After a lonely boyhood, and the painful ordeal of his schooldays, Philip's yearning for adventure takes him to Germany and later Paris where he tries to make his mark as an artist before returning to London to study medicine. Here, a tortured and one-sided love affair with Mildred, a vulgar yet irresistible waitress, changes the course of his life ...
After a lonely boyhood, and the painful ordeal of his schooldays, Philip's yearning for adventure takes him to Germany and later Paris where he tries to make his mark as an artist before returning to London to study medicine. Here, a tortured and one-sided love affair with Mildred, a vulgar yet irresistible waitress, changes the course of his life for ever. Commenting later on the novel's autobiographical aspects, Maugham recalled how in writing the book he mingled fact and fiction and 'found myself free from the pains and unhappy recollections that had tormented me'.However, like Dickens' David Copperfield to which it is often compared, Of Human Bondage goes far beyond autobiography, and is Maugham's most ambitious and unsparing novel, revealing the author's undoubted gift for storytelling as he explores the timeless theme of human freedom - freedom to act, to think and to love.
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Splendid writing especially considering it was written 100 years ago.
More in it than in the Lawrence Harvey / Kim Novak film, but glad I saw that before reading. I had instant images of the characters
Jul 23, 2009
The story that Maugham weaves is according to his own introduction partly autobiographical. It was the first novel Maugham wrote after becoming a successful playwright. The central character is a young man born with a club foot. The story follows his search to find himself as an artist in Paris, as an accountant in London, in the study and practice of medicine, and through a tormented relationship with a woman that he meets in a small cafe. It is a excellent book full of marvelous characters, and fascinating reflections on art and life.
Aug 23, 2007
I loved reading this book. It was a great story. I was surprised at how much talk there was of sex, but since this is a coming of age story about a boy, I guess I shouldn't be that surprised; boys of the 1900's had the same hormones our boys do now. I was grateful there wasn't too much detail in that area. This story is about the first thirty years of a boy named Philip Carey's life. Thought to be autobiographical, and mentioned as one of the two greatest autobiographical novels of a time. The characters club foot replaces the authors real problem of a bad stutter. The author, however, said this was more fiction that autobiographical. There is a lot of name dropping and place dropping. Some I knew of, but there were several times I wish I had stopped to look up a particular artist, work of art or place he mentioned. I was too impatient to hear the story out to stop. I'll have to read it again and take more time.
Apr 19, 2007
This book is one of the greats
I am a traveller at heart and am moved by books such as The Razor's Edge or Maughams other great piece, Of Human Bondage. This book spoke to me and I believe would speak to just about anyone who reads it. The writing is exquisite although the beginning can be tough to get through it is worth the challenge. Maugham comments on love perfectly and on the other challenges we face in life. The main character is a loner and confuses his wandering spirit with the desire for love and affection and the comfort of stability. I related well to this and I think the masses shall as well. So I highly recommend this book, you will be moved to tears and laughter, I even found myself shouting out comments to the main character throughout begging him to chnage his decesions for the better.
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