Laurel Hicks's Reviews > Of Human Bondage

Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
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's review
Sep 29, 09

bookshelves: books-read-in-2009, audible
Read in June, 2009

Just as I was beginning to wish this novel was a short story, it took an unexpected turn and I was glad that I had 300 more pages or so to go (it's a 700-page book). It was fortuitous that I read it just after finishing _Nicholas Nickleby_. Like Nicholas, Maugham's hero, Phillip Carey, keeps reinventing himself and varying his stage and adventures. Phillip Carey, though, has no dependents for whom to toil. He is on a quest for freedom while all the time being bound by his own passions. Not until he submits to the yoke of common morality does he become free. To me, this book is a rewrite of the searchings in the book of Ecclesiastes. "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." Fortunately, the ending is left for the reader to write, and I think it comes out very well indeed.
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Cynthia Dear Laurel,

It's odd how we like so many of the same authors. Ok maybe you don't love Maugham as I do but he seems to resonate for you. I'm not as familiar with Ecclesiates as you are, not even close no doubt, but I did love 'human bondage'. You've inspired me to re-read it and re-read Eccleaiastes again. Dang it I even had to check your biblical spelling to get that right.

But come on....Maugham is good. Have you read his other works? Sheesh what am I seem to have read anything valuble.


Laurel Hicks Hi Cynthia.

I've just begun reading Maugham and have been thinking of going on a Maugham of the Month jaunt. I was bowled over by _The Painted Veil_ and enjoyed _The Moon and Sixpence_. What should I read next?

P.S. I forgot to mention that there's some Song of Solomon in the Bondage mix, too. Do you think Phillip gives up his atheism shortly after the book ends? Or, not realizing it, before it ends?

Cynthia One book I really love is 'Theatre' about an aging actress. And there's an Annette Bening movie that's based on it. I think the movie is called 'Being Julia'. Some of the VERY best Maugham are his short stories though. And there are four volumes!!

Laurel Hicks I've read a few of his stories. Amazing! One that especially impressed me was called, I think, "The Lotus Eater."

Cynthia I don't think I've read that one. There was a movie made of his 'the letter'.....betty davis.

Teresa I went through a Maugham period years ago, but y'all are making me wish I was going through it now! Bette Davis was also in "Of Human Bondage." Great movie, loved the book.

Cynthia You're right Teresa. I'd forgotten that. It seems like there was another Maugham short story filmed where the main character was a naughty woman who gets stranded on a boat trip in the middle of no where with a doctor and his wife. I've loved the recent films of Maugham novels, 'Up at the Villa', 'Painted Veil', 'Being Julia'. BTW have you guys met before? Laurel's on the Trollope list with me and Teresa's been or is on Booker, 21st century, 19th century and I think you were the owner of Pulitzer at one point right T? Anyway Laurel meet Teresa, Teresa meet Laurel.

Laurel Hicks Hi, Teresa. I think you and I friended each other because I liked your conversations with Cynthia.

Teresa Laurele and I met here. During the Dickens conversation y'all were having is when I first added my 2 cents, I believe. I used to be an owner on Booker, 19th century and Pulitzer -- no longer owner of any, but I'm still a member of Booker and 19th c.

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