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The Moon and Sixpence

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  18,644 ratings  ·  1,237 reviews
Based on the life of Paul Gauguin, The Moon and Sixpence is W. Somerset Maugham's ode to the powerful forces behind creative genius. Charles Strickland is a staid banker, a man of wealth and privilege. He is also a man possessed of an unquenchable desire to create art. As Strickland pursues his artistic vision, he leaves London for Paris and Tahiti, and in his quest makes ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Aegypan (first published 1919)
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Ginger "If you look on the ground in search of a sixpence, you don't look up, and so miss the moon." - Maugham…more"If you look on the ground in search of a sixpence, you don't look up, and so miss the moon." - Maugham(less)

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Rajat Ubhaykar
Mar 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Fair warning, this is going to be a long review for this is a book that is close to my heart written by an author whom I deeply admire.

The Right Time

There are some books that walk into your life at an opportune time. I'm talking about the books that send a pleasant shiver down your spine laden with “Man, this is meant to be!” as you flip through its pages cursorily. Or those that upon completion, demand an exclamation from every book-reading fibre of your body to the effect of “There couldn't ha
Steven Godin
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
W. Somerset Maugham's Charles Strickland might not be heading onto my list of the most likeable characters in literature, but one thing is for sure, he is certainly one of the most memorable. Strickland, a bourgeois city gent living in London has a dull, soulless exterior that conceals the fact he just may be a genius. He devotes himself to himself, and hides within him a passion for painting that no one else seems to knows about. He doesn't give a stuff about anybody, including his family, and ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Dec 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, 20th-century, pdfs
The Moon and Sixpence, W. Somerset Maugham

The Moon and Sixpence is a novel by W. Somerset Maugham first published in 1919. It is told in episodic form by a first-person narrator, in a series of glimpses into the mind and soul of the central character Charles Strickland, a middle-aged English stockbroker, who abandons his wife and children abruptly to pursue his desire to become an artist. The story is in part based on the life of the painter Paul Gauguin.

عنوانها: ماه و شش پشیز (پنی)؛ ماه و شش پن
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I may not be able to tell a post-impressionist painter from a post hole digger, but if I see a painting by Paul Gauguin I can usually identify it correctly.

W. Somerset Maugham’s 1919 novel about fictional artist Charles Strickland is loosely based on the life of the French painter, but let’s be honest, even though this is a novel and something of a caricature, it is the slings and arrows of Gauguin’s outrageous life that make this so damn entertaining.

That and Maugham’s gifted writing and his de
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, classics
"Art is a manifestation of emotion, and emotion speaks a language that all may understand."- W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence

I'd only ever read one Maugham before this ("Of Human Bondage") but even with just that one read I could tell Maugham was a very special writer and destined to be one of my favourites. I picked up this thin book thinking it would be a quick, simple read, but I wasn't prepared for the depth and profundity in it. There is a lot going on in this little book, lots to
“Beauty is something wonderful and strange that the artist fashions out of the chaos of the world in the torment of his soul. And when he has made it, it is not given to all to know it. To recognize it you must repeat the adventure of the artist. It is a melody that he sings to you, and to hear it again in your own heart you want knowledge and sensitiveness and imagination.”

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

In addition to plenty of witty bon mots, Maugham dropped several lengthy quotes on t
Henry Avila
Apr 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How much do we forgive a great, talented artist who is also a despicable human being? Will his admirers look the other way, thinking since he is no longer around and no more harm can be done by him, it is all right now to forgive and forget, besides he didn't do anything to their family but to other people...Shakespeare said, "The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones"... Englishman Charles Strickland a thinly disguised Paul Gauguin, is one of those men, se ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Moon and Sixpence, W. Somerset Maugham
The Moon and Sixpence is a novel by W. Somerset Maugham first published in 1919. It is told in episodic form by a first-person narrator, in a series of glimpses into the mind and soul of the central character Charles Strickland, a middle-aged English stockbroker, who abandons his wife and children abruptly to pursue his desire to become an artist. The story is in part based on the life of the painter Paul Gauguin.
عنوانها: ماه و شش پشیز (پنی)؛ ماه و شش پ
Jul 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2012
We want the world. We want it all. We want the moon. And still it's not enough.

It's my long term goal to read everything Maguham wrote, a goal that I doubt will be very difficult to reach. He writes with such poignant observation and wit and in The Moon and Sixpence he captures the all encompassing, obsessive and brutal nature that perhaps it takes to be an artist.

