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Christmas Holiday

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  1,093 Ratings  ·  111 Reviews
For Christmas, Charley Mason's father granted him a trip to Paris, all expenses paid. It should have been a lark, but on his first night Charley meets a woman whose story will forever change his life.

For Lydia has seen tragedy. The Russian Revolution displaced her family, left her homeless, fatherless. And for reasons that elude Charley, Lydia pines for a man half a world
Paperback, 320 pages
Published December 5th 2000 by Vintage (first published 1939)
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Jul 01, 2015 Sketchbook rated it did not like it
Published on the eve of W2, Maugham presents a situation: a conventional young man, Charley, age 23, has a week's holiday in Paris and his unexpected experiences blitz his mind. Back home he can't even talk about Paris, you see, "the bottom had fallen out of his world." Last line. What happened? He had dined at Coupole, had drinks at the Dome, visited the Louvre, attended a Christmas concert...heard a journalist pal rant about dictators and the stupidity of the human race, and, oh yes, he met ...more
Hunter Murphy
Aug 29, 2015 Hunter Murphy rated it it was amazing
Ah, Maugham. Certainly this man is one of the most talented novelists to ever walk the earth. Christmas Holiday is an incredible story. A young man from a cultured, middle-class English family travels to Paris to spend Christmas holiday with some desperate people. He has no idea whom he's about to encounter. It just sort of happens. Many other things happen too.

A dear childhood friend of his has become a raving, cynical, misanthropic ascetic, basically starving himself of human companionship as
Oct 23, 2014 Chrissie rated it liked it
Recommended to Chrissie by: Petra
Three stars because I liked this book. It takes a while to get into. The beginning is a rapid summary of Charley's respectable, well-off, bourgeois English family. Not snobbish, but proud of what they have attained. Intellectual and well-versed in the arts. His parents had raised Charley and his sister insuring that they had read what should be read, had viewed those paintings one should see and gone to concerts so they were well acquainted with the famous classical composers. All was in order. ...more
Sep 23, 2012 Doroti rated it really liked it
Моъм си е Моъм - гениален разказвач от и до дъното на душата си. Много харесвам такива книги - история, рамкирана от друга история. Кара те да се замислиш за смисъла на почти всичко, което правим в живота си, а също и за липсата на такъв. Заслужава си.
Sep 12, 2014 Petya rated it it was amazing
Много ми хареса книгата. Дълбока и дори разтърсваща. Философски написана и поставяща много въпроси, все сериозни. Откровено казано нямах големи очаквания, тъй като тази не е сред най-известните книги на автора. И вероятно точно поради тази причина останах силно впечатлена. Блестящо се е справил с изграждането на образите и тезите. И освен всичко останало, показва и много дълбоко познаване на руската душевност. Най-силните думи са поставени в устата на Саймън, а цинизмът им е смегчен посредством ...more
Sep 14, 2012 Kaloyana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Книгата ми хареса повече, от колкото очаквах. Моъм е умел разказвач и има страхотна философия за живота и определено отношение към хората. Разбира и чудесно описва тяхната същност, характер, както и - страховете, които ги мъчат и низостите, на които са способни. Майсторството тук се състои в това, че разказът започва леко и нищо не подозиращият читател си мисли, че ще се сблъска с още една не особено затрогваща историйка, но - нищо подобно. Има силна психология, тежки думи, но на място и всичко ...more
Първоначално реших, че е романтична-любовна история. Чарли заминава да изкара Коледните празници в Париж и още първата вечер с приятеля му Саймън отиват в публичен дом, където попада на рускинята Лидия. Целият си престой Чарли прекарва с Лидия, но не по начина, който човек очаква. През цялото време тя му разказва за живота си и странните обрати, в които е поел - тя се оказва съпруга на убиец. Тогава реших, че това е чисто криминална история - все пак с големи подробности е описан животът на Лиди ...more
Jan 28, 2014 Gail rated it really liked it
Maugham was clearly still finding his style in this early book, but it is nonetheless a very enjoyable read. His cutting and concise character descriptions are just as brilliant as in his later works. He paints a glimpse of a world that enthralls Charley and the reader, despite the fact, or perhaps because of the fact, that the inhabitants of this world are doomed to a life of oppression and despair. The story is so rich that it is hard to remember that the entire book only covers about a week: ...more
Dec 12, 2014 Leslie rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, holiday
Interesting story of a young man (22? 23?) first coming to realize that people (and the world) are more complex than he had thought whilst on his first Christmas holiday apart from his family.

Although Charlie is the "main character", much of the book is taken up with the story of Lydia -- a young Russian woman he meets through his friend Simon. Both Lydia and Simon think and live so differently from Charlie's family, he begins to awaken to the fact that he has only experienced a small part of th
Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition
This is good - easy to read, with well thought out characters, except that I would have liked the protagonist to enjoy his holiday in Paris, seeing the sights, etc. a little longer before the serious stuff started.
L. Marquet
Dec 27, 2012 L. Marquet rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
W. Somerset Maugham
Christmas Holiday
Published 1939.

