Christie Stratos's Reviews > The Painted Veil

The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham
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it was amazing
bookshelves: read-as-an-audio-book, do-not-own-it

I loved this book. Now I know why Somerset Maugham was so popular in his time and why so many of his books were made into movies - his writing is impeccable.

Throughout the book we the readers follow Kitty, the main character, who is married and having an affair. (That's not a spoiler, you find that out right away in the book.) What's particularly excellent is how we see her changing perspective throughout the book. At first we experience her nerves and completely understand them. Then we experience her pure trust in and comfort with her lover. Then we experience her back and forth dilemma of how to broach the subject with her husband. Should she be angry? Should she feel pity? Both of these emotions are expressed in such a real way that we can recognize these exact moments in our own lives. This is one of Maugham's best qualities - expression of emotion. And that's just the beginning.

Another thing I loved about this book was the introspective message and the focus on improving yourself to become a better, less superficial person. We watch Kitty grow from immature girl to well-rounded, selfless woman over the course of the story and through much heartbreak and uncertainty. She has strong feelings that at times were frustrating and at other times satisfying.

Some things were predictable, but they were a sort of expected and tempting predictability, where Maugham tortures us by dangling the expected in front of us but taking his time to reveal it. Some things were completely unpredictable, including Kitty's feelings some of the time. Kitty wasn't always relatable - sometimes I really didn't understand her, but she was still realistic.

I highly recommend this short read, especially on audiobook, and especially if you like strong, well-developed character growth.
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Reading Progress

June 30, 2016 – Started Reading
June 30, 2016 – Shelved
June 30, 2016 – Shelved as: read-as-an-audio-book
June 30, 2016 – Shelved as: do-not-own-it
July 2, 2016 –
page 82
33.33% "I have always wanted to read a Somerset Maugham book, and this is a perfect first read. He does a fantastic job building suspense and bringing us into Kitty's POV with her back-and-forth approaches to how Walter will react (no spoilers!). I can already see why Maugham made it big."
July 7, 2016 – Finished Reading

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