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The Painted Veil

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  28,787 Ratings  ·  2,837 Reviews
'Siena made me, Maremma unmade me: this he knows who after betrothal espoused me with his ring.'

Somerset Maugham's classic novel of a woman's spiritual awakening was suggested to him by these lines of Dante -- and is his only novel to be based on a story rather than an individual character. Kitty Fane is lovely but shallow, and when her bacteriologist husband discovers her
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Paperback, 238 pages
Published September 1st 1992 by Penguin Classics (first published April 1925)
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Keely There are a lot of differences. Both are to be savored and both are beautiful works of art. The movie is much more romantic and scenic. It takes the…moreThere are a lot of differences. Both are to be savored and both are beautiful works of art. The movie is much more romantic and scenic. It takes the story out into the open and does more with the political situation in China at the time and the cholera epidemic. The book is more introspective and profound. I would say that the biggest difference is that the book does not give you the great romantic reconciliation between Walter and Kitty that the movie depicted. The book is almost completely about the workings of Kitty's mind and her transformation in the way she sees Walter. I found that to be priceless and I wanted it to keep reading it forever. The depth of characterization is as remarkable as what Henry James did with Portrait of a Lady -- I almost felt that Maugham used Portrait as a model in the way that some of the most wonderful and moving passages of this book are nothing more than an examination of Kitty's thought processes. I agree with Carol below that the book is a must read. Still, the movie is one of the most under-valued Hollywood movies ever made and should have been up for Oscars galore. It increased the scope of the book in a very effective way and went into a great deal of detail about Walter's work on the typhoid epidemic and water crisis in that area of China. It can be difficult to translate onto screen what goes on inside of the characters' minds, especially when that is the focus of the book, but I think what the movie did by bringing in the details of what Walter was trying to do in his work was a smart substitute, because it provided justification for the great change in Kitty's attitude toward Walter - you could actually see it happening, and why.

The other big change is that Kitty isn't completely redeemed when she returns to Tching-yen after Walter's death, and there are new encounters with Charlie and also his wife which almost give the impression that they were complicit in his love affairs.(less)
Keely Hi, Mary - If you mean a comparison between the movie and the book, browse the other questions about this book and you'll see I answered in detail. I…moreHi, Mary - If you mean a comparison between the movie and the book, browse the other questions about this book and you'll see I answered in detail. I loved both. Any difficulty finding my remarks, let me know. (less)
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Candace
It had been a long time since I read one of the classics. When I saw 'The Painted Veil' on sale at Audible.com, I thought it would be a nice change of pace. I wasn't wrong. This book proved to be far better than I expected.

'The Painted Veil' is set in England and China, taking place in the 1920's. It is a story of love, betrayal, revenge and redemption. I definitely wasn't prepared for some of the twists and turns that this story took, but I enjoyed every minute.

Kitty Fane moved to Hong Kong wit
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Will Byrnes
Feb 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This short masterpiece tells of love, betrayal, and a search for real meaning in life. Kitty is an attractive middle class Brit. The only real future for her is to marry well. But when she finds none of her suitors quite up to her hopes, and with her younger sister becoming engaged, she succumbs to the pressure and agrees to marry Walter, a man who adores her, but whom she finds boring. He takes her with him to Hong Kong where he works as a bacteriologist.

There is much here about class. One hero
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Emily May
Apr 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emily May by: Tatiana
Shelves: classics, 2012, favourites

This is so good.

The Painted Veil, first published in 1925, is now considered a classic. That fact - combined with the cover, description and the reviews - had me switching into classic-reading mode. That might sound like I've gone a bit mad, but I mean that I approach classics with a different frame of mind and a greater tolerance for slow-moving plots, airy-fairy language and characters I cannot relate that much to. You know what I mean, you cannot expect fast-paced action if you want to appre
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Petra X
Oct 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The original review was deleted by GR. This book is about the time when society women didn’t work, especially not in the hot and fetid colonies, and this was set in Hong Kong. They sat at home and painted their nails and dreamed of love in the afternoon and sometimes they did it too. Kitty did, she had an affair and her husband found out. He was a good man, as she was to find out, but once crossed, his soul was dark with thoughts of the ultimate revenge – death, either socially or in reality.

He
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Perry
Jul 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stela-eða-láni
Resentment's Presentiment
The time will come / When you'll be blue / Your cheatin' heart will tell on you...
Hank Williams, 1952

You'll look for me but baby I'll be gone.
This is all I gotta say to you woman: Your time is gonna come

Led Zeppelin, 1969

The English word "resent" or "resentment" comes from the Old French resentir, meaning to "feel again, feel in turn" (13c.) That is, to replay, feeling again and again, the thoughts and emotions arising from a negative event that's already happened. For
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Tea Jovanović
Jedna od meni najdražih Momovih knjiga... Potpuno zanemarena kod domaćih izdavača... Po ovom romanu snimljen je i divan film... Pokušavala sam godinama da animiram srpske izdavače da ga objavljuju, ali oni su jurili samo hitove sa bestseler lista... Ali ne gubim nadu... :)
Margitte
The Painted Veil is a remarkable golden oldie. Published in 1925 for the first time, it had slightly different approach to stories in the sense that the author punched a good story into 246 pages and said more with his economy of words, than 1000+-page novels.

FROM THE BLURB:
Less known than his masterpiece Of Human Bondage, this 1925 Somerset Maugham novel rips at your emotions with its portrayal of an adulterous wife. When the bacteriologist husband of Kitty Fane learns of her infidelity, he
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Jessica
Jan 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: friends, but I recommend the movie MORE!
I agree whole-heartedly with other reviewers -- the movie was better! I saw the movie first and loved it. It is a brilliant and beautiful love story -- and who can resist Edward Norton's stoic, yet smoldering interpretation of Walter.

You can appreciate the movie better once you read the book and get to know the characters as they were originally intended. The movie does a good job of interpreting those characters honestly and uses dialogue verbatim from the book. But, in the movie, Walter and K
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Chrissie
So I assume you have read the book description and know approximately what the book is about. This description ends with the words: "The Painted Veil is a beautifully written affirmation of the human capacity to grow, to change, and to forgive." Well, I would say that this can certainly be debated! This is an ideal book for a book club; there is much that can be discussed. Views will differ.

Some people find this book a huge disappointment. Others like it very much. So how do you go about decidi
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Tatiana
Dec 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, 2011, nostalgia
There is something infinitely fascinating to me about stories like this - a clever, passionate man falling in love with a pretty but fickle woman who, he knows, will never understand and appreciate his worth, and yet, he can't resist. This is why I have always obsessed over Gone With the Wind and enjoyed reading The Painted Veil once again.

I still can't decide if I like the novel or the latest movie adaptation more.

The movie gives food to my romantic what-could-have-been fantasies.


But I can't n
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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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More about W. Somerset Maugham...
“How can I be reasonable? To me our love was everything and you were my whole life. It is not very pleasant to realize that to you it was only an episode.” 1211 likes
“If a man hasn't what's necessary to make a woman love him, it's his fault, not hers.” 610 likes
More quotes…