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Publisher's Summary

Larry Darrell is a young American in search of the absolute. The progress of this spiritual odyssey involves him with some of Maugham's most brilliant characters: his fiancée Isabel, whose choice between love and wealth have lifelong repercussions; and Elliot Templeton, her uncle, a classic expatriate American snob.
The most ambitious of Maugham's novels, this is also one in which Maugham himself plays a considerable part as he wanders in and out of the story, to observe his characters struggling with their fates.
©1944 Somerset Maugham (P)2012 Audible Ltd
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Customer Reviews

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By AReader on 02-04-15

One of my desert island books


This is a masterpiece IMO. It's about the meaning of life. The characters seek it in different ways and find it (some in death - not all the endings are conventionally happy). Along the way, there is the wonderfully objective narrator who makes you laugh out loud at times. The exchange about the inscription on Elliott's tombstone, for example. The older I get, the more I think Maugham's approach is the only one to take.

The reading was good, although the narrator might have done a bit better with his French. The American accents were OK to my ear but I don't guarantee them - Americans should listen to a sample first as it's very off putting to hear the wrong accent. But whatever you do, listen to this or read it, once when you are young and once when you are older, and see if your response changes.

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By Gunnar on 12-17-13

The Golden Age

I first enjoyed Somerset Maughham when taking English as a student. I have not read anything from him since but decided to give this book a try and I am very glad I did.

A thoughtprovoking story, very well read and it has you longing for being well-off and living in the first decades of the 20th centuary.

If you managed to avoid WW1, that is.

Thoroughly recommended.

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By davidm on 06-26-15

A fascinating view of a time long past

This is my first reading of a book by Maugham. It transported me. The characterisation was brilliant. All of the characters, especially the main character, Larry, were described with obvious insight. The eastern point of view, the essence of Hinduism and its implications for the west, was captured succinctly by the author. The narration suited the story and contributed to my immersion. The themes are now more vital and current than at the time of writing. It is fascinating to follow Larry's journey in both the physical and spiritual landscapes, a journey followed, of course, by many in subsequent generations.

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By Lee on 12-28-14

Loved the characters

This book shows that nothing has changed in human nature despite wars, depression and financial crashes. I loved the possibility of freedom that is shown in Larry's character and the realistic way the other characters have been portrayed, relevant even in today's society.
I found myself pondering life in all sorts of ways, and couldn't wait to get back to it if I had to turn it off.

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