The Moon And Sixpence

  • by W. Somerset Maugham
  • Narrated by Robert Hardy
  • 7 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Charles Strickland, a conventional stockbroker, abandons his wife and children for Paris and Tahiti, to live his life as a painter. While his betrayal of family, duty and honour gives him the freedom to achieve greatness, his decision leads to an obsession which carries severe implications.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Roman a clef-abominable french artist Paul Gauguin

A dreadful misogynist who left his wife and 3 kids without remorse or a smidgen of regret in his mid-40s to pursue the painter's life in Paris, stole the wife of another painter who committed suicide when he rejected her as no longer necessary. Ultimately, he moves to Tahiti to live, paint masterpieces, marry a young native girl and die a leper.

Maugham's interesting study based on the life of the painter Paul Gauguin is partly a mockery of society's willingness to turn sinners into saints and partly a sober look at the artist's lifelong pursuit of "beauty" and its costs to both himself/herself and to loved ones.

I'd recommend it if you like Somerset Maugham, which I do, even though he was somewhat of an old lady in temperament. Warning too: it's pretty sexist -- one example, "Women are strange little beasts,... You can treat them like dogs, you can beat them till your arm aches, and still they love you." He shrugged his shoulders. "Of course, it is one of the most absurd illusions of Christianity that they have souls.... In the end they get you, and you are helpless in their hands. White or brown, they are all the same."
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- W Perry Hall "One master-passion in the br east, like Aaron's serpent, swallows all the rest. A. Pope"

Art and the Artist

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I'd highly recommend The Moon and Sixpence to anyone, particularly those struggling with the dichotomy between great art produced by a less-than-great human being.

What did you like best about this story?

Maugham uses a journalistic tone in The Moon and Sixpence to create the idea that the story happened to him just as he tells it. It is not only beautifully written but very convincing. If I didn't know that the story was based on the life of the painter Paul Gauguin and that Maugham did not actually know the artist, I'd believe this is a true story.

Which scene was your favorite?

My favorite scene was probably Maugham's confrontation with Strickland in his rundown Paris hotel. Maugham goes there full of preconceived notions about what Strickland is doing and finds that not one of them is true. The reality is much worse!

There are so many great scenes, when Stroeve does his utmost to convince his wife to allow him to bring the deathly ill Strickland home to their house. The death of Blanche Stroeve is another powerful scene. The scene when the landlady convinces Strickland to take a native wife. The description by the doctor of Strickland's destroyed masterpiece on the walls of his death hut. And the last scene when Mrs. Strickland and her children discuss the responsibilities of being related to a genius. Very ironic.

If you could rename The Moon And Sixpence, what would you call it?

Why fool with the title of a masterpiece?

Any additional comments?

Robert Hardy does a SPECTACULAR job on bringing this powerful and thought provoking novel to life. His characterizations are masterful.

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- Patrick King

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-25-2008
  • Publisher: Audible Studios