Of Human Bondage

  • by W. Somerset Maugham
  • Narrated by Charlton Griffin
  • 27 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Of Human Bondage is one of the greatest novels of modern times, and it is certainly Maugham's greatest achievement. It was published in 1914, when Maugham was at the height of his creative powers. The story concerns Philip Carey, afflicted at birth with a club foot, and his passionate search for truth in a cruel world. We follow his growth to manhood, his educational progress, his first loves, and the wrenching tragedies and disappointments that life has in store for him. In some of the finest prose of the 20th century, Maugham has presented us with the timeless story of one man's search for the meaning of life.
One of the main themes of the novel is the concept of ambivalence: how we are simultaneously attracted to - and repulsed by - people, objects, thoughts, and actions. Although this was not a new concept in 1914, in the hands of Maugham it was raised to a pitch of literary perfection.
Maugham thought of himself essentially as an entertainer, not as a moral philosopher or preacher. There is in his work an objective cynicism that is almost shocking at times. It is almost embarrassing to read Maugham's frank description of Philip Carey's innermost thoughts and Mildred Roger's callous disregard for anything that does not contribute to her narrow sensuality. But in the end, it is as an entertainer that we enjoy Maugham. His lively conversations and vivid descriptions will keep you listening in fascination.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

One of the greats

Not the spiciest of subject matter, but beautifully written. Delicious character development. Great read for those wanting to experience, and especially to WRITE lasting fiction. I wanted to slap the protagonist silly sometimes--but then realized that he made the most human choices every time. Most hardships cannot be overcome with superpowers or lucky golden parachutes. They must be survived, and you would do well to learn from them.
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- Locopelli

The perfect book with the perfect title

This is such a fascinating book about the mind and how it works on our life choices. We see the character, Philip Carey, struggle in whatever direction he moves. He really evolves with life. He grows up. The adolescent rebel is so well described and then there is Philip in love. How we have all loved someone who does not love us back. I have always loved Maugham for his description of places. One of my favourite parts was Philip's art period in Paris. It was so full of colourful characters. Very touched by Philip's appreciation of people with character. I will savour this book for some time. Thing I liked the least: his love of Mildred. I would have edited most of that out.
Got tired of the women's' characters and voices. They all sounded so much the same. Got a bit annoying. Females do not fare well in this book.
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- ELLEN POAGE

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-02-2012
  • Publisher: Audio Connoisseur