Which one to read first?

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Which one to read first?

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1zasmine
Editado: Jul 6, 2011, 2:19am

I have read 'Cakes and Ale' twice, and that is the only Somerset Maugham book I have read. Needless to say, I think it is wonderful. I have 'The Summing Up' and 'The Razor's Edge' with me currently. Which of them should I read first? In the order in which they were written?

2Waldstein
Editado: Jul 8, 2011, 4:24pm

I think, zasmine, to read them both is more important than the order. The latter would ideally depend on what you feel like reading at the moment. The two books are vastly different, even though they were originally published in the course of less than a decade. The Razor's Edge is a novel, Maugham's last major one (first published in 1944 when he was 70), and every bit as fine as Cakes and Ale, though very different of course. The Summing Up (1938) is a book that defies classification altogether but gives you a complete picture of Maugham's character; so if you like Maugham himself - which I suppose you do - this is the right book to come really close to him.

Actually, you might even try reading the books in parallel. They complement each other rather nicely.

3danielx
Editado: Jul 15, 2011, 9:53pm

I can do almost nothing but endorse Waldstein's response. The Summing Up is for someone who likes Maugham and is interested in understanding his perspective. I found a wonderfully wise work, and have gone back to it over the years. I only read The Razor's Edge a couple years ago (after having read Maugham's other major works). My favorite remains Of Human Bondage, and second favorite the Painted Veil. And oh, do I love the short stories!!!