JOIN MY MAILING LIST

© 2018 AESCHYLUSTOATWOOD Proudly created with Wix.com

  • Robyn

OF HUMAN BONDAGE

Love Somerset Maugham - finally got round to reading his long one.


I developed a bit of a Somerset Maugham obsession a few years ago - I think starting with the The Razor's Edge I probably read about half a dozen on the trot and then another one every couple of months. The collecting rate has slowed considerably, but a new book still appears every so often. I really like the way he writes - not too over the top and flashy, interesting stories and characters. I also like my stories not too modern and not to fast and his books seem to fit perfectly into that catagory.


I finally braved the really long Of Human Bondage in the Easter holidays. It did take me a while to read - but also a while to write about it - the last few weeks have been madly busy, plus we've just had our week in Devon and I didn't take my computer. But despite taking forever to read it, it was great. The story is autobiographical in sections, certainly elements of it mirror his own experiences - the loss of his parents, his year in Heidelburgh, his decision to train as a doctor, but other bits are less precisely mapped, for one, Philip in the story has a club foot in place on Maugham's stammer - other bits of it are entirely invention, but would one not expect that in a work of fiction?


It is a long book, but such is the quality of Maugham's prose that it feels quite light. You can read a couple of chapters at a time or a big chunk and something interesting always happens. Maugham has a nack for characterisation and throughout the novel a sequence of interestering characters weave themselves in and out of the narrative. Philip doesn't have the best of luck with women, but he does fare rather better with his male acquantances, though they each have their foibles, they each love Philip and bring different kinds of richness to his life


The ties between humans of the narrative is of course the focus of this novel. Some ties bring wealth and some devastation, certainly all love carries a cost of some sorts - some love even brings salvation, but it usually arrives from an unexpected quarter. It is difficult at times to know when our own actions are weak and when they are strong - and none so much when it is comes to love.


Whilst I did enjoy it, I'm not sure it's likely to be a book I read again too soon. The trials of Philip as he matures from child to adult and his sojourns in Heidelburg and Paris, do take a while to get through and his obsession with Mildred can get a bit wearing at times. I'm probably more likely to have another adventure through the gothic Magician or the (again semi-autobiographical) adventures of Ashenden as a Russian spy, but I never know what I'm going to read again, so it can sit happy and content on my bookshelf until someone picks it up again.




7 views
  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black YouTube Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon
  • Black Pinterest Icon