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The Hero

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  120 ratings  ·  18 reviews
THE HERO (1901) by W. Somerset Maugham is a complex psychological exploration of the stifling of deepest personal urges and the resulting disillusionment.

James Parsons returns home after military service in South Africa and finds his worldview changed. His family's affections are oppressive, his betrothed, Mary, now seems repulsive, and life has become a hollow burden.

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Paperback, 248 pages
Published November 5th 2008 by Norilana Books (first published 1901)
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Grace Harwood
There's something about the prose of Somerset Maugham - it's so simple, no excess verbosity whatsoever, and yet it is so beautifully crafted that it's always a delight to read. I loved this book - the content of the tale is utterly tragic: that of the soldier returned injured from war to find everything has changed and yet everything is the same; and yet there is so much humour in the narration of the story.

The characters are brilliant. Nearly all of them with the exception of Jamie ("the hero"
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Max Tomlinson

Whoever said ‘the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation’[1] could have been referring to much of W. Somerset Maugham’s work. No author of his era drilled down so relentlessly into the anguish people suffer trying to lead acceptable lives while still hoping to find a scrap of love amidst society’s buttoned-down restrictions. Maugham’s primary setting was the England of the turn of the nineteenth century, a formidable crucible for his vulnerable protagonists who dream beyond their station, a
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Jamie
Solidly good, solidly great when it comes down to some of Jamie’s ideas (on wars, on reason). An early sign of Maugham’s strengths, “The last thing I expect is consistency in an animal of such contrary instincts as man.” Not without great cheekiness, either. Plus: the hero’s name is Jamie. Will never not enjoy that.
“When you do anything, are you ever tormented by a doubt whether you are doing right or wrong?”

“Never,” she answered, firmly. “There is always a right way and a wrong way, and, I’m th
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John
Interesting story about a British soldier named Jamie Parson who returns home from the Boer War after five years at the turn of the 20th century and the struggles of him adjusting to late Victorian era country life. As always, Maugham does a great job with the characters, despite the book being kind of short each one was pretty fleshed out. I gave this four stars just because I wish it were a lot longer and I wasn't satisfied with the ending. But I can easily see why someone would give this five ...more
Mike
One can recognise several developing characters that come to fruition later in 'Of Human Bondage'. There are some nice touches where the countryside description reflects a character's emotion or reflections. As always with Maugham one must step back in time to understand some of the actions and reactions to events and social situations.
Susan Zinner
Really loved this book about a soldier returning from a war which helped clarify his values; however, the ending was really disappointing (don't want to include a spoiler). I thought the whole point was that he was learning to define his values, challenge the conventional, narrow-minded views of his parents, community and fiancé and the ended struck me as a cop-out. That said, I continue to be a huge fan of Maugham and this one was really great.
Akash Malik
Story of a war hero returning home only to find his beliefs formed from direct experiences in direct conflict with the beliefs held by his folks and his society. Bewildered at being crowned a hero for committing murder of fellow human beings and with no one to confide his feelings with Jamie turns to despair.
Rosy
How does a man who fought in a war for five years return to his former small hometown life? Jamie Parsons left Little Primpton a boy engaged to Mary Clibborn and returns five years later, wounded and with an altered view of the world. Little happens by way of plot, and the majority of the novel describes Jamie's internal struggle between his duty to marry his betrothed and his passion for another woman.

Although I found this novel less interesting than other works of Maugham, I still found it enj
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Nick
Felt like I was watching a forties movie about a quintessential sleepy village in England. The hero comes back from war. Story of a forbidden love, a love he doesn't want and his turmoil in deciding what to do about it.
Ghaggard
Always love Maugham. Early work. Not his best, but still very good. Well drawn characters and social situations.
"And custom lie upon thee with a weight,
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!"
Wendy
Great book to brush up on your vocabulary if you can overlook the overuse of words like "prig," "cad" and "blackguard" lol.
Hriday
Excellent read. The plot is quite simple but the narrative, like all of Maugham's, is extremely impressive. Despite the geographic and time period barriers, there are many places where the reader identifies with the protagonist's dilemma, view points and arguments. Thereby, this book is eternal and immortal and will continue to be relevant so long as people fall in and out of love, believe and disbelieve in religion and obey or disobey authority.

A less-known but very impressive work of Somerset
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Russell Traughber
I'm enjoying the time spent on my quest to read all of Somerset Maugham's works. The Hero was written around 1901, an early novel. Well worth the read. To think that he was in his twenties. Bravo, William.
ingrid
Written in 1906, hard to find, fairly short novel. Another classic Maugham. Central character is quickly set up in a difficult life predicament and the plot twists and turns while you wonder how or if the character, here an inadvertent war hero (from the Boer War), will get out of it
Helena
A very well written book, but slightly too depressing. I like Somerset Maughams books, but this was not one of my favorites.
Nick Doty
An early work of Maugham's, and obviously so. It lacks the subtlety of his better, later work.
Diane
one of my favorite authors, always interesting characters in his books.
Drew
Mar 26, 2010 Drew added it
MOON & SIXPENCE by W SOMERSET MAUGHAM (1919)
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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
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More about W. Somerset Maugham...
Of Human Bondage The Razor's Edge The Painted Veil The Moon and Sixpence Theatre

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“No pain in love is so hard to bear as that which comes from the impossibility of doing any service from the well-beloved, and no service is so repulsive that love cannot make it delightful and easy.” 3 likes
“And they had a fairly pleasant time in Pretoria. Eventually, I believe, wars will be quite bloodless; rival armies will perambulate, and whenever one side has got into a good position, the other will surrender wholesale.” 0 likes
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