The first thing you need to know about W. Somerset Maugham’s Christmas Holiday is that it has nothing to do with Christmas.

The book was written in 1939 when Maugham was 63. It is one of his last major pieces.

Christmas Holiday tells the story of Charley Mason, a comfortably-born 24-year old, who spends a week-long holiday in Paris. (Yes, it is at Christmas.)

Charley’s father has given him the vacation and is expecting him to sow his oats a bit b
Jun 19, 2007 Frederick rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who aren't upset at a lack of plot.
Shelves: novels, maugham
This is a short novel about time spent between a man who's life will go well and a woman who's life will not. The last sentence is the best last sentence I've ever read.
This is a very well done philosophical expository. I picked this up because I have been meaning to read more Maugham, but also because it is December (and while not yet Christmas), I am sitting at a posh, exclusive resort in Fiji looking out at the calm waters of the bay (on holiday). I am not hoping to have quite the wake up call that Charley gets in Paris, but it is nice to remind oneself at times (or more importantly, remind the children) of just how comfortable our lives are and appreciate t ...more
Lyubina Yordanova
„Една Коледа в Париж” е от онези книги, които е подходящо да четете през декември. Не очаквайте обаче тя да ви омагьоса с коледен дух, нито да ви настрои романтично за предстоящите празници (аз лично таях такава надежда).
По това време на годината, когато по-голямата част от човечеството се подготвя за отбелязване на Рождество Христово, ще усетите на място посланието, което книгата носи. И може би заради него ще я предпочетете за коледна изненада, която има непреходна стойност.

Романът разказва за
Cooper Cooper
Jul 15, 2009 Cooper Cooper rated it really liked it
Written just before the outbreak of World War II, this story warns the British middle class about the hazards of being compacent and naïve in a dangerous world. The story is simple: a young Cambridge-educated Englishman, Charles, is rewarded for entering the family business (initially he had wanted to be a painter) with a holiday trip to Paris “to see some pictures.” There he is met by a lifelong friend Simon, now a journalist, who has become a fanatic who is preparing himself through rigorous ...more
Dec 25, 2012 Sandhya rated it really liked it
Among all his works, Christmas Holiday published in 1939 counts as Maugham's most political novel. It still has all the central themes of love and coming-of-age which the author engaged with, but certainly, here, Maugham was keener to make a political point.

Written just before the outbreak of World War 2, the entire novel can be seen as an allegory of the situation that was unfolding in Europe, post the Russian revolution. The novel gives you an overview of the history of the time, and acquaints
Nov 25, 2012 Carol rated it really liked it
Shelves: maugham, set-in-paris
I just love Maugham's work. The characters in the story -- Charley Mason: 24-year old comfortably born Englishman goes to Paris for a week. Simon Fenimore: Charley's schoolboy friend, cynic, anarchist, manipulator. Ignores Charley except to set him up with "Princess Olga." Lydia: Russian prostitute who Charley meets at the Serail and is introduced as "Princess Olga." She is married to Robert Berger the rake, she atones for his sins by debasing herself. Robert Berger: Imprisoned husband of Lydia, ...more
Feb 06, 2017 Sophie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first Maugham, and I really loved it! I look forward to reading more by this author...
Dec 11, 2012 Nigeyb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A clever, readable and entertaining book. Deceptively simple. W Somerset Maugham uses the contrasting personalities of Charley and Simon to highlight some of the profound and disturbing changes taking place in mainland Europe during the late 1930s (when he wrote the story). W Somerset Maugham was remarkably prescient about the horrors and inhumanity that was about to unfold. And, despite this, the book is very readable - giving the reader insights into Russian refugees living in Paris, convicts, ...more
Rafael Villegas
Dec 26, 2015 Rafael Villegas rated it really liked it
Somerset Maugham! "C'est un genie" because of his straightforward writing, attention to detail, and simply revealed complex ideas. He dosen't beat around the bush and elaborate excessively. And so, this book "Christmas Holiday" is plain but colorful in that exact way.

Here's my vauge as Sh&@#! review of this beautifully put story.

