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Up at the Villa

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  2,319 ratings  ·  223 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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1984 by George OrwellAnimal Farm by George OrwellThe Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankThe Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupéryThe Stranger by Albert Camus
Best Books of the Decade: 1940's
168th out of 402 books — 522 voters
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 — 18 voters

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Community Reviews

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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
W. Somerset Maugham presents characters who have divergent views on life. This complex psychological mix of personalities engages the reader from the first bend of the binding to the suspenseful ending.

How will the fast paced events of two days effect the way Mary Panton engages with the world? At thirty, Mary has loved and lost, known abuse and humiliation by the hands of her deceased alcoholic husband. She feels a numbness toward intimacy, and even though she is persued by men, she prefers th

"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
Benjamin Duffy
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
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. (
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!

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
Catia.borboleta Da Silva
Gostei muito de ler este pequeno livro. Li-o em 2 horas
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
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
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
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
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!
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
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
Portia S
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
Florença. Uma magnífica casa nas colinas serve de cenário para um sonho que, subitamente, se transformará em pesadelo... Nesse refúgio de tranquilidade, as violentas emoções do passado são momentaneamente eclipsadas e Mary Panton pode encarar calmamente as perspectivas do seu segundo casamento com Sir Edgar Swift - que ela admira e respeita, mas não ama. Um simples acto de compaixão, o desejo de proporcionar alguma beleza à vida atribulada e infeliz de um jovem refugiado, vai no entanto dar iníc ...more
Maria  (Scratchbook)
Vi è mai capitato di leggere un libro “rassicurante”? Di cercarlo proprio. E’ un aggettivo un pò stridente se accostato alla letteratura però mi rendo conto che è esattamente la sensazione che ho provato leggendo William Somerset Maugham.
In villa è un racconto confortante perché nulla di quello che accade turba la normale previsione della storia; c’è anche il coup de théâtre, ma ciò non intacca minimamente l’atmosfera pacata di questo breve libro.
Tutto torna, tutto è come deve essere.

Versione c
une histoire simple mais qui procure une petite de suspense pour l'héroïne. un bon moment
Marius Solcan
You understand the true value of this book, only when you realize you had lived the same feelings as the character Karl from the book. I had read the book some years ago and even managed to forget the title and the author. Much later, when i was feeling horrible, i remembered about the book and wanted so much to find it and re-read it. I wasn't able to find it without knowing the author, the title or at least the cover. I found it today while cleaning. By mistake. I think this book has chances o ...more
Lynne Spreen
Very much enjoyed this short book, which I read in one night. The settings are lush, dialogue snappy, and the characters realistic and strong. The plot and writing are compelling. I enjoyed it because a theme might be, "people are not what they appear to be." A character acts one way and you think, okay, he's good and upstanding. And maybe he IS, but the "why" of it is enlightening. Maugham is a respected author for a reason. What talent! A very good story.
Sep 19, 2013 Mara rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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".

I picked up this slim book mainly because I visited Florence last year, and adored it. 'Up at the Villa' does have the most beautiful descriptions of a deserted villa in Florence at night time. Place, and a sense of the period are wonderfully evoked. The plot is not really workable: a woman living in Florence among a British community is very aware of her own beauty after receiving many marriage proposals, and decides to give some 'happiness' to a romantically poverty-stricken violinist. The eve ...more
This is a wonderful little story. It is (and I don't believe I have ever applied this word to a book before) delicious. Reading it is like taking a bite from the most perfect chocolate truffle. When it ends you think you want more but then you realize that its brevity is what makes it such a delightful read.
Derek Emerson
While a big fan of Maugham, this short novel presents a rather melodramatic and difficult to buy plot. Add in some rather unappealing characters and there is not much to recommend. I'm sure I could write about a lot of themes, but if this was written by some unknown writer I would give it little thought.
Michael Alan Grapin
A beautiful young widow is loved by a man of consequence who is twenty-four years her senior. She asks for time to think over his proposal of marriage because while she loves him she isn't in love with him. In just a few days she finds herself beset by a bedraggled younger man who has escaped from a Nazi concentration camp, what she thinks a kindness he takes as an affront and winds up killing himself in front of her eyes with her gun. Panic stricken she is forced to seek the aid of a roguish ne ...more
This is the story of a young English widow trying to decide if she should except a marriage proposal of companionship and security or if life holds something more for her. A chance encounter on a moonlit, Italian night abruptly changes the course of her future. I love the writing of Maugham. It is pared down but beautifully expressed. One of my favorite passages in the book: "Perhaps it was something in that light Tuscan air that affected you so that even physical sensation had in it something s ...more
Dana Jennings
This is a delicious morsel, able to be consumed in one long afternoon of reading. What incredible insight into human nature. Even if the ending is expected by some, its unfurling is nonetheless worth savoring.
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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 about W. Somerset Maugham...
Of Human Bondage The Razor's Edge The Painted Veil The Moon and Sixpence Theatre

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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.” 7 likes
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