The Moon and Sixpence
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The Moon and Sixpence

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  7,932 ratings  ·  501 reviews
Based on the life of Paul Gauguin, The Moon and Sixpence is W. Somerset Maugham's ode to the powerful forces behind creative genius.
Charles Strickland is a staid banker, a man of wealth and privilege. He is also a man possessed of an unquenchable desire to create art. As Strickland pursues his artistic vision, he leaves London for Paris and Tahiti, and in his quest makes s...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Alan Rodgers Books (first published 1919)
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Rajat Ubhaykar
Fair warning, this is going to be a long review for this is a book that is close to my heart written by an author whom I deeply admire.

The Right Time

There are some books that walk into your life at an opportune time. I'm talking about the books that send a pleasant shiver down your spine laden with “Man, this is meant to be!” as you flip through its pages cursorily. Or those that upon completion, demand an exclamation from every book-reading fibre of your body to the effect of “There couldn't ha...more
Mary
We want the world. We want it all. We want the moon. And still it's not enough.

It's my long term goal to read everything Maguham wrote, a goal that I doubt will be very difficult to reach. He writes with such poignant observation and wit and in The Moon and Sixpence he captures the all encompassing, obsessive and brutal nature that perhaps it takes to be an artist.

Told by an unnamed narrator, we are introduced to Charles Strickland, a beastly yet seemingly ordinary man who one day leaves his wif...more
Tatiana
This novel is by far my favorite account of an artist's life in fiction.

The story of Charles Strickland is based on Paul Gauguin's life. To what extent, I don't know. What I do know is that there is something infinitely irresistible about how artistry is portrayed in this novel. I love the idea that a real artist creates art because he cannot not to. That all other aspects of his life - family, money, acclaim, food even - are secondary to his desire to create. Strickland is remarkable in his dri...more
Matthew
my affection for this book may, in part, stem from the fact that it was one of those novels that i read at a period in my life when my tastes in both literature and life outlook were taking shape (that is, while playing hooky from high school) but its appeal has endured far more than the other usual suspects in that category (kerouac's meanderings, pirsig's pretentions, etc.)

apart from its romantic appeal to the Quiet and Solitary Youth demographic (of which i was a card-carrying member) i thin...more
Khinna
Mar 08, 2008 Khinna rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: artists
Shelves: favourites
It would be a mistake to read this novel as an inspiring tale of the triumph of the spirit. Strickland is an appalling human being--but the world itself, Maugham seems to say, is a cruel, forbidding place. The author toys with theidea that men like Charles Strickland may somehow be closer to the mad pulse of life, and cannot therefore be dismissed as mere egotists. The moralists among us, the book suggests, are simply shrinking violets if not outright hypocrites. It is not a very cheery concepti...more
Rajeev Singh
A man's creative side is shackled in worldly responsibilities: bills to be paid, mouths to feed, bodies to cover up and a shelter to be had from the ravages of life. What if someone chooses to slip out of these chains, to fling all responsibilities out of the window except the one he owes to his art?
It’s debatable but the way Maugham puts it, he seems already more than half-way to his realization that no price is too high to pay in order to create something worthwhile.

“The writer's only respons...more
Jamie
Someone would have had to physically pry this book out of my clutches last night to get me to eat dinner. Finished it in five hours flat without intending anything of the sort. I couldn’t put it down. I know I say this a lot but Maugham, goddamn.

“But who can fathom the subtleties of the human heart? Certainly not those who expect from it only decorous sentiments and normal emotions.”

And this:
I remember saying to him: “Look here, if everyone acted like you, the world couldn’t go on.”

“That’s a da
...more
Antonomasia
Since I last read a full-length novel, at the end of August 2012*, I've watched c. 450 films - that's a quarter of the total number of films I've seen in my life. I think this has led to a new set of likes and dislikes in the way a story is communicated, which may be as much about written fiction per se as about this book in particular.

Quite my favourite thing was Maugham's authorial voice: wise, certain and given to bold idiosyncratic statements which not all will agree with, and not all of whi...more
Kelly
I can't imagine ever disliking a Maugham book. I may just like some more than I like others. I feel that he has to be the most quotable author of all time. When I read his work, I highlight so much that stands out for me. The enormity of this man's talent just leaves me in awe. His words flow like fluid from the pages. He gives you so much to reflect on.

This book is great, but I don't think I liked it quite as much as The Razor's Edge or Of Human Bondage, which I really thought were brilliant. B...more
Maria
Prendere e andare.
Senza certezze, senza destinazione.
Lasciare parenti e pareti e partire, alla ricerca di qualcosa che possa placare l'inquietudine, l'angoscia inspiegabile che prende alla bocca dello stomaco.
E cos'è quest'agitazione se non la consapevolezza di condurre una vita che non ci appartiene?