Told by an unnamed narrator, we are introduced to Charles Strickland, a beastly yet seemingly ordinary man who one day leaves his wif
Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ Campbell

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I'm working my way through an omnibus edition of Maugham's work, and man, he can write. I'm torn between the impulse to swim leisurely through his prose or just gleefully cannonball into it. Unlike some writers of this time, Maugham is not particularly flowery, but he has an interesting way of presenting ideas and constructing sentences that makes you want to read over them several times, just to appreciate their ideas and form.

Mar 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
It must be said up front that I am a huge fan of Maugham. I like his writing style, which always makes me feel as if I am sitting with a friend and he is telling me about someone he actually knows. With this conversational tone, Maugham leads you into the depths of the human soul and sometimes leaves you to find your own way out.

Based very loosely on the life of Paul Gauguin, this novel is a study in how much a true artist will do for the sake of his art: not only how much he will endure, but h
Sarah Booth
Jul 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes classic Dramas
I read this right after I read the Painted Veil. I guess I am on a Somerset Maugham kick. His characters are richly developed and yet hard to know. I imagine that he may find them and humanity that way, though he does his best in bringing you along on his journey of discovery. I am never quite sure what he thinks about women. Sometimes, such as in the Painted Veil, he finds them redeemable and then in other instances trifling and slow-witted.
The Moon and Sixpence was the story based upon the pa
This was a perfect follow-up to Fabrizio Dori’s Gauguin, a graphic novel I reviewed earlier in the month. Maugham’s short novel functioned like a prequel for me because, whereas Dori focuses on the artist Paul Gauguin’s later life in the South Pacific, Maugham concentrates on his similar character Charles Strickland’s attempt to make a living as a painter in Paris.

The Moon and Sixpence – the unusual title comes from the TLS reviewer’s description of the protagonist in Of Human Bondage as so abso
Nov 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nostalgia, 2010, classics
This novel is by far my favorite account of an artist's life in fiction.

The story of Charles Strickland is based on Paul Gauguin's life. To what extent, I don't know. What I do know is that there is something infinitely irresistible about how artistry is portrayed in this novel. I love the idea that a real artist creates art because he cannot not to. That all other aspects of his life - family, money, acclaim, food even - are secondary to his desire to create. Strickland is remarkable in his dri
Oct 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stela-eða-láni
Beguiling Roman à clef of French painter Paul Gauguin: An Artist's Obsessive Quest for Beauty

This rather short novel is Maugham's intriguing, thought-provoking study of the life of the painter Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), and partly his mockery of society's ready willingness to turn sinners into saints, as well as a sobering look at an artist's lifelong pursuit of beauty, at whatever the cost to himself or to loved ones.

Gaugin was a despicable misogynist and a dreadfully negative person who left h
Jan 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-classics
Someone would have had to physically pry this book out of my clutches last night to get me to eat dinner. Finished it in five hours flat without intending anything of the sort. I couldn’t put it down. I know I say this a lot but Maugham, goddamn.

“But who can fathom the subtleties of the human heart? Certainly not those who expect from it only decorous sentiments and normal emotions.”

And this:
I remember saying to him: “Look here, if everyone acted like you, the world couldn’t go on.”

“That’s a da
Sep 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
my affection for this book may, in part, stem from the fact that it was one of those novels that i read at a period in my life when my tastes in both literature and life outlook were taking shape (that is, while playing hooky from high school) but its appeal has endured far more than the other usual suspects in that category (kerouac's meanderings, pirsig's pretentions, etc.)

apart from its romantic appeal to the Quiet and Solitary Youth demographic (of which i was a card-carrying member) i thin
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book marked a sudden seismic shock in my fractured life.

Reeling from burnout - but finally having swept up the badly burned scrambled eggs that were my brains from off the floor - I hastened with Dante Alighieri into Hades Proper.

It was one of my first Amazon orders after reaching the summit of full retirement.

Having paid off the mortgage and outstanding debts at retirement, I suddenly realized that we once again - for the first time in twenty years - had a decent disposable income.

But it
The Moon and Sixpence (1919) was my first foray into Somerset Maugham, and I don’t think I’ll be hurrying back. The subject is interesting: a seemingly stolid stockbroker who breaks away from his comfortable life in his forties to become an artist, living on the breadline in Paris (and occasionally rather beneath it), before ending his days in Tahiti. I wasn’t put off either by the fact that the protagonist, Charles Strickland, is an unpleasant character, devoid of all human empathy. That can be ...more
The Moon and Sixpence is a book that came to be on my TBR list because of Stephen King. He mentions it in Bag of Bones and it peaked my curiosity. As a group of us was scheduled to read BoB in July (some of us are still reading it now), we decided to read that one first. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I’m not sure why I thought I wouldn’t, but it was just a feeling I had going into it.

