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The painted veil by William Somerset Maugham

The painted veil (original 1925; edition 1952)

by William Somerset Maugham

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2,7601163,094 (3.93)284
Title:The painted veil
Authors:William Somerset Maugham
Info:Harmondsworth : Penguin Books, 1952.
Collections:Your library

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The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham (1925)



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English (112)  Spanish (2)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (116)
Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
I picked up this slim paperback after watching the film with Naomi Watts and Edward Norton. Maugham's novel is very different from the movie adaptation, which reworked the plot into a different kind of tragedy - beautiful rather than a result of hubris.

Our heroine, Kitty Fane, is so selfish and small-minded that it is difficult to sympathize with her as a protagonist. Maugham wants us to applaud her for some of her actions and decisions in the last fourth of the book, but I found myself not caring about her at all. The novel also has racist undertones - Kitty repeatedly expresses disgust at the Chinese nationals and there is one strange scene in which a Manchu woman is portrayed in such stereotypical terms it is almost laughable. This book is only redeemed by Maugham's commentary on class and gender, which is poignant and true even today. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
I was fascinated by the character of Kitty Fane. She is purported to be shallow and empty, but she is in fact braver than I could ever imagine being and willing to look at herself and her follies head on and call them for what they are. She is often unlikeable, she is punished beyond the pale, and she is humanly flawed. She does an enormous amount of growing and maturing during the course of the novel and every stage of her growth seemed realistic for her circumstances.

Kitty makes two mistakes. The first is marrying in haste someone who she knows little or nothing about, and with whom she is not remotely in love, in order to escape the humiliation of watching her younger sister make the fortuitous marriage that was expected for Kitty but never came. The second is engaging in an affair with a cad and believing in him wholly.

Women have so few choices in Kitty's world. They are expected to marry and be kept by a husband. For love they often look outside marriage. Kitty is not able to realize that her husband is an exceptional man, and she squanders his affections and their possibilities on what she comes to recognize as an animal passion.

I loved the movie, but Hollywood has transformed this into a romance, and that is clearly not what Maugham wrote. In many ways, they are two separate stories and Kitty is not the same character, although she arrives at much the same place. ( )
  phantomswife | Jul 6, 2018 |
This was a superb telling of the story of Kitty Fane. At the beginning of the book she was very "lost." She found herself, the hard way through a marriage, a move to Hong Kong, and a cholera epidemic. ( )
  tess_schoolmarm | Mar 11, 2018 |
I LOVE THIS BOOK !! I put it in caps just to let you know how much I enjoyed reading and seeing the film with Liev Schriber and Naomi Watts. Very few changes, the movie follows the book.

A pity that a few librarians told me that ' nobody reads Maugham anymore' - why on earth not ?? Too busy reading ' 50 shades of gray ' I suspect. Ok, I take that back, that was a bit elitist of me. My bad. ( )
  REINADECOPIAYPEGA | Jan 10, 2018 |
Another book that has been gathering dust at my shelves.
Finally I've come to read it. Much to my surprise I liked the book. Usually I don't fancy books with frail women, empty headed only brought up to embroider and be pretty.

Kitty is such a woman, but when she gets married for all the wrong reasons, she embarks on a journey that changes not only her life, but herself as well.

The end was somewhat unbelievable, but as a whole, I liked the book. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Apr 25, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
W. Somerset Maughamprimary authorall editionscalculated
Frampton, MeredithCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kushnir, OksanaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reading, KateNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Törngren, Thorsten W.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, MeganCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"...the painted veil which those who live call Life."
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She gave a startled cry.
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The Painted Veil was mistakenly combined with The Narrow Corner and thus the non-English titles may be incorrectly combined. If you identify an incorrectly combined book please "separate" it and combine it with the correct work. Thank you.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307277771, Paperback)

Set in England and Hong Kong in the 1920s, The Painted Veil is the story of the beautiful but love-starved Kitty Fane. When her husband discovers her adulterous affair, he forces her to accompany him to the heart of a cholera epidemic. Stripped of the British society of her youth and the small but effective society she fought so hard to attain in Hong Kong, she is compelled by her awakening conscience to reassess her life and learn how to love.

The Painted Veil is a beautifully written affirmation of the human capacity to grow, to change, and to forgive.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:00 -0400)

Kitty Fane is the beautiful but shallow wife of Walter, a bacteriologist stationed in Hong Kong. Unsatisfied by her marriage, she starts an affair with Charles Townsend, a man whom she finds charming, attractive and exciting. But when Walter discovers her deception, he exacts a strange but terrible vengeance: Kitty must accompany him to his new posting in remote mainland China, where a cholera epidemic rages.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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