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Throughout his long life, Maugham was an interested observer of the creative impulse. But he did not attribute this prolific energy merely to the desire of the artist to produce art that satisfied common notions of aesthetic delight. Real artists of genuine ability and intellectual vigor are seldom driven by forces that most people can comprehend. It was this dichotomy between the ordinary and the driven that attracted Maugham. And it was in The Moon and Sixpence that Maugham showed how this tension plays itself out, and how it affects the lives of everyone associated with artists of genius who try to harness the creative demons that drive them.
In place of Paul Gauguin, Maugham presents us with Englishman Charles Strickland, who leads the life of a mundane London stockbroker. He has a wife and two lovely children and enjoys a settled life with the prospect of a prosperous retirement. However, Strickland throws it all over and abandons his family to become an artist in Paris. But that is only the beginning.
In a novel rich with the kind of characters and conversations that only Maugham could conjure up, we follow Strickland's path of hedonism and sheer creative verve as he moves from Paris to Marseilles to Tahiti, where the drama finally plays itself out on a lonely island paradise far from any contact with European civilization.
"An expert craftsman....His style is sharp, quick, subdued, casual."(New York Times)
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By alice on 02-29-08
Stick With It!
At first the prose of this book put me off. Not being accustomed to the literary style of years gone by, at first, I did not think I would enjoy the book. However, after listening to about 4 chapters, I did get engrossed in the story which is very loosely based on the life of the painter, Gauguin.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful