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Up at the Villa

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,788 Ratings  ·  263 Reviews
In Up at the Villa, W. Somerset Maugham portrays a wealthy young English woman who finds herself confronted rather brutally by the repercussions of whimsy.
On the day her older and prosperous friend asks her to marry him, Mary Leonard demurs and decides to postpone her reply a few days. But driving into the hills above Florence alone that evening, Mary offers a ride to a ha
Paperback, 128 pages
Published January 25th 2005 by Vintage Classics (first published 1941)
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Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset MaughamThe Painted Veil by W. Somerset MaughamThe Razor's Edge by W. Somerset MaughamThe Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset MaughamAshenden by W. Somerset Maugham
The best of W. Somerset Maugham
9th out of 20 books — 21 voters
1984 by George OrwellAnimal Farm by George OrwellThe Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankThe Man Without Qualities by Robert MusilThe Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Best Books of the Decade: 1940's
205th out of 472 books — 820 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan 05, 2014 Warwick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, italy
I remember being in a café with a friend once when a guy walked in who obviously had some kind of mild disability to do with his legs – he hobbled over to a table and sat down heavily, and then looked around him at the greasy spoon with an air of deep depression. Amy stared at him and sighed and said, ‘I wish I was really really pretty so I could be a little moment of happiness in his day.’ I remember being surprised, because it sounded, somehow, like something a female character would say in a ...more
Aug 27, 2015 J. rated it really liked it
Toward the end of this very short novel, a novella really, just as the posturing and dithering are giving way to the puzzle being solved, I turned a page of the book and a card dropped out. A Lottery ticket, something I'd never buy for myself. As this was a library copy, I thought it was probably safe to assume it was some long-expired specimen used at some point for a bookmark. And if so, used by somebody who had gotten nearly all the way through the novel-- and stopped.

Maugham's Up At The Vil
Jul 16, 2015 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gran-bretagna

"Tesoro, è per questo che è fatta la vita ...per correre rischi".

Maugham è una conferma. La conferma di essere uno scrittore tra quelli che prediligo.
Questo breve romanzo mi stava deludendo fino alle pagine finali, già pensavo che stavolta Maugham avesse “toppato” con me, quando invece, all’improvviso, arrivata alla fine, mi sono ricreduta.
C’è un topos letterario tanto caro agli anglosassoni, l’ambientazione in una aristocratica villa con uno stupendo giardino che guarda sulla cupola del Duomo d
Feb 25, 2010 JSou rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I was really excited to get this book, since after reading Of Human Bondage I've been on a quest to find all of Maugham's works. This is really more of a short story or novella, but at the same time quite powerful.

The story opens with the widowed, but still desired and beautiful Mary Leonard pondering a marriage proposal from an old family friend and waiting for his return. During the few days he's gone, Mary has a chance encounter with a young and handsome stranger, and cougar-action ensues. (
Benjamin Duffy
Nov 22, 2009 Benjamin Duffy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
W. Somerset Maugham was a master of the novel as well as the short story, and here he manages to cover the elusive middle ground. This is a very short novel, weighing in at a scant 209 Harry Potter-formatted* pages, and it reads like one. Not that that's a bad thing! Where other Maugham classics like Of Human Bondage develop slowly, refusing to be rushed, this book moves at a ripping pace.

Most of Maugham's formidable strengths are here, fully realized: an ear for authentic, snappy, gently funny
Jul 20, 2015 Gearóid rated it it was amazing
Very nice to read.
Intriguing little story!
From Imdb:
Over a handful of days in 1938, a penniless English widow, on vacation near Florence, considers the marriage proposal of an aging British aristocrat who is the newly-appointed governor of Bengal, accepts a pistol that he presses on her for safety, takes pity on an Austrian refugee, stands up to a Fascist police chief, and gets in harm's way with an American playboy. After a good deed results in tragedy, she must choose between dependability and love, between her reputation and her feel
Feb 20, 2015 Shriya rated it really liked it
The one thing I love about Somerset Maugham is how wonderfully and subtly he raises ideas of sexual liberty, perception and human folly. This little novella brings us an exquisite taste of sexual objectification. As an interested and a rather amateur scholar of gender studies, I have been constantly reading and writing about the sexual objectification of women in popular culture and media but this novella reminded me of one key point I had been missing all along: how women objectify themselves!

