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Collected Short Stories Volume 1 (Collected Short Stories of W. Somerset Maugham #1)

4.33  ·  Rating Details ·  1,440 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
This classic collection of stories moves from England, France and Spain to the silver sands of the South Pacific. It includes the famous story 'Rain', the tragedy of a narrow-minded and overzealous missionary and a prostitute, and 'The Three Fat Women of Antibes,' an extravagantly sardonic tale of abstention and greed, as well as a host of other brilliant tales.
Paperback, 544 pages
Published December 7th 2000 by Vintage Classics (first published 1951)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Tea Jovanović
Niko ne ume da napiše tako dobru kratku priču kao Somerset Mom... Mnogi savremeni pisci su od njega "učili" da pišu... Toliko ljudi ga voli a tako je malo prevođen na srpski... nažalost...
Sandhya
Jan 20, 2010 Sandhya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are some writers who once you sample their works, you cannot resist until you have covered a fair share of it. With Somerset Maugham, the challenge is both thrilling as well daunting. Thrilling because here an author I am so happy I discovered and someone with whom I almost feel a kindred spirit - in terms of the themes he takes up and his so called cynicism - which is really not cynicism, but a certain astounding ability to discern human weaknesses. He's realistic about people, knowing we ...more
Muhammad Shakhawat Hossain
This is the first of a four volume short story collection by William Somerset Maugham. For about three weeks Maugham kept me enchanted with his 30 stories in this book. 30 canons I'd say. Most of these stories mean to scrutinize the human nature. Maugham was a doctor in personal life which certainly often led him to play the role of a dissector. Evidently, he incorporated this other being of him into his works when he became a writer. He dissected and looked into the patterns how humans deal wit ...more
umberto
Aug 29, 2015 umberto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-story
I recall tough reading from each story due to my limited vocabulary, intermediate grammar and dialogs in various contexts. However, I kept reading on and on and had humble pride in reading him with relative enjoyment and due appreciation; therefore, I've long owned my grateful thanks to Maugham's readable style, I think my English has thus been improved gradually from such seemingly intensive reading exploration.
Pequete
Sep 20, 2016 Pequete rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookcrossing
What a great storyteller Somerset Maugham is. Ranging from as little as 4 pages to a few dozens, each story is a delight to read: there is tension, often there is fun, many times tragedy and the prose is beautiful. What else can a reader ask for?
Wilson
Mar 07, 2013 Wilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The most memorable stories in this collection are those that deal with Western/British colonists in the Far East and Pacific Islands. The stories revolving around this subject are often wry and ironic, beautiful descriptions of the exoticism of the foreign climes and the mental isolation that such geography provokes in Maugham's character. The best of these stories exploit the broiling tensions, the understated violence and the sweat and grime of non-English landscape; they are stories of the ti ...more
Mariano Hortal
No haré reseña de este libro que me dejaron pero no quiero dejar pasar la oportunidad de recomendarlo.
William Somerset Maughan sorprendió en una época en la que el modernismo estaba irrumpiendo con nuevas narrativas y formas de entender y realizar literatura. Él se mantuvo constante en su forma de realizar, sobre todo, sus cuentos, en los cuales es un maestro, heredero de Chejov, creador de historias que suele ambientar en paisajes exóticos; recordemos de hecho "el velo pintado" o el archiconoci
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Joseph Grinton
May 22, 2010 Joseph Grinton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read these stories one after another without getting distracted by anything else. I was astonished by how good they were. I love the way he describes people. He always chooses exactly the right words. He is like a skilful portrait painter. You know these people are real and he has captured them perfectly. But he also has a mischievous sense of humour. He is at once wicked and compassionate. Absolutely exquisite.
Greg
A good, diverse collection of stories, some tragic, some light and amusing. Most are excellent, a few are too long and the story did not interest me, which is why I gave four stars, not five.

The stand out stories are -

The Fall of Edward Barnard
The Luncheon
The Ant and the Grasshopper
Appearance and Reality
The Facts of Life
The Voice of the Turtle
The Unconquered
The Poet


The stories I didn't find interesting -

The Pool
Before the Party
The Yellow Streak


Clint
Jul 02, 2009 Clint rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This writer has always been one of my favorites, somehow he has a really distinctive voice but at the same time writes in a way that makes the reader forget he's reading words and there is only the story left to enjoy. You can tell he's known a lot of people and probably heard all these stories in some form or another and then wrote them down. He personally chose the stories himself and put themin the order he wanted them in, which goes georgaphically from the South Pacific to England, Paris, Sp ...more
Nancy
Oct 10, 2010 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Like most collections of short stories, this one is uneven. How do you rank such a book? I mostly read a story or two when I had nothing else to read so it took me two months to finish. If I'd not be able to renew it at the library 3 times, I probably would have tagged it "did not finish" with 2 stars. However the stories in the last quarter of the book really picked up--definitely some 4 and 5 star material there.

Each story stands on its own so my suggestion is to start from the back and give u
...more
Lyman Maddox
Oct 29, 2010 Lyman Maddox rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Educated as a doctor, highly successful as a playwrite, Maugham dissects human behavior and transforms the parts into great short stories! I've read a critic who changed Maugham with being a cynic (the critic's words), but I find "Willy" to be one of the most hopeful writers I have ever read. When he finds something postive in a person, I believe it.
Toria
A must read!
elizabeth
Jan 15, 2017 elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This collection is a good mixture of stories written throughout Maugham's life, so you can get a feel for how his writing was during different periods of his life. The later stuff is markedly more cynical than the earlier, for instance.

The best, as always, deal with the colonists living abroad in the East. Rain is the first story in this collection, and the best short story he's ever written. There are some interesting ones about British expatriates in France written during the period of his wri
...more
Vinay Kumar
Great language and story narration. Found some of the story-lines silly possibly due to it being relevant for a different generation.
Krisz
May 06, 2014 Krisz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maugham is a great storyteller. I first read Moon and Sixpence from him and I had to stop reading and try and analyse why is it so bloody good - the story itself is not so fantastic, but the way he tells it is ingenious.
Since then I'm hooked and this book was a gift from my husband. As I read it I make memos of the stories for later and * my faves.
- Rain* - about a doctor and missionary who travel with their wives and have to stop on a rainy island because the captain gets ill. A surprising end
...more
Anshul Gaurav
May 12, 2012 Anshul Gaurav rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

There was a time, not so long ago, when choosing a book for that compulsory assignment wasn't a pretty difficult task. Lazy bums, like yours truly, had their work cut out. Go to the bookworm's room in the floor above,dig his shelf for the thinnest book available (simple English preferred). Try to read it else google.

One such search of size zero books led me to a rather popular set of books. This time there was some effort involved : making choices. The animal farm was quickly put back, students
...more
Ash
Mar 02, 2015 Ash rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There's no doubt Maugham can turn a phrase, but the judgemental tone and general outdated attitudes towards women and people of colour was enough to alienate me almost completely. It's a shame, because often there wasn't much particularly wrong narrative-wise with the stories, although they become rather indistinguishable after a time, and often the shorter stories read like an overly elaborate set-up for a bad joke. Still, there were a few individual stories that I enjoyed.

Mackintosh is the bes
...more
Rhnair
Apr 12, 2015 Rhnair rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first exposure to Somerset Maugham was more than three decades back, when we had one of his stories in out school text book. His description are so vivid , that I still remember that characters of the story, though I have never read it after that. Somehow, while he was one of my top rated authors, I could not chance to read many of his works. And so, to make up for all the lost time, I am determined to read all of the collections available on Kindle.

