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Liza of Lambeth

3.35  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,113 Ratings  ·  97 Reviews
Maugham's first published novel - a vividly realistic portrayal of slum life. Down among the drab slums of Lambeth, eighteen-year-old Liza is the darling of Vere Street. Vibrant and bewitching, she has found an adoring if conventional beau in Tom. When she meets Jim Blakeston, a married man new to the area, she is immediately magnetized by his attentions. But the streets a ...more
Paperback, Penguin Twentieth Century Classics, 128 pages
Published September 1st 1992 by Penguin Classics (first published 1897)
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Community Reviews

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Sandhya
Dec 30, 2012 Sandhya rated it liked it
Liza Of Lambeth (1897) is perhaps Maugham's only novel which I don't have the heart to revisit. Not because it is poor, but because it is so chillingly tragic. It isn't as if his other novels are all light and sunshine. Maugham in fact always had a great eye for human tragedy and unfailingly took up themes about the impossibility of love and the doomed nature of marriages. Almost every single novel of his has a grim death in it, but nothing is as brutal as what one witnesses in Liza of Lambeth. ...more
Mary Ronan Drew
Sep 23, 2013 Mary Ronan Drew rated it it was ok
Liza of Lambeth, this first novel by the young Somerset Maugham - he was 23 when it was published in 1897 - has its good points. It's an introduction to Maugham's fiction, a place from which to begin watching the honing of his novelistic skills. It is a glimpse into working class life in London's East End slum, Lambeth. And the plot, although a bit worn, is worn because it works.

It's a story of a good girl gone wrong with plenty of blame to go around. Liza is 18, lively, laughing, and popular wi
...more
Stephen Hayes
This is Somerset Maugham's first published novel, and of those of his that I've read, I think I like this one the best. About 12 years ago I bought several of his books cheap at a library sale, put them on a shelf and forgot them, and in the course of tidying the shelves I took them down to read, so I've been reading one after the other.

Liza of Lambeth is based on Maugham's experience as a medical student in a poor part of London. Well it's poor in parts. I once went to a garden party at Lambet
...more
Duane
This story is set in Lambeth, a working class neighborhood in London, around the end of the 19th century. Liza Kemp is an 18 year old factory worker, living with her sickly mother. Liza is a very outgoing and likeable girl, a favorite with the boys, especially young Tom who is in love with her. But trouble begins when Jim Blakeston moves into the neighborhood. Jim is a 40 year old married man with children, but he has an eye for Liza and when he starts showering her with affection, she is powerl ...more
Everett Darling
Feb 16, 2009 Everett Darling rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
Don't be surprised if it seems like less of a debut and more of the working of an old hand, since Maugham had been some years writing plays and short–stories while working through med-school and as a licensed physician, though none had been published.
As usual though, his characters are flesh and blood, tangible, and totally honest. Liza is a really down-to-earth protagonist, remarkably sympathetic through all her foibles and follies, and is dragged through the muck of life with crushing violenc
...more
Gavin Armour
Aug 01, 2016 Gavin Armour rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
William Somerset Maugham wird gemeinhin als der meistgelesene englische Schriftsteller des 20. Jahrhunderts bezeichnet, eine Auszeichnung, bei deren Vergabe man wahrscheinlich ausgesprochen vorsichtig sein sollte. Doch auch ein solcher Erfolgsautor hat irgendwann einmal irgendwo angefangen. Für Maugham war dieser Anfang das vorliegende Buch: LIZA OF LAMBETH. Erstmals 1897 erschienen, zeugt es durchaus von der brillanten Beobachtungsgabe und den Fähigkeiten der psychologisch genauen Menschenzeich ...more
Laura
Dec 28, 2015 Laura rated it liked it
Shelves: classics, read-2009
The first Maughams novel, promising a very nice debut.

