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The Moon and Sixpence (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – January 20, 2006
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"The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, The Lying Game. Pre-order today
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"[A] witty, compelling roman à clef...that mock[s] the way the world makes saints of the sinners who are often its best artists." -The Boston Globe
"It is very difficult for a writer of my generation, if he is honest, to pretend indifference to the work of Somerset Maugham.... He was always so entirely there." -Gore Vidal --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
This story is one of obsession, about an unlikely, dull, human being, with a mundane life, who has amazing talent that lies latent until one day he can't take it anymore. At the age of 40 he chucks a great job, an a nice family and devoted wife, to life in abject poverty to pursue an obsession, painting. No one believes in him at first. It's ridiculous. At 40 years old to throw away a good, solid life with a good family, to be a starving artist with no apparent talent. One of my favorite conversations in the whole book is when Maugham asks him why he would do such a thing, leaving behind his children and wife, with no obvious talent, it is crazy and cold hearted. And the character, Strickland, tells him something to the effect that when a man is suddenly thrown into the water he has to swim, it doesn't matter how well he swims, he has to do it or he will drown. His obsession to paint was so overwhelming that he "had to swim" and he doesn't give a damn whether he has talent, he has to do it or he will drown. That description of what might possess a true artist like Gauguin, Cezanne, Van Gogh, was one of the most adept way to sum that up that I think I have ever read. This book is charming and fascinating as a story of obsession with pursuing a dream no matter what, sacrificing one's life in pursuit of something that possesses someone. It was captivating, riveting. Don't we all wish, on some level, we could have a passion that would be so deep, would disturb us to point of throwing away all else to push ourselves to create something the world has never seen. That's what this story is about. In some ways you hate Strickland. He is cold hearted and selfish, yet there is a part of you that wishes you were at least a little bit like him, in terms of pursuing something with utter abandon, being so obsessed. This is a great story.
At first, I found the writing to be a bit dry and objected to the attitudes expressed about female characters. As I continued reading, I reminded myself that it was unfair to look at the thinking, customs and writing of an earlier era through the eyes of another.
As the story progressed, I found myself drawn into it and feeling sympathy for all the character at different times. Although I would never chose to befriend any of them, I am glad to have read it. It leaves me looking to find out more about Mr. Gauging, and about life in Tahiti in that time, which is why I am going back to add another star.
The plot is loosely based on the life of Gaugin, a famous painter but even if you are fairly ignorant of his work you can still be deeply moved by this novel.
Charles Strickland is a middle aged man with a sound profession and a respectable family. He throws all this away to become an artist. First he goes to Paris where he lives in poverty and squalor and destroys at least two other people who just happen to cross his path then after further misadventures he lands in Tahiti and there he paints his masterpieces.
What really made this book for me was the sense that even though Strickland had thrown his life away and lived in appalling poverty and degradation his life was more meaningful and even beautiful as a result than if he had stayed a respectable middle class man. The idea of a life spent pursuing beauty at whatever cost is intoxicating and I've never come across a writer who can convey what this means better than W. Somerset Maugham.
Most recent customer reviews
Read the book many years ago and enjoyed it just as much this time.