I would not even attempt to rate his work –
...more
Robin Manry
Apr 22, 2015 Robin Manry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Looking through the bookshelves for something to read, I came across a well-thumbed copy of the short stories of Somerset Maugham. Among my favorites,The Letter, Footprints in the Jungle and Flotsam and Jetsom. Though Maugham's works never reached the ranks of what is considered great literature, I always found his writing to be very elegant. Of Human Bondage,Philip's self-destructive obsession with Mildred. Powerful stuff. I have never been satisfied with the various actresses(all fine actresse ...more
Alistair
Sep 26, 2008 Alistair rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
what i learned from this book is that short stories invariably have a good ending which is not often the case in novels . i guess this is because the writer thinks of the ending first and then writes the story to fit the conclusion .
Anyway " The Master " entertained me in 90% of these stories particularly the ones in the colonial far east . it is often the easy going scoundrel who gets his sympathy over the stuffed shirts and supposedly civilised do gooders . he is quick to expose fakery and the
...more
Sururi
Dec 18, 2013 Sururi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rain: 2.0*
The Fall of Edward Barnard: 4.5*
Honolulu: 3.0*
The Luncheon: 2.0*
The Ant and the Grasshopper: 1.5*
Home: 2.5*
The Pool: 3.0*
Mackintosh: 2.0*
Appearance and Reality: 1.5*
The Three Fat Women of Antibes: 2.5*
The Facts of Life: 1.5*
Gigolo and Gigolette: 3.0*
The Happy Couple: 1.0*
The Voice of the Turtle: 1.0*
The Lion's Skin: 1.5*
The Unconquered: 1.0*
The Escape: 2.0*
The Judgement Seat: 2.0*
Mr. Know-All: 2.5*
The Happy Man: 2.5*
The Romantic Young Lady: 1.5*
The Point of Honour
...more
Noa
Apr 29, 2015 Noa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This makes me want to teach a class in Colonial Literature. As a full time traveller I see Maughamesque characters still roaming and ravaging the earth. They should all read him. It's so interesting to read about this particular period of globalization when things were still analogue and racism and misogyny were overt. I love the way his stories unfold, too. Sometimes slow to start, shifting in the middle, and then a little bit of O Henry at the end. You can tell he lived these stories. You can ...more
Anastasia Llanos
Love all fiction by Somerset Maugham, have read all his books a few years ago so it's about time I re-read them all - can't wait! I wish he had written much more, but then I would probably just spend my days reading his books and wouldn't have a life :) I don't even know which are my favourites, although The Razor's Edge and The Narrow Corner seemed to me especially great. Also, Of Human Bondage and Cakes and Ale (especially the second part) are wonderful. I think the only one that left me sligh ...more
Justin
May 28, 2007 Justin rated it really liked it
This work has been extremely engaging. Maughum is a master wordsmith and a story teller in the most sacred sense of the term. These stories are travel narratives from all over the world. Each story just as enticing as the last. Often when I start a story I have to begin the tale swimming up river to meet the author somewhere in the middle as far as believability or accepting a story line but with these stories the reader is greeted with a friendly introduction..... more to follow
Stobby
May 09, 2012 Stobby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
30 short stories, some of which are autobiographical, that chronicle adventures from Spain all the way to the Samoa Islands. The characters are intricate, the settings alluring, the writing is beautiful but the stories are dated for the 21st century. In other words, despite building effective suspense, with each story there is a dreaded inevitable predictability that makes the finale somewhat deflating. With Maugham it’s the journey, not the destination that counts.
Mary Ann
Aug 24, 2013 Mary Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Somerset Maugham is a great short story writer- his Ashenden spy stories and those set in the Far East are powerful, and delicious at the same time.. I also enjoy his autobiographical writing, for example, Summing Up is a great book to read at the cabin on a rainy day, while drinking tea.....Of human bondage was my first "adult" novel. No wonder I married late! Read it several more times- each time rewarding.
Catherine
Aug 13, 2013 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part Edith Wharton, part Henry James, part E.M. Forster. All of my life I have skipped WSM, thinking he was going to be stuffy and Victorian. But these stories, which span decades, continents, and points of view, feel fresh and modern, even as Maugham takes us through the decline of the British empire and the rise of a certain kind of post-colonial racism. I read all three volumes of the short stories in two weeks.
Brendan
Oct 07, 2009 Brendan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Man this guy's good. Some say he's too sardonic and his endings too bleak, but that makes his (admittedly few) tales of redemption and honesty all the more powerful. I still think he writes the way I'd like to (or how my own internal monologue runs, if that's not too disturbing a thought). Stephen King describes him as "that elderly globetrotting novelist-playwright with the reptile's face (always obscured by cigarette smoke in his photographs, it seems) and the romantic's heart." Yeah.
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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
More about W. Somerset Maugham...

Other Books in the Series

Collected Short Stories of W. Somerset Maugham (4 books)
  • Collected Short Stories: Volume 2 (Collected Short Stories of W. Somerset Maugham, #2)
  • Collected Short Stories: Volume 3 (Collected Short Stories of W. Somerset Maugham, #3)
  • Collected Short Stories: Volume 4 (Collected Short Stories of W. Somerset Maugham, #4)

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