Down among the drab slums of Lambeth, eighteen-year-old Liza is the darling of Vere Street. Vibrant and bewitching, she is adored by the steady, loyal Tom. But then Liza meets Jim Blakeston, charming and worldy, new to the area, and married.
...more
Lesley
Sep 18, 2013 Lesley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
You can watch my full video review here - http://youtu.be/HQza-LlwGhE
Bob
Nov 19, 2014 Bob rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrea
Oct 12, 2014 Andrea rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: london
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Alexander
Jan 29, 2013 David Alexander rated it really liked it
"The heart of the matter, the ghost of a chance,
A tremor, a fever, an ache in the chest.
The moth and the candle beginning their dance,
A cool white sheet on which nothing will rest..."
-from "The Heart of the Matter" by Dana Gioia

Maugham's story is of a poor girl's pathetic seduction. There is really no element of the laudable, let alone noble or heroic in her life, just the short record of one girl's bad choices and easy fall to the seduction of an adulterer, and then her sad, precipitous end. H
...more
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
A tragic yet beautifully written tale. Some say that as Maugham's first novel it is also his weakest, but I disagree. Granted, the slang is a bit annoying at first but you get used to it after a few pages.

The story is tragic but Maugham writes beautifully and depicts life in one of the poorer areas of London at the end of the 19th century very vividly. He manages to recreate an atmosphere that makes the story and the characters come alive.
Babette
Feb 22, 2015 Babette rated it really liked it
I read this book in a few days. After not reading anything through, in awhile, I found this to be perfect. It held my attention, it was an easy read and I liked it. If you are looking for something that gets to the point, without going on and on in describing every little thing, it was perfect (for me). I can't stand unnecessary words even in articles. I had no trouble reading the English accents either.
Justcynthia
Jul 04, 2014 Justcynthia rated it it was amazing
Maugham paints a vivid picture for those who eek out an existence in the slums of a working-class town in England. The characters are all portrayed as sympathetic and Maugham shows his keen insights into human nature. This is one of his earliest but most memorable novels.
TalulahCT
Feb 13, 2016 TalulahCT rated it really liked it
This is a short novel which tells a powerful story and immerses the reader effortlessly. Much of this is because of the cockney dialect Maugham employs, which is so prevalent that it seems necessary in creating a sense of ‘place’ just as much as anything else in the novel. The upshot of this is that by the end of the first page, the reader is fully lost in the story.

In the first chapters, we are introduced to Liza, our vivacious protagonist, as well as her mother, neighbours, and friends residin
...more
Laurel Hicks
My Maugham of the Month for January, 2011 is a good study of the circle of life in a poor district of London like that in which Somerset Maugham had his medical practice.
Paul
Mar 28, 2010 Paul rated it really liked it
I like the part where the chicks fight.
David
Jul 05, 2014 David rated it really liked it
This is a compelling, if tragic, story of life in the lower classes of England in the lower classes of England in the early 20th century. It begin with a flourish as young Liza dances in the street, impressing everyone with her grace and beauty. Unfortunately, as she dances, she encounters a married man and they form an attraction. From there, the plot begins to unfold.

The characters speak in what I assume is authentic dialect for the time period, and they tell a grim story of life in the lower
...more
Casey
Nov 27, 2012 Casey rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Danika
Jan 15, 2014 Danika rated it did not like it
Liza of Lambeth is not exactly a dark story, but certainly dingy and dreary are appropriate adjectives. The central character is a young woman living on a poor street and working in a factory. At the time of its publication, the content would have been shocking and enlightening, but now, domestic abuse, affairs, and such seem common, everyday fare, and the time past since its publication make its social commentary less relevant. Lacking shock value, the book seems to have little else to offer. ...more
Katie
Jun 21, 2011 Katie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, 1890s
In Liza of Lambeth, Maugham draws on his own experiences as a trainee doctor who would frequently be called to attend on people in the poorer areas of London. Liza is an eighteen year old factory worker who enjoys dancing, drinking, wearing new clothes and generally living life to the full. She lives with her aging mother, walks out with Tom and spends time with her friend Sally. All this changes when a new family move in to the street and the father, the much older Jim Blakestone, starts paying ...more
Ape
Jan 04, 2013 Ape rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Benjamin Duffy
Nov 27, 2009 Benjamin Duffy rated it it was ok
Liza of Lambeth was Maugham's first published novel, and it shows. Some of his future strengths are hinted at here: the dialogue is earthy and believable (though his insistence on spelling out the dialect phonetically becomes tedious, almost like listening to a "book on CD" narrated by Eliza Doolittle), and he already shows flashes of his greatest talent, that of conveying human emotion in a raw and irresistible manner.