Prendere e andare.
Una ricorsa affannosa verso un obiettivo che non riusciamo ancora a distinguere.
Un pensiero per lo più, il dubbio che qualcos'altro ci stia aspettando al di là dell'abitudine.
Qua...more
King
A DJ acquaintance of mine recommended this book to me saying it better captured than anything else the artist's need to create art at any cost. Maybe there was something to it; said acquaintance has gone on to forge a successful DJ career.

Story is based on the life of painter Gauguin, but Maugham invents a lot of dramatic flourishes to make his artist character a bit more extreme than the real Gauguin was (not to say that Gauguin wasn't plenty extreme).

I always get suspicious when writers base t...more
Marigold
I admire Maugham’s writing - & I loved The Razor’s Edge. But I didn’t enjoy this book. The extreme misogyny of most of the characters really bothered me - & don’t tell me it’s an accurate depiction of social mores of the time – else I shall have to throw some other books from 1919 at you!

In this book, Charles Strickland leaves his wife & children after 17 years of a conventional life & passionately pursues his art through starvation & being an utter prick in Paris; then goes...more
Jonatron
Feb 10, 2009 Jonatron rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jonatron by: Alaina
"What makes you think you have any talent?"

He did not answer for a minute. His gaze rested on the passing throng, but I do not think he saw it. His answer was no answer.

"I've got to paint."



"Each one of us is alone in the world. He is shut in a tower of brass, and can communicate with his fellows only by signs, and the signs have no common value, so that their sense is vague and uncertain. We seek pitifully to convey to others the treasures of our heart, but they have not the power to accept them...more
Kaloyana
Най-накрая разбрах защо толкова много ми харесва С. У. Моъм. Голям разказвач на ужасно интересни истории, от чиито герои има какво да научиш за изкуството, за живота и най-вече за низостта и величието на човешката душа. Но най-много ни учи на това да живеем, без да се прекланяме сляпо на живота. Няма нужда да го възхваляваме и да се привързваме към него толкова, а просто да го живеем според собственото си верую. Страхотни прозрения, написани толкова лекичко, че чак се чудиш защо сам не си се сет...more
Sandra
"Se guardi a terra in cerca di una moneta da sei pence, non puoi guardare in alto, e così non vedi la luna"




Ecco spiegato, dalle parole di Maugham stesso, il significato del titolo del romanzo. In esse è riassunto il senso del racconto della vita di Charles Strickland, che di punto in bianco abbandona la vita agiata in una famiglia alto borghese londinese per seguire il demone che fino ad allora era stato in agguato dentro di lui e all’improvviso è esploso con la violenza di un uragano che travol...more
Jill
I thought this one should have ended about 100 pages before it did. I didn't feel the last portion of the book matched with the first portion. I love the way Somerset Maugham writes in the first person. There is something very intimate about his writing, and I'm not sure anyone can rival his descriptive ability. While I enjoyed it, it wasn't my favorite of his. Strickland is the most interesting character, and while I was fascinated by reading him, I couldn't quite buy how he turned out, so I re...more
Mark
Brilliantly crystallizes and humanizes the Romantic myth of the artist. With scintillatingly dry wit, Maugham skewers the everyday assumptions of his middle-class characters, but his deep feeling for both their foibles and their virtues saves them from caricature. Maugham's ability to distill passionate emotions into brief, telling phrases gives the book a spry, lively air, and the many passages in which he describes his main character's understanding of art are deeply moving. His portrait of Ch...more
Laura
May 17, 2013 Laura rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kim, Jeannette, Wanda, Virginie
Opening lines:
I confess that when first I made acquaintance with Charles Strickland I never for a moment discerned that there was in him anything out of the ordinary.


A magnificent fictional biography of Paul Gauguin.

There are 4 movie versions of this book:

The Moon and Sixpence (1942) with George Sanders, Herbert Marshall, Doris Dudley.



The Moon and Sixpence (TV 1959) with Laurence Olivier, Judith Anderson, Hume Cronyn.



The Moon and Sixpence (BBC Play of the Month, 1967) with Charles Gray, Ronald...more
بسام عبد العزيز
بالرغم من كل مساوئ البطل فلم أستطع ان أكرهه..

إنها إشكالية العواطف البشرية.... نحن نقوم بتقييم الخير و الشر بناءا على عواطفنا البشرية.. ماذا لو فقدنا جميعا عواطفنا البشرية لتصبح جميع أفعالنا مبنية على العقل فقط؟؟؟ هل يظل الخير و الشر بنفس تعريفه؟

البطل استطاع بشكل ما.. سواء كانت هى شخصيته الأصلية أم حدث تغيير فيها في أثناء حياته .. استطاع بشخصيته تلك ان ينفي كل شعور انساني من حياته.. إنه لم يعد يشعر بالحب ولا بالعطف ولا بأي شعور انساني آخر.. لقد أصبح منفصلا تماما عن العالم .. لا يرى إلا قيم مجردة...more
Suvi
How much I liked the portrayal of passion for art doesn't matter that much, when the actual main character was left pretty much in the dark. That may have been the author's intention, but this kind of approach has never appealed to me. The story is way too fragmented to get an idea of Strickland's character, even though I did enjoy it as a whole. I would also like to say that whatever you may think of his decisions, you can never understand unless you have felt that compulsive desire to create....more
SCARABOOKS
Romanzo biografia del pittore Strickland, mai esistito, ricavato mescolando tre quarti di Gauguin con un quarto di Van Gogh. Al centro di tutto, il demone della creazione artistica.

