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The House of Doors

por Tan Twan Eng

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaDiscussões / Menções
3062784,351 (4.2)1 / 105
Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. LGBTQIA+ (Fiction.) HTML:LONGLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE
INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

From the bestselling author
of The Garden of Evening Mists, a spellbinding novel about love and betrayal, colonialism and revolution, storytelling and redemption.

The year is 1921. Lesley Hamlyn and her husband, Robert, a lawyer and war veteran, are living at Cassowary House on the Straits Settlement of Penang. When "Willie" Somerset Maugham, a famed writer and old friend of Robert's, arrives for an extended visit with his secretary Gerald, the pair threatens a rift that could alter more lives than one.

Maugham, one of the great novelists of his day, is beleaguered: Having long hidden his homosexuality, his unhappy and expensive marriage of convenience becomes unbearable after he loses his savings-and the freedom to travel with Gerald. His career deflating, his health failing, Maugham arrives at Cassowary House in desperate need of a subject for his next book. Lesley, too, is enduring a marriage more duplicitous than it first appears. Maugham suspects an affair, and, learning of Lesley's past connection to the Chinese revolutionary, Dr. Sun Yat Sen, decides to probe deeper. But as their friendship grows and Lesley confides in him about life in the Straits, Maugham discovers a far more surprising tale than he imagined, one that involves not only war and scandal but the trial of an Englishwoman charged with murder. It is, to Maugham, a story worthy of fiction.

A mesmerizingly beautiful novel based on real events, The House of Doors traces the fault lines of race, gender, sexuality, and power under empire, and dives deep into the complicated nature of love and friendship in its shadow.
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» Ver também 105 menções

Mostrando 1-5 de 26 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Can’t believe there was an Andie MacDowell “Is it raining? I hadn’t noticed” moment in a Booker novel. Anyone who writes a scene in which a couple has their pivotal romantic moment in a rainstorm, wet hair and clothes plastered to skin, should be shot. Ok not really. Exiled from the artistic community perhaps.

Despite that, not too bad. Not too great either, for me. ( )
  lelandleslie | Feb 24, 2024 |
This is a well paced, intriguing story which takes place on British Penang in the early 20th century some years before and after WWI. W. Somerset Maugham's visit in 1921 elicits the tale of the continuing but failed marriage of his hosts a decade earlier, the wife's involvement with Sun Yat-sen's efforts at revolution and as a character witness in the first trial of a European woman accused of murder. It is a story of people pinched into the constrained social rolls, wives of unloving husbands, men who prefer men but marry to deflect the stigma, expatriates who put their "origin" country above where they live, individuals born and raised in the east but expected to exemplify English values. The truth which is a fundamental casualty of their lives leaks imperfectly into Maugham's stories. For all of its virtues, I was not much moved by the characters and the ending felt a bit tinny after the oboe tones of the preceding realism. ( )
  quondame | Feb 6, 2024 |
This novel stirred a range of emotions, and also offered an insight into an area and period of history of which I am lamentably ignorant. The story is principally set in Penang in 1921, although it includes flashbacks to a few years earlier, and is mainly narrated by Lesley Hamlyn. She had been born in Penang and had married Robert who had established a thriving legal practice in the colony. In 1921, the Hamlyns paly host to celebrated English author, William Somerset Maugham, at that point nearing the zenith of his fame, having recently had four of his plays staged concurrently in London’s West End, a feat never previously achieved by any writer. Somerset Maugham is not travelling alone. He is accompanied by Gerald Haxton, ostensibly his secretary, but actually his clandestine lover. Lesley’s memories are interspersed with third person narratives following Maugham’s thoughts and deed in the colony.

Lesley’s recollections of 1910 bring a different focus as she recalls her encounters with the revolutionary Sun Yat Sen and his supporters, who were then touring Penang with a view to tapping rich Chinese ex-pats for funds to support their insurrection against the Chinese Emperor. If I felt somewhat ignorant of Somerset Maugham, I was hopelessly at a loss over Sun Yat Sen, and was intrigued to learn more about him.

I found this book both engaging and enlightening, although I did feel slightly disappointed that the writer didn’t convey more of the atmosphere of 1920s Penang. As a backdrop to the action of the book, it might almost have been everywhere. From my limited experience of Somerset Maugham’s writing (principally through the few short stories that I have encountered), he was able to evoke a strong feeling of his settings. Indeed, although very little of the story occurs in South Africa, the environment there is conveyed far more clearly than that of Penang.

Still, that is a minor cavil, and I found the book very enjoyable. ( )
  Eyejaybee | Jan 30, 2024 |
I'm aware I'm in the minority here, but I found this book to be just OK.

It's a tale within a tale type of novel. The writer Somerset Maugham and his private secretary come gay lover are staying with an old friend and his wife for a few weeks at their home in Penang. Whilst the wife is initially prickly and hard to read, eventually relations between her and Maugham (Willie) thaw as she tells him the story of her marriage and her involvement with a revolutionary fighting to overthrow the imperial dynasty of China.

It just didn't come together for me. Lesley, the wife of Willie's old friend, is the key character in the story and yet I could never warm to her enough to form an emotional connection with her back story. I liked Somerset Maugham's character, yet somehow Eng never really got going with him. The story of his own sham marriage and his gay lover didn't feel as if it had much purpose in the story other than to add some sensationalism as Lesley's own secrets were fairly dull and mundane. A third plot line, that of the murder trial of a close friend of Lesley's, also felt shoe-horned into the story simply to add a bit of spice. and somehow that too felt like a mediocre sub-plot in terms of how it was handled in the prose.

In summary, I just couldn't connect with either the story or the characters in this book. Every now and then it hooked me in for a few pages, but largely I was just looking forward to finishing it.

3 stars - lacklustre and emotionless.
  AlisonY | Jan 27, 2024 |
This book by this Malaysian author was longlisted for the Booker Prize 2023. It is set in Penang mostly in 1921 but with flashbacks to 1910 (and with a framing narrative in South Africa in 1947). It is narrated by Lesley Hamlyn, wife to a lawyer Robert Hamlyn, and centres around their hosting a visit to their house by Robert's old friend the author W. Somerset Maugham and his secretary and lover Gerald Haxton. Maugham is at that moment gathering material for his collection of short stories, published later as The Casuarina Tree. A large part of the book consists of a digression where Lesley tells Maugham about a murder trial back in 1910 where she was a witness at the trial of her close friend for murdering a man. These threads do link together, though it made the narrative feel a little disjointed to me. I did love the writing though and will read the other two novels by this author. ( )
  john257hopper | Jan 26, 2024 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 26 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Somerset Maugham appears as a flawed actor in a colonial morality play inspired by his classic short story ....The Proudlock scandal would later be refitted to form the basis for The Letter, an acclaimed short story by W Somerset Maugham, that pitiless chronicler of so much human frailty. It now provides the prompt for Tan Twan Eng’s The House of Doors, an ambitious, elaborate fiction about fictions