Kitty Fane is a spoiled young woman who, despite being honorable in her intentions to marry only someone she actually loves, ends up marrying a man she doesn't. His love for her, however, is unwavering, until the day he discovers Kitty's adultery and sends her, along with himself, to the middle of a cholera epidemic in China, where he works as a bacteriologist. This is a classic, well-written novel about the human experience, and the themes of forgiveness and quasi-redemption are universal. Maugham's writing style seems nearly contemporary, so the book needn't scare off those who fear older writing. The exotic setting lends itself to beautiful passages and comparisons, and the characters are identifiable and relatable the entire way. This was a very satisfying read with ideas any reader can connect with.
Beautifully written, compelling story. The movie's plot ended before the book's end and there is one other subplot in the movie. Neither detracts from the other. Frequently seeing a movie after reading the book can be disappointing. That isn't the case here. Both are beautiful.
A breathtaking story from beginning to end. The author, W. Somerset Maugham is a wonderful storyteller and does not disappoint the reader once during the novel. This is not a love story but a tale of one woman's journey on the road to redemption. The protagonist, Kitty Fane reminds me of a British version of Scarlett O'Hara. Kitty's journey is not a light hearted one. The reader's heart is constantly in a state of flux as the indecisive Kitty always leans towards the wrong choice. This is a timeless work that I believe will be in my top ten of beloved novels for the rest of my life. I highly suggest picking up a copy and enjoying the vivid world left behind by Maugham.
This is one of the few cases where I enjoyed the film better than the book. The book was excellently written, but the main character, Kitty, doesn't learn and grow as much as a person in the book as she does in the movie. Right up until the very final pages she continues to make the same mistakes and behave in the same immature, shallow way that she always did, just as though she learned nothing from the traumas and hardships of living in a plague-devastated village.
But the prose is beautiful and eloquent, and the portrayal of the secondary characters and the world they inhabit is utterly captivating.
Kitty is a spoiled, self-centered woman living in Hong Kong with her husband, Walter (whom she married in a panic only after finding her younger sister engaged before herself). Walter is a bacteriologist, and is as boring as he sounds; but desperately in love with Kitty. Desperately in love, that is until the day he discovers that she is having an affair. Kitty's life is soon turned upside down as she is forced to move with Walter to the heart of a cholera epidemic, with the almost certain risk of death. As if moving away from the city to a village of death isn't enough; Kitty finally understands that Walter is purposefully trying to kill her. Once she arrives in the village, however, Kitty finds that there is a lot more to life than parties and dresses and one-sided love affairs.
I really enjoyed this one. The book is very quotable, my favorite being: "She wished to despise him, because so long as she only hated him she knew that she was very near loving him...It is a great misfortune to have a heart." Or, at least quotable to me and my shredded heart (oh, it's way past broken). Anyway, this one spoke to me and I really liked to see Kitty's growth and coming to terms with her actions. Now on to the movie, where I bet Edward Norton won't make Walter so boring..
I really enjoy the way Maugham tells a story so succintly. Another novel that is a quick delicious read that somehow tells only the best parts. After I read this book I read a few blog reviews of it only to discover people felt as though the main character wasn't psychologically stable and showed no growth. Well as far as I am concerned psychologically stable, nice women aren't that pleasurable to read about. The book is concerned with a woman's affair and the price she had to pay for it, of course she experienced growth because she was definitely affected by the outcome.
I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed seeing Kitty's growth and developing understanding of herself.
From the novel: "The sky was unclouded and the early sun shed a heavenly mildness on the scene; it was difficult to imagine, on that blithe, fresh, and smiling morn, that the city lay gasping, like a man whose life is being throttled out of him by a maniac's hands, in the dark clutch of the pestilence."
One of the few books I've read where the author has woven such beautiful phrases within the raw tragedy and real triumph that is the story of character Kitty Fane. Despair, disease, death, and ultimately faith are all players in Kitty's life lessons.
~Meh.This novel of the redemption (or perhaps just the growing up) of a self-centered English girl after she enters a loveless marriage, betrays her husband, and then finds purpose in a cholera-ridden Chinese city, seems facile and somewhat pointless.
W. S. Maugham's tale of misplaced values, deceit, arrogance, and loyalty set in the China of the mid twentieth century when colonial rule meant exploitation is well worth the time . Maugham's masterful depiction of characters and his transformation of his major protagonist is a study in character development. There are no winners or losers in this story of fragile and vulnerable characters just a tale of misplaced dedication and ordinary human beings pretending to be more than they really are.
This was a pleasant listen - I enjoyed the characters. Setting wasn't very prominent, but the moral issues and character flaws are what make Maugham a perennial favorite.
Kitty Fane married a man she did not love. He discovered her affair and forced her to accompany him to the heart of a cholera epidemic. There, volunteering at a convent, her emerging conscience compels her to reassess her life choices.
Written in 1925, there's not a lot of action, but the author has a great understanding of the human psychic, at least in these characters.
Yes, I liked it enough to use it for the book club in October at my house. Thank you.
One of the best books I have read so far this year. This book makes the perfect club book. There's plenty to discuss and ponder.
I enjoyed this book very much. Saw the movie many years ago, so it was fun to read the book. But then I am a Maugham fan. If writing can be likened with music, I'd say he lays words down in a paragraph in the same gentle manner Liberace played a soft melody.
Book was ok. The ending was a little disappointing, I was expecting something more than what ended up happening. I found the main character a little annoying at times. It seemed like she never really knew what she wanted. And her pregnancy was never really a big deal to her (it seemed). All the characters seemed cold and standoffish. Nobody was really that interesting or even humanlike at times.
interesting story of a woman who has an affair and then is forced by circumstances to accompany her husband to remote china where there is a cholera epidemic going on. you see how she changes and grows during her experiences in this foreign land.
Maugham's writing is pure 19th century but this in no way detracts from his plots, which are very 20/21st century, as evidenced by the recent movie. There's some very good food for thought here with regard to personal relationships.
Quite enjoyed this book. If you've seen the movie but have not read the book you will be in for a surprise. I read the book before I saw the movie. Was disappointed the way they portrayed the relationship in the movie - liked the book much better.
Fabulous! A master craftsman tells a story of great human growth and foolishness.
Very different from the movie, but interesting in a different way.
This is from the Amazon review: Shallow, poorly educated Kitty marries the passionate and intellectual Walter Fane and has an affair with a career politician, Charles Townsend, assistant colonial secretary of Hong Kong. When Walter discovers the relationship, he compels Kitty to accompany him to a cholera-infested region of mainland China, where she finds limited happiness working with children at a convent.