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Comment: Clean. Great Binding. Cover Shows Light Wear. Interior is clean and crisp. The cover has a sticker(s) on it. Ex-Library book with all markings.
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Theatre Paperback – March 13, 2001

4.4 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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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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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: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I finished this simple novel by W. Somerset Maugham on a lazy, rainy summer afternoon. The mood outside matched my own and was somehow reflected in the book I had just completed; because sometimes you just want a story. Not an adventure story full of violence and intrigue and ‘twists’; not a mystery full of death and suspense; not a political thriller where the characters fight each other for temporal power. Just a story; a story about the musings of men as they meander through life – but a good story after all.

Theater is just this kind of book. It’s the simple tale of an actress and an affair and what it teachers her about herself and the world she has chosen. There is no great moral of this story. There is no epic struggle for good against wrong. There is no hero, or heroine. There are just people, making decisions as people are wont to do – good decisions and bad decisions alike – as they seek from their lives a greater significance or a lesser tedium.

Of course a story like this takes great skill to write – and Maugham does it easily.

As I read this story, surrounded as I was by the magnificent Rocky Mountains in a lovely village tucked away from great significance, I wondered if I could write such a novel. I am, perhaps – ok probably – not a great writer like Maugham. Nevertheless, inspired by a simple story and against the backdrop of the fresh clarity all around, I decided I must give it a try. I hope I can find the words that refresh and soothe; as has W. Somerset Maugham in Theater.
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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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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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While I don't love this novel as much as "The Razor's Edge" and "Cakes and Ale" and "The Moon and Sixpence," it is a fun and lively novel in its own right. Maugham's look at the lives of an actress and her manage-husband is funny and true, but also sympathetic and kind. His strength as an author is that he always introduces his readers to the most unusual people, but he makes them seem so warm, so human despite their faults, that we come to root for them. In this novel, an aging actress, Julia Lambert, embarks on an affair with a younger man. On one hand, this is the most sincere she has been in years: even her son thinks she just acts all the time. On the other hand, she manages her affair as if it were a romantic play. Can she even be herself when she is off the stage? Or is she so involved in creating herself as an actress that she literally has no life without an audience? As Julia faces these questions, Maugham gives us a funny look at what it takes to be famous: wacky treatments to keep her looks youthful, constant dieting and exercise, and perpetual shmoozing with investors and fans (some things never change!). It is Maugham's look at the difference between the private and the public life that makes this novel worth reading, along with the tremendously cruel yet funny climax in which Julia teaches a ruthless sleep-her-way-to-the-top actress the lesson of her life.
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