | 2/25/2010

    " Somerset Maugham is one of the best short stories writer I have the pleasure to read! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephanie | 7/12/2009

    " A collection of stories about the life on the Pacific Islands. "Rain", the last story in the collection was my favorite. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily | 2/4/2009

    " As always, Maugham is highly readable; poetic and sad. This collection of short-stories set in the Colonial South Seas was a poor substitute for the tropical spring break I wanted, but still provided a pleasant distraction. "Rain" was especially poignant, after having seen the 1932 film adaptation. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carmen | 1/24/2009

    " One of my favorite writers. Exquisite! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen Giauque | 8/9/2008

    " I almost never read short stories and don't think I've read Somerset Maugham, but I'm glad I did both. Good stories and good writing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hirosasazaki Sasazaki | 11/12/2007

    " im happy to read this book.all of stories are deep and bring some feelings to me.amazing Maugham.actually i have been interested in him because he talked cynically about British food though he is British.haha,i love British food though! "

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About the Author
Author W. Somerset Maugham

William Somerset Maugham (1874–1965) was born in Paris, the son of a British embassy official, and grew up in England. He studied medicine and officially qualified as a doctor before turning to writing. One of the twentieth century’s most popular novelists as well as a celebrated playwright, critic, and short-story writer, he also served as a secret agent for the British during World War I.

About the Narrator

Frederick Davidson (1932–2005), also known as David Case, was one of the most prolific readers in the audiobook industry, recording more than eight hundred audiobooks in his lifetime, including over two hundred for Blackstone Audio. Born in London, he trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and performed for many years in radio plays for the British Broadcasting Company before coming to America in 1976. He received AudioFile’s Golden Voice Award and numerous Earphones Awards and was nominated for a Grammy for his readings.