However, where later Maugham books such as Moon and Sixpence and Cakes and Al
...more
Cagliostro
Nov 10, 2012 Cagliostro rated it really liked it
Το πρώτο βιβλίο του Σώμερσετ Μωμ, του οποίου η επιτυχία έπεισε τον συγγραφέα να παρατήσει την καριέρα του ως γιατρού και να αφιερωθεί στην λογοτεχνία. Η Λίζα είναι δεκαοχτώ χρονών και ζει μαζί με την μητέρα της σε μια φτωχογειτονιά του Λονδίνου. Είναι σε μια ηλικία στην οποία οι κοπέλες της εποχής της προετοιμάζονται για να γίνουν σύζυγοι. Εκείνη δεν υπακούει στην λογική και αρνείται την αγάπη του Τομ που την αγαπά με ειλικρίνεια. Ακολουθώντας το ένστικό της, παρασύρεται στην αγάπη του Τζιμ, ενό ...more
Gláucia Renata
Nov 03, 2014 Gláucia Renata rated it it was ok
O primeiro romance do autor e também meu primeiro dele. Talvez deveria ter começado por outro, essa novela não deve expressar o que sua obra realmente é. O tema é banal, os personagens um pouco superficiais, o enredo não tem grandes atrativos e o final mais que previsível. A linguagem também me pareceu muito simples, não sei se devido à tradução ou mesmo à intenção do autor de ambientar mais fielmente o leitor.

""Era no primeiro sábado do mês de agosto, à tarde; durante todo o dia fizera um calor
...more
Jackie
Sep 29, 2015 Jackie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As Mr Maugham's first book, this novel is almost a novella. Short but powerful, I can see why it was such a success that he stopped studying medicine and making writing his full-time career. I find it a great accomplishment, as this novel reads from a feminine view.

The tale strikes anyone as true, as all can relate to making mistakes, big mistakes when young. The main character with her zeal for life, selects an "exiting" romance with an older married man over the marriage proposal of a "dull" y
...more
Cocaine
Jan 27, 2016 Cocaine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
For an author whose work I admire this novel proved to be the one I didn't like at all. For such an accomplished novelist this, in fairness his first book, seems to have the curse of Dick Van Dyke running through it. Rather than write the dialogue in plain English, Somerset Maugham opts to portray cockneys in the same manner Burt from Mary Poppins used. 'Allo Miry, ave uo 'ad a nice die tidie?' The whole story, rather good in fact, is blighted by this clumsy attempt to capture Cockney English ac ...more
Fred
Jan 27, 2014 Fred rated it it was ok
I am a huge fan of Maugham's work. Every few months I eagerly dive in, and devour, another of his novels. I've spouted endlessly about my enjoying the Edwardian sensibilites and colorful characters that breath throughout his books. Missing from all the other novels, however, is the painstaking and distracting cockney dialog which my esteemed author chose to almost phonetically spell.

The end result, at least for me, is a deep puddle of molasses that laboriously drains out along with my attention
...more
Zara
Mar 27, 2015 Zara rated it really liked it
Maugham's novellas ought to be finished in a single sitting, and this is no different. He paints the characters, particularly the captivating Liza at the heart of the story, with an almost filmic beauty. The dialogue throughout is fabulous. It's all very Eliza Doolittle at first, but I adore how he conjures this gorgeous yet tragic world. I did think it ended a little too soon and tragically, and of course it is very melodramatic. However the book has hugely entertaining and a lovely read for an ...more
Lucy
Feb 05, 2015 Lucy rated it liked it
Many reviewers have commented on Maugham's attempts to convey the authentic speech of his characters: like others, I found this rather spoiled what is essentially a well-constructed, moving story. It's also a fascinating social document of life at the time, neither idealised or overplayed for effect. Maugham presents what he saw and refrains from commenting - he lets the characters tell the story. Such a shame about the accents - I'd like to read it 'in translation'.
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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
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