Our story centers around Charles Strickland. Strickland is a very wealthy man, or was until he decide
Aug 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle

Maugham's fictional biography of an artist whose life is based on that of Paul Gaughin, explores the nature of obsession and the creative urge. The central character, Charles Strickland, is a thoroughly unlikeable man: selfish, lacking in empathy and able to abandon his wife and children without a second thought. And yet, as unsympathetic as Maugham makes Strickland, his compulsive pursuit of beauty is understandable.

This is short, powerful and accessible, written in Maugham's beautifully clear
I admire Maugham’s writing - & I loved The Razor’s Edge. But I didn’t enjoy this book. The extreme misogyny of most of the characters really bothered me - & don’t tell me it’s an accurate depiction of social mores of the time – else I shall have to throw some other books from 1919 at you!

In this book, Charles Strickland leaves his wife & children after 17 years of a conventional life & passionately pursues his art through starvation & being an utter prick in Paris; then goes to Tahiti where his
Mar 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: artists
Shelves: favourites
It would be a mistake to read this novel as an inspiring tale of the triumph of the spirit. Strickland is an appalling human being--but the world itself, Maugham seems to say, is a cruel, forbidding place. The author toys with theidea that men like Charles Strickland may somehow be closer to the mad pulse of life, and cannot therefore be dismissed as mere egotists. The moralists among us, the book suggests, are simply shrinking violets if not outright hypocrites. It is not a very cheery concepti ...more
The Moon and Sixpence, I was surprised to find, enjoys greater popularity in China now than it does in the Anglophone world. Only look at how many reviews there are on Douban for a sample. I've heard of a manager who, when asked about the book, said, "If you catch an employee reading that, they're going to quit."

How so? It's loosely based on the life of Paul Gauguin. This novel's Gauguin, a Charles Strickland, was a stockbroker who quits his ordinary life to go to France and then Tahiti to do ar
John Farebrother
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is awesome. It's about a middle-aged English stockbroker who gives up his family, job and everything and moves to Paris to live his dream of being a poverty-stricken painter. Still not satisfied, after he has learned the basics he works his way by sea to Tahiti and goes native, living only to paint, and ultimately dying in the midst of his ultimate creation and his new family. Selfish? Yes. Irresponsible? Yes. But you only live once. If you have a dream don't let conventions and routin ...more
Aravindakshan Narasimhan
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it

Origin of the word Vocation: Late Middle English: from Old French, or from Latin Vocatio(n-), from Vocare to "To Call".

From BBC radio:
He loved the countryside so much he wrote an entire symphony dedicated to it. This first movement to Beethoven’s Sixth ‘Pastoral’ Symphony is titled: Pleasant, cheerful feelings which awaken in one on arrival in the countryside. The composer loved to go for long walks among the hills and woods surrounding Vienna and often holidayed in coun
The Moon and Sixpence is a novel that examines the life of a fictional artist Charles Strickland whose character is based on Paul Gauguin.

The story of Strickland's life is told through the first-person account by his friend, a fictional writer. Strickland is a misunderstood artist tortured by his inner demons and the people around him are hurt by the flying debris of the struggle.

The atmosphere in this book reminded me of Émile Zola's The Masterpiece which I read several months ago. Tragic obs
Sep 04, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art, 2020, fiction
There’s no denying Maugham’s ability as a writer. It’s a well-written book. But is it a novel or a biographical-novel, i.e., a novel based on a real person? I wanted it to be one or the other. It isn’t satisfying as either. It purports to be a novel loosely based on the life of the artist, Paul Gauguin. So, how loosely? How much of it can the reader believe in? Does that matter? If character matters to you, then the truth of the stories also matters.

Based on only the most cursory reading of Gau
Don’t repeat my mistake. I chose this book because I thought it would give me a better understanding of Paul Gauguin’s life and inner thoughts. This is instead a book of fiction. Maugham creates a new story from a few of the well known facts about Paul Gauguin. Gauguin was a stockbroker who left his wife and family to paint. Maugham creates the fictional character Charles Strickland. He too is a stockbroker who leaves his family. Both go to Tahiti. Neither receives recognition for their artistic ...more
Matthew Appleton
136th book of 2020.

My blurb, among other things, describes this novel as 'a vivid portrayal of the mentality of a genius'. Said genius is Charles Strickland, the stockbroker who abandons his wife and children to live the life of a painter. The latter word of the blurb quote could be a review's length discussion in itself - what is a genius? By any measure a genius must have something to show of it. Charles Strickland, eventually, does. It doesn't seem uncommon that Strickland's work is first ign
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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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