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The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham
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The Painted Veil (original 1925; edition 2006)

by W. Somerset Maugham

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Member:Moomin2009
Title:The Painted Veil
Authors:W. Somerset Maugham
Info:Vintage (2006), Edition: Movie Tie-In, Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham (1925)

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Kitty Fane, unhappily married to Walter Fane, is living in Hong Kong and starts an affair with Charles Townsend. When Walter learns of the affair he offers to give her a divorce if Townsend will marry her or move with him to a remote part of China where he will work with a cholera population. Townsend has no intention of marrying Kitty so off the remote China Kitty and Walter go. Up until now Kitty has been spoiled and selfish. But something happens to her when she is away from society and forced to make her life meaningful. Walter is all consumed with his work as a bacteriologist so Kitty decides to volunteer at the orphanage with the French nuns. Kitty grows up and undergoes a transformation only to learn ( )
  KatherineGregg | Mar 2, 2017 |
We follow the downfall of the flighty and frivolous Kitty as she marries a dull bacteriologist whom she doesn’t love - just to get away from home. The couple move to the Crown Colony Hong Kong, where Kitty very soon falls in love with Charlie Townsend, a british government official.

She misread her situation totally - Townsend is not willing to divorce his wife - and Kitty have no other choice than to follow her husband (whom she hates) as he travels to a remote village to help with a colera epidemic. A deathly mission.

Here she’s indeed lost. Until she befriends some nuns in a monestary and begin to have a new outlook on her life and her former ways.

In a way it reminded me of [Remains of the Day] that is also about a very lonely, trapped person - not that the plot is the same at all - but in the way the story is told - by a single character - and as I followed her thoughts, her observations, her arguments I went from disliking her a lot, to disbelief in her folly, to sympathy and hope for her renewal, to liking her again and rooting for her.

Kitty is indeed a flawed character - but a real character who radically alters her outlook on life - and we come to sympathise with her in her “coming-of-age” journey to self-understanding, to spiritual awakening, to her final attemps of carving out a new life for herself - it’s a suspenseful, chilling and profound novel.

I saw the movie-adaptation several years ago but as I remember it it was much more romantic and sentimental than Somerset Maughams novel. Hmm..have to see it again, I guess :) ( )
3 vote ctpress | Dec 1, 2016 |
Written in 1925 when Hong Kong was a Crown colony, this is the story of Kitty Fane. Married to a man she didn't love, this spoiled young woman fell in love with charming, married, government official Charles Townsend. When Walter Fane discovered her affair, he gave her the option of divorce but only on the condition that Townsend will marry her. Of course, Townsend has no intention of that, so Walter compels her to accompany him to the heart of a cholera epidemic. The story is an examination of love and fidelity that Maugham does so well. Although the setting is not as clearly defined as most of Maugham's stories, the early 20th century culture and manners of British Empire days are beautifully portrayed. ( )
1 vote VivienneR | Oct 24, 2016 |
In this book, the shallow, selfish and adulterous Kitty ultimately recognizes her own loathsomeness and attempts to change. I've always liked Maugham and he was very good at depicting the society in which Kitty lived. Unfortunately I never grew to like Kitty, nonetheless I felt the author managed to make an interesting book out of the life of a basically uninteresting woman. The narration of the audiobook by Kate Reading was good. ( )
  fhudnell | Sep 12, 2016 |
The Painted Veil moved me deeply the first time I watched the movie. My friend loaned me the book and what I discovered was a far different but addictive story. Rather than romanticized love, the novel dives further into Kitty's selfishness and stupidity. Much like Scarlett O'Hara, Kitty strives to be happy, to make her own way in a world not ready for that kind of progressiveness. And yet, as annoying as she could be at times, I felt like I had taken a journey with her.
The ending is even more satisfying than the movie, though in my mind I imagine a healthy blending of both.
Altogether I loved this novel of self-discovery and the promoted truth that life is not composed of a stream of happy endings, but journeys. ( )
1 vote JSilverwood | Aug 27, 2016 |
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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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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)

This is the story of Kitty Fane, the adulterous wife of a bacteriologist stationed in Hong Kong. When her husband discovers her deception, he exacts a terrible vengeance: Kitty must accompany him to the heart of a cholera epidemic in China.

(summary from another edition)

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