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Listening to "The Summing Up" is like sitting with Maugham in a dimly lit club room on a steamer slowly chugging across a distant sea. He is leisurely, even dilatory, in his deeply considered but gently offered reminiscences. His was the life of an artist--a self-conscious artist who intended to hone the skills of his art. He shares his thoughts on great writers of the past, and discusses the business of succeeding as a dramatist. The last section of this book is frankly philosophical. This book reminds one of an an autobiography written with the frankness of a man who thought it would never be read by others. Perhaps it feels so frank because it deals mostly with his thoughts, and so little with the events of his life. For example, this book never even mentions that he married and fathered a daughter, nor does it allude to the years he allegedly spent living with a homosexual lover.
As always, Charlton Griffin, who reads this book for us, is superb beyond description. He brings the perfect mixture of erudition and languor to the reading.
I highly recommend this recording for anyone who contemplates living the life of a writer.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful
A wonderfully enriching voyage through Maugham's sensibility. A very rewarding listening experience as Maugham's opinions are well thought through, albe they of a certain time, but you find you have to take a stance and he causes one to think in new directions. Honest and very instructive as well.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
Make sure you listen to a good, long sample before you buy this book! The subject matter is, in the main, fascinating to any fan of Maugham. But here it is read by an American pretending to be English - and he gets it wrong time and time again, both pronounciation of individual words and the cadances of phrases.
In the autobiographical sections of the book I found I could overlook the narration, but in the sections when he discusses metaphysics, the narration obscured the meaning time and time again, and I found my mind wandering.
If you can cope with the narration, a fascinating book.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful