Play Book Tag discussion

The Painted Veil
This topic is about The Painted Veil
30 views
October 2020: Other Books > [Poll Ballot] The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham - 5 Stars

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

Joy D | 4203 comments The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham - 5 stars - My Review

“Everything passed, and what trace of its passage remained? It seemed to Kitty that they were all, the human race, like the drops of water in that river and they flowed on, each so close to the other and yet so far apart, a nameless flood, to the sea. When all things lasted so short a time and nothing mattered very much, it seemed pitiful that men, attaching an absurd importance to trivial objects, should make themselves and one another so unhappy.” – W. Somerset Maugham, The Painted Veil

Published in 1925 and set in Hong Kong and Mei-tan-fu, China, this book is a marvelous example of a “woman goes on a journey of transformation.” At first, protagonist Kitty Garstin comes across as a vain, shallow socialite. Due to misconceptions and bad choices, she ends up accompanying her husband, Walter Fane, a bacteriologist, to a remote village in China where a cholera epidemic is raging. She begins to understand what is important in life and grows into a much more compassionate and reflective person. Themes include revenge, regret, freedom, forgiveness, and redemption.

I enjoyed this book tremendously. It is a character study about love, passion, duty, identity, and coming to terms with one’s desires and failings in life. It spurred me to look up poems by Oliver Goldsmith and Percy Bysshe Shelley that shed light on its meaning. I found it poignant, thought-provoking, profound, heart-breaking, and beautifully written – a wonderfully crafted story.


message 2: by NancyJ (last edited Oct 06, 2020 11:43PM) (new) - added it

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5785 comments Great review. l loved the movie based on this book, and I think I'll like the additional depth of the book. I think this would be a great book to discuss with a group. to-read-in-2021


message 3: by Susan (new) - added it

Susan Lewallen (susanlewallen) | 576 comments Thanks for this nice review. For a number of years Maugham was my favorite writer and I was dismayed when I finished all his books and stories. But that was so long ago that maybe I should start again! I'm a different person now and I'm curious if I'll still like him as much. Will put this on the TBR — thanks for a reminder!


Joy D | 4203 comments NancyJ wrote: "Great review. l loved the movie based on this book, and I think I'll like the additional depth of the book. I think this would be a great book to discuss with a group. to-read-in-2021"

Thanks, Nancy. I have not seen the movie. Yes, it would be a great one to read and discuss as a group.


Joy D | 4203 comments Susan wrote: "Thanks for this nice review. For a number of years Maugham was my favorite writer and I was dismayed when I finished all his books and stories. But that was so long ago that maybe I should start ag..."
Thank you, Susan. I have read several of Maugham's books in the past, but somehow missed this one. I plan to take another look at his catalogue. I really enjoy his writing style.


back to top