Ho letto da qualche parte che "Maugham è un grande scrittore perché scrive come l'erba cresce", perché scrive semplice.

Penso invece che non bisogna lasciarsi ingannare. La sua erba, così tanto bella da percorrere con lo sguardo, che invoglia così tanto a camminarci sopra rilassati e "a piedi nudi" ha radici profonde...more
Edward
Maugham's novel is supposedly based on the life of Paul Gauguin, but that's misleading as it is no way a fictionalized biography. He uses a few details of Gauguin's life such as his abandonment of his family and his conventional career as a stockbroker, and then his retreat to Tahiti, but beyond that, Maugham creates his own story of what drives such an artist.
It's an obsessional pursuit of the creation of beauty, so single-minded that it can drive everything else out of the artist's life. Mau...more
Gladia
'The Moon and the Sixpence' is the story of Charles Strickland, a stockbroker, who suddenly leaves his wife and kids to go first to Paris and then Tahiti to pursue a career as a painter. This story was inspired to Maugham by Paul Gauguin's life.

This novel brought me immediately back to the world of Maugham. Same writing style and the narrator, although name and profession changed, the voice, Maugham's one, remains the same.

Strickland is depicted as a very strong character who doesn't care about...more
Lavinia
What it takes to be a real artist is debatable. A sudden urge to create, an invincible desire to stay away from anything that’s mundane (that includes your current job) and keeps you away from your true calling – I can take that. But leaving everything behind, i.e. spouse and children, and completely ignore them for the rest of your life in order to focus on your art, whatever form it has, – that is too much for me to bear. I definitely speak as a woman and wife, whose connection to art limits t...more
F.R.
What’s happened to Somerset Maugham’s reputation? In his lifetime he was a massively popular, bestselling author, and what’s more a critical darling. But now, nearly fifty years after his death, his books remain in print but he’s hardly a writer in fashion. Why is that? As although I’m fairly new to his fiction (this is only my second Maugham), I have to say that I’m deeply impressed by his work. These are sharp and observant novels with strong characters and excellent narrative. And yet their a...more
Selman
Maugham has a fine way of telling stories and I enjoyed reading his style. But what keeps me going through the book was neither his style nor the story itself but the contrast between the two major characters, Stroeve and Strickland. I admit that the disposition of these two opposite personas by Maugham could have been more striking*, but even so it still was impressive enough for me, since it revived the familiar dilemma (being good vs. being charismatic) before the banality of good and the cha...more
Joyce Lagow
Maugham's novel is loosely based on the life of Paul Gaughan. What Charles Strickland and the. Real-life artist share is that both were married with children, making a living as stockbrokers, both were driven to paint, and both wound up living, painting, and dying in Tahiti. Both gained recognition after death. And that's pretty much it. Gaughan, for example, didn't leave his wife--that very respectable Danish woman threw him out because of his unconventional morality.

But Maugham took those bare...more
Julie
Once again Maugham blurs the line between fiction and auto-adventure. He is narrator, young writer, observing the life of artistes and privileged literati in turn of the century Europe. This is the story of Strickland, a middle-aged, middle-class banker who abruptly walks away from his staid London life to become a painter in Paris. It is the thinly-veiled biography of Gauguin, complete with his escape from penury in France to the lush tropical forests of Tahiti. The painter is despicable, heart...more
Larry
There is not anyone more suited to write a novel based on the misanthropic Gauguin, than the brilliant Maugham. Why? Because, Maguham is a brilliant observer of detail, possessed of wit that lays bare the subject, with the precision of Oscar Wilde--verbally, and publicly humiliating an object of his derision, like a deft vivisectionist happily eviscerating his prize. Yet, Maugham is able to make such "cuts of the needed body of work"(decisions) with more tact than Wilde(Wilde's fate being a prim...more
Deedee
Well, Maugham does know how to write well. This book purports to be about a man driven to sacrifice all in pursuit of his Art (painting). However, looked at objectively, every obstacle in his way is a selfish, demanding woman; and he overcomes his obstacle by refusing to live up to his obligations to that woman (true whether the woman is his wife, his lover, or the unwed mother of his children). Other obstacles that an aspiring artist might have are not mentioned. Not a pleasant story.

I wondered...more
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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 alm...more
More about W. Somerset Maugham...
Of Human Bondage The Razor's Edge The Painted Veil Cakes and Ale Theatre

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