The main character Charley is sensitive kind-hearted and quitessentially english (this is the first time i've typed this word). He travels to Paris to experience ar
Elizabeth Moffat
Nov 11, 2012 Elizabeth Moffat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first of W.Somerset Maugham's books that I have read for a book club and I absolutely loved it. The writing was beautiful and the characters so intriguing. The ending, (which I won't spoil) was left slightly up in the air, but I loved it. I'll definitely be checking out more of this author's work.
Oct 08, 2008 dara rated it really liked it
Originally read: 10/16/08
Re-read: 12/25/11

I liked Simon as a character the first time I read this, but now... not so much. I suppose all this empathy and compassion shit has changed me some. Oh well. I still think the novel has one of the best ending lines ever.
Oct 27, 2016 Jen rated it it was amazing
Brilliant! Maugham's has an extraordinary gift of insight on people and relationships.
Жени Методиева
Едва ли има читател, който не желае да разбере същността, подтика, самата душевност на героите, за които чете. Психологическият момент е може би най-голямата притегателна сила в художествената литература, особено в творба, в която е извършено престъпление, в която главна сюжетна линия се явява неумиращата емоцията на съпругата, към - иронично - съпругът й убиец. Макар и малко мудно, макар и с пасажи, сякаш вмъкнати просто за пълнеж, възнамерявах да дочета романа. Така трогателна ми се струваше т ...more
Fernando Cleber
O livro mostra, numa narrativa simples e fácil de seguir, porém nada fantástica, a "aventura" de Charley Mason durante uma semana de Natal em Paris. Lá ele encontra Simon, seu amigo de longa data, que o leva para conhecer os "segredos" de Paris. Conhece Lídia, russa que se sujeita a situações degradantes apenas como forma de punição a si mesmo.
É nesse ambiente que o narrador discorre sobre a alma humana e o que leva pessoas a fazerem e agirem tão diferentes. É o encontro de vários mundos distin
This is more of a 3.5 star review as the book was a very interesting read. A young Brit goes to Paris after a year's work in the family business. There, he meets a Russian émigré who shows him a very different world than his English upper middle class life. It is more of a character study. As far as I could tell, Christmas was only used as a counterpoint to the cruel life the Russian woman had. If someone wants a more non-traditional read during Christmas or the rest of winter, I would recommend ...more
Feb 20, 2017 Chris rated it it was amazing
I've become quite a fan of Somerset Maugham's over the last few years. His stories are very readable, very rooted in reality and always interesting. His characters frequently defy expectations in the way they behave, and so do the stories in the turns they take. This is not, as the title would suggest, a light read but a glimpse of the darker sides of Parisian life viewed through the eyes of a comparative innocent. The style as always is accessible and leaves you wanting more.
Victoria Ivanova
Моъм за пореден път не ме разочарова. Краят го прочетох на един дъх, както се случва при хубавите книги. Ако ви се чете нещо дълбоко и разтърсващо - препоръчвам!
Nov 21, 2016 Louischa rated it did not like it
Paul Bartusiak
Nov 23, 2012 Paul Bartusiak rated it it was ok
Maugham is one of my favorite authors. I have not read all of his works, but from his novel, “Of Human Bondage” alone the author has garnered my great admiration. Upon reading some of his other works, (The Razor’s edge, The Moon and Sixpence, Cakes And Ale), my fondness is firmly cemented.

One of the things most remarkable about Maugham’s writings, besides the straightforward yet extremely elegant writing style, is how they delve into the inner workings and thoughts of the human soul. Maugham the
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Bright Young Things: December 2012- Christmas Holiday by W. Somerset Maugham 23 48 Oct 11, 2013 02:54AM  
  • The Worm Forgives the Plough
  • The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham: A Biography
  • The Ball At Sceaux
  • Let's Be Jolly! (2-in-1)
  • Westwood
  • At Home for the Holidays
  • The Birds on the Trees
  • Christmas Stories
  • Henrietta Sees It Through: More News from the Home Front 1942-1945
  • Journey Without Maps
  • A Midnight Clear: Family Christmas Stories
  • Evening in Byzantium
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Illustrated Classics): A Graphic Novel
  • Paris Was Yesterday, 1925-1939
  • Christmas Every Day
  • Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky
  • Ralph the Heir
  • Work Suspended and other stories including Basil Seal Rides Again
William Somerset Maugham was born in Paris in 1874. He spoke French even before he spoke a word of English, a fact to which some critics attribute the purity of his style.

His parents died early and, after an unhappy boyhood, which he recorded poignantly in Of Human Bondage, Maugham became a qualified physician. But writing was his true vocation. For ten years before his first success, he almost l
More about W. Somerset Maugham...

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“In the first place it's not true that people improve as you know them better: they don't. That's why one should only have acquaintances and never make friends. An acquaintance shows you only the best of himself, he's considerate and polite, he conceals his defects behind a mask of social convention; but we grow so intimate with him that he throws the mask aside, get to know him so well that he doesn't trouble any longer to pretend; then you'll discover a being of such meanness, of such trivial nature, of such weakness, of such corruption, that you'd be aghast if you didn't realize that that was his nature and it was just as stupid to condemn him as to condemn the wolf because he ravens or the cobra because he strikes.” 84 likes
“I'd sooner be smashed into a mangled pulp by a bus when we cross the street than look forward to a life like yours.” 26 likes
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