26 May 2012

Up at the villa (book review)

Up at the VillaUp at the Villa by W. Somerset Maugham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A widow, Mary Panton, is staying at a villa near Florence. Her marriage was not a good one, and when she receives several offers of marriage she is aware of the need to choose wisely. The problem is that she is not in love with any of the men who declare their love for her, and a lot more hangs on her choices than she thinks at first.

W. Somerset Maugham was aware of his own shortcomings as a writer, and regarded himself as being in the front rank of the second-raters -- an evaluation with which most critics agreed. Such a judgement is inclined to put one off, and so this book has sat on my shelf for more than 12 years (having bought it at a secondhand book stall) and I've put off reading it until I was desperate.

But the front rank pf the second-raters is not a bad place to be, when compared with some of the drek that one finds on the shelves of bookshops costing over R100 nowadays. So this one was an interesting and enjoyable read, and much better thabn a lot of the "also rans".

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