“I love Somerset Maugham's short stories. This volume comes from his travels in Tahiti and Samoa while he was gathering ideas for The Moon and Sixpence. He brings to full in these stories his ability to play finely crafted characters off against each other and their exotic environments, allowing...”see full review » see other reviews »
This must have been terribly shocking to the hypocritical and pious while being nothing new to those without blinkers, when published first - 20th century was nothing if not one that shredded many such veils of pretension from established societies of west.
The story takes place on a voyage in Pacific where a woman of certain profession is having fun along with a few of males around - after all being alone most of their lives far away from home was tough on the guys, and an accommodating woman who was not merely paid goods but one with some spirit, some heart and joy, was a blessing.
Unfortunately for them there is not merely a usual contingent of the disapproving couples and other respectable members of society but also a preacher very sure and proud of himself, who goes after the woman with denunciation and promised hell fire to all that would consort with her. She is brought to abject surrender and is entirely dependent on him subsequently in her submission to a pious life henceforth. And the preacher is willing to sacrifice himself, to go to her at any hour of day or night she might need him, as his wife very proudly testifies to his selfless sacrifice of his own comforts.
The preacher meanwhile has dreams of hills of Nebraska (having read it so long ago I could be wrong about the name of the particular state) - and then one day the preacher is found dead, having committed suicide, while there is sound of phonograph and laughter and dancing from the room of the woman who was trying to reform, and a note of bitter victory.
She was sincere in her repentance and her attempt to reform, but the high minded preacher all too fallible and unaware of his own Achilles's heel shared with all life, if not more than a little hypocritical in his imposition of his will and his standards of virtue on all and sundry.
About a young and self assured woman who bathed in the pool in the forest - and the story around that enchanting scenario.
The elder man was the sort who would dress for dinner, in heat of Malaya, every single day - for years and decades that he spent alone in his bungalow on the plantation. The younger one is not quite from the same class, and is disapproved of by the elder. It takes time for him - the younger one - to realise it is not all about class and money, and that values imparted by upbringing is a vital part of it.
While not every upper class person brought up in cushy circumstances does always behave appropriately, the story is about values, essentially.
“I love Somerset Maugham's short stories. This volume comes from his travels in Tahiti and Samoa while he was gathering ideas for The Moon and Sixpence. He brings to full in these stories his ability to play finely crafted characters off against each other and their exotic environments, allowing their psychological make-up to be seen gradually and fully by the reader.
The stories in this volume:
The Fall of Edward Barnard