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Monday, July 30, 2012

Slowly Reading Maugham

More than anything, Maugham perfected pacing and structure, especially his short stories and novellas. The tone is often casual and intimate, almost leisurely, but underneath the chatty voice there is a force that propels the dramatic tension from the first moment to the ending. His use of suspense is extremely subtle, almost subliminal, but it instills an irresistible urge that compels the reader from the first page to the last. Fantastic.

I'm re-reading some of his short stories very slowly, mulling over sentences and paragraphs, hoping to absorb some of his skills by osmosis.

2 comments:

CAVA said...

I once listened to half of "Of Human Bondage" and found it rather depressing. Is it a very wrong impression of Maugham's work?

Jun said...

Never start Maugham with Of Human Bondage! I tell everyone this. :) One MUST start with his short stories, e.g., Rain, the Fall of Edward Barnard, Red, the Letter, Vessel of Wrath. His short stories are beautifully constructed marvelous gems. I was fortunate enough to discover his short stories at 14 and they literally changed my life.

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