Sep 08, 2007 Catherine rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is the only Maugham I've read which I nearly disliked. The story is psychological suspense: woman picks up stranger out of the kindness of her heart, tragedy ensues, woman and man try to avert disaster. I disliked the portrayal of the main characters: Mary is both unnaturally perfect and unnaturally stupid, while her male counterpart is supposedly sexy and yet merely overbearing. The relationship set up at the end of the book just looks abusive to me, and I don't care for Maugham's attitude ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Up at the Villa, W. Somerset Maugham
عنوان: خانه ییلاقی؛ نویسنده: ویلیام سامرست موآم؛ کترجم: جواد امامی؛ تهران، انتشارات آبشار، 1336، در 96 ص،؛
شرح حال زنی از طبقه ی اعیان و اشراف و ...؛
Sep 12, 2015 Lynda rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
As always well observed, atmospheric sense of place. This novella is set in Tuscany in a villa overlooking the beauty and grandeur of Florence. Here the princess blighted by first love awaits the arrival of her suitor Edgar Swift, an older wiser family friend who is about to become the Governor of Bengal. Whilst Mary procrastinates on his proposal two other suitors attempt to win her hand, the notorius womaniser Rowley and the penniless art student Karl. Tragedy ensues as Mary is faced with a ru ...more
Catia.borboleta Da Silva
Gostei muito de ler este pequeno livro. Li-o em 2 horas
Oct 30, 2014 Vanita rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Somerset Maugham ao jeito de Harlequim. Uma tolice pegada. Mas, como já li por aqui, imagino que também ele tivesse contas para pagar.

Se não estivesse assinado por aquele que se tornou num dos meus autores favoritos de há dois anos para cá, não conseguia acreditar que este romance fosse dele. Sim, é verdade, encontramos Somerset Maugham nas pequenas descrições da vila e do palácio onde decorre a cena. Mas é um vislumbre tão ténue que quase passa despercebido. "Paixão em Florença" é um livro de b
Steve Dewey
Dec 27, 2014 Steve Dewey rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels, fiction, maugham
I think I'm turning into something of a Somerset Maugham fan. I've yet to read anything truly bad by him. I bought The Painted Veil some years back on a whim from a charity shop, and it took me a couple of years to get around to reading it. When I did, I enjoyed it, and liked his style. Since then I've read various of his books.

This is more of a novella, or a very long short story. As the books of his I've read so often seem to do, Up at the Villa involves members of the smart set of his time, t
Joy H.
Added 2/19/14.
RE: Up at the Villa (1941) by W. Somerset Maugham
I read this novella years ago and still remember it as a good story. Maugham is one of my favorite authors.

A few days ago I streamed the film adaptation:
"Up at the Villa" (2000)
CAST: Kristin Scott Thomas, Sean Penn, Anne Bancroft, James Fox

This is a wonderful suspense story. This particular film version is very lush in scenery and dress. Beautiful Kristi
Dec 30, 2012 Iceman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mary Panton é uma jovem viuva que se encontra em Florença numa bela casa emprestada por uns amigos de modo a restabelecer-se da morte do marido e pensar no que havia de fazer com a sua vida.

À semelhança de tantas outras ocasiões, aceita o convite para jantar de uns amigos e é assim que se vê num restaurante rodeada de um grupo de pessoas, algumas delas algo curiosas.

Nesse período dá-se um acontecimento que se prolongará não apenas no regresso a casa de Mary, como durante toda a noite, acontecime
Oct 08, 2015 Mary rated it really liked it
A short novella and the first of his I've read.
Mary is staying in a villa in Florence after the death of her Husband.
She meets the notorious Rowley Flint who is a womaniser.
An event changes everything and there is a twist at the end.
Will be looking out for more of his books!
May 21, 2016 Wanda marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wanda by: Bettie and Laura
21 MAY 2016 - recommendation through Bettie and Laura. Many thanks, Ladies.

You may read it here -

May 21, 2016 Bettie☯ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Wandaful
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Laura

read here

Opening: The villa stood on the top of a hill. From the terrace in front of it you had a magnificent view of Florence; behind was an old garden, with few flowers, but with fine trees, hedges of cut box, grass walks and an artificial grotto in which water cascaded with a cool, silvery sound from a cornucopia. The house had been built in the sixteenth century by a noble Florentine, whose impoverished descendants had sold it to some English people, and it was they who had lent it for a per
Jan 16, 2016 Bunny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
L'ho letto tutto d'un fiato e mi è piaciuto moltissimo. L'ho trovato scritto bene, arguto e intelligente, una bella sorpresa! Durante la lettura mi sembrava di guardare un cortometraggio o un film in una vecchia sala cinematografica, alcune scene poi mi hanno ricordato quelle pellicole in bianco e nero dei film muti in cui un'automobile d'epoca scorrazza in una strada polverosa tra boschi e radure. Bello perché un po' assurdo ma con un ritmo irresistibile. Impossibile chiuderlo prima di essere a ...more
Sep 19, 2013 Mara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mara by: Anna

If I needed to sum up this book in a phrase (I'm not sure what such an occasion might be) I would be torn between going with "It seemed like a good idea at the time" and (if I were in a meme-mood) a solid "Well that escalated quickly".

Pequeno em número de páginas, mas tremendamente intenso, este é o terceiro livro que leio de Somerset Maugham - depois de A Lua e Cinco Tostões e Servidão Humana. Só não lhe dei 5* porque, depois da genialidade de Servidão Humana, soube-me a pouco, mas cimentou em mim a vontade de procurar ler todas as suas obras. Genial!
May 18, 2011 Eve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011
Maugham proves yet again why he's the king of drama! Love it!
John McCaffrey
Oct 02, 2015 John McCaffrey rated it it was amazing
I'm sure Somerset Maugham could have written a laundry list and I would give it five stars. But this novella is wonderful - subtle, sweet, sad and wise, all in less than a 150 pages. Maugham's prose is pristine, the dialogue and narrative balancing each other like gin and vermouth. The story about a widowed woman and her decision to choose love or security for her next marriage is really just a mantel to shelve an exploration of pity, forgiveness, charity and chasity. Highly recommend if you wan ...more
A short read, and the first I have read my W Somerset Maugham.
A 30 something widow, living in a borrowed villa in Florence is proposed to by an old friend - who is also an elder friend, very well to do, very loyal, very proper. She defers her answer, for the three days he must be away to secure his new position - as Governor of Bengal.
In the three days, much changes...

Mary is a beauty, Edgar is a hero, Rowley is a scoundrel.

Any more is going to require a spoiler, and being only 95 pages, there i
Up at the Villa is a story written in simple language, with characters that come alive with dialogue and sentiments that reflect the best and the worst of human nature in a melting pot of circumstances. But what lingers underneath the surface of Maugham’s stories is interesting subtext – in this case – about Empire, the ennui of the elite and class difference.

This is a novella, making it a quick and easy-read and takes place over 48 hours or thereabouts. The characters are one-dimensional: Edga
Apr 23, 2013 Nigeyb rated it liked it
A pleasing - if slight - tale. This is the fourth book I have read by W. Somerset Maugham, and follows Of Human Bondage, Ashenden and Christmas Holiday which were all excellent. I am now intent on reading all his works.

This is a long short story, or a short novel, and I read it in less than a day, and really enjoyed it.

The other books I have read by W. Somerset Maugham were, to one degree or another, autobiographical. I doubt this contains any biography - although the location (Florence and th
I can't lie. It's a fun, Downton Abbey sort of story, all intrigues crossing this way and that in the milieu of expatriate Florentine society. But I suppose I was a bit underwhelmed because Maugham has, previously, taken me to such heights. Of Human Bondage and The Razor's Edge, these are absolute stunners, and The Painted Veil is pretty damn good too. Up at the Villa was merely light entertainment-- good light entertainment, though. Pack this one for your next afternoon at the beach.
Portia S
Feb 07, 2012 Portia S rated it really liked it
Shelves: w-s-maugham
Very short and very interesting piece coming from my favourite, Somerset Maugham. We meet Mary, a widow on holiday in Florence in a beautiful villa filled with period-piece furniture, frescoes on the wall and a gorgeous palace-like garden. She is young, beautiful and expels the sweetish disposition to all whom she meets. One recognizes that she has lived mostly the life of a saint, as she had to take care of her miserable husband who was a drunk and a gambler, she stayed with him till the end, l ...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 almost l
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“If there's anything I dislike it's the violin", she answered. "Why one should want to hear anyone scrape the hairs of a horse's tail against the guts of a dead cat is something I shall never understand.” 8 likes
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