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Theatre Paperback – March 13, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (March 13, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037572463X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375724633
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Delany isn't the only author Vintage is keeping afloat. Published in 1939, 1937, and 1940, respectively, these novels follow Maugham's popular theme whereby people whose seemingly steady lives become completely and utterly altered. Note also that Up at the Villa was made into a feature film in 2000, which may draw additional readers. Maugham is always a quick and pleasant read.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Brilliant. The sheer, unmatched skill with which Mr. Maugham has told his tale would fill any novelist with envy."–Chicago Tribune


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Customer Reviews

I read this novel years ago and had almost forgotten about it.
Mandy Cat
This wonderful novel was published in 1937, when W. Somerset Maugham was already an extremely successful writer – both as a novelist and in the theatre.
S Riaz
At the same time, Maugham shows how expectations that they should lead a Bohemian life can affect even the most responsible and faithful actors.
reader 451

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Galina on October 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
"Theater" is my favorite W. Somerset Maugham's book. I have read it many times and remember it very vividly.

"Theater" is the story of Julia Lambert, the best and deservingly famous stage actress in England. On stage she is a true master of her craft, she is great in playing every possible human feeling and emotion. Off stage, however, she is not very happy with her handsome but not too bright husband; she does not have close relationship with her teenager son. At first, amused and touched by the adoration of a young fan, she eventually falls madly in love and lives through the real feelings and emotions that she was so great in playing on stage. How she deals with love, jealousy, anger, loneliness, aging - that's what "Theater" is about. She was able to take her revenge and punish her unfaithful lover, not only as a woman but what is more important, as an artist, and that was absolutely brilliant. Masterfully told story with delightful main character - talented, witty, charming, and very clever, "Theater" is an enjoyable, insightful, and honest portrait of a woman and an artist.

4.5/5
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Alena on February 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
Middle-aged woman, a star of the London theatre, beautiful, fulfilled. But she thinks that something is missing in her life and falls in love with a very young guy, who is mesmerized by her fame. Later the young lover meets a girl of his age and falls in love with her, leaving behind his older lover. The story is as old as this world. What makes it so different from other million love stories? THe talant of it's writer and the truly wonderful finale. Maugham was able to turn the whole thing upside down. And it's not one of those sticky-sweet novels, this one has a strong character, which makes it truly interesting to read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By William Greeley on January 29, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the best novel ever written about those beguiling creatures called actresses. The central character is Julia Lambert, England's greatest actress, and at times a lying, manipulative bitch. Men who have been made miserable by such women will be disgusted by the novel unless they are able to maintain objective distance and laugh at this woman's scheming as she attempts to carry on a hopeless affair with a boy half her age.

Maugham has a remarkable ability to write compelling scenes that avoid melodrama and predictability. His years as a comic playwright served him well as a story teller. I find him one of the easiest to read of great (or near great) fiction writers. He keeps you turning the pages and avoids longeurs.

Maugham's view of human nature is tawdry -- some might say filthy. He believed a a perfectly respectable woman was capable of an episode of cheap sex in a sleeping car on a train. He certainly shows no Victorian sentimentality about the fairer sex.

I won't give away the ending, but it is the oddest scene in the novel. The ending is original to the point of peculiarity. Maugham believes the artist is the only truly free person because he can use his pain to create art. I don't think being an artist helped Maugham find happiness at the end of his own long life.
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Jordan on August 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
A photo from the set of Being Julia, the forthcoming film version with Annette Bening, led me to this book. Julia Lambert alleviates even the most claustrophobic subway ride with delicious English wit and melliflous sentences. You'll want to read some of the best lines out loud.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Catherine C. Livingston on March 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
I had trouble finding a study guide/discussion questions for my Book Club for this book, so I came up with some of my own. Here they are in case anyone else finds them useful; feel free to use:

1. Why do you think Julia has an affair with Tom - he's a "snob" and "dull" and half her age. Do you think her reasons for continuing the affair are the same as the ones she had for starting it? Do you think it's accurate to describe Tom as an addiction of Julia's? Why or why not?

2. Tom and Julia are clearly using each other, but who is using the other more? Do you think Julia is even aware she is using Tom?

3. What do you think is the purpose or role of Charles Tamerley's character? Is there anyone Julia can truly be herself around?

4. Julia is self-centered, a perpetual liar, and manipulative. Yet I don't think the author intends for us to hate her. Do you agree? Why or why not?

5. What scenes in the book struck you as the most important? most memorable?

6. How would you describe Maugham's writing style in Theatre? What did you like most/least about it?

7. "Roger says we don't exist. Why, it's only we who do exist. They are the shadows and we give them substance. We are the symbols of all this confused, aimless struggling that they call life, and it's only the symbol which is real. They say acting is make-believe. That make-believe is the only reality."
What do you think of this quote, Julia's closing thoughts? To what extent do you think Julia has grown or changed by the end of the story? What do you think was Maugham's purpose in writing this book?

8. Are there any lingering questions you have about Theatre? Like plot holes or anything that didn't seem to add up or make sense?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By vera petrychenka on December 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There's nothing to review about great classics. This book should be named a life bible! I've read it three times in Russian ( my native language ) and so thrilled to discover it all over again in English. Thank you, Amazon:)
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