Tuesday, 26 December 2017

CAKES AND ALES by W Somerset Maugham

As a teenager I loved OF HUMAN BONDAGE by W Somerset Maugham, with the love that is special to teenagers, private and intense.  I found it profound; I found it wonderful.  I was excited therefore to see CAKES AND ALE in a second hand book store, and to see it described as "the book by which Maugham most wanted to be remembered - and probably still is."

I for sure hope not, because whereas in my memory OF HUMAN BONDAGE is an extraordinarily contemporary story of finding meaning in a meangingless world, CAKES AND ALE is a strange uptight tale of an uptight young snob and his attempt to have an affair with a woman who is much too good for him.  I can't think I've ever read a more dated book. 

My key takeaway is: I'm never re-reading OF HUMAN BONDAGE.  The memory is far too precious and I don't want my adult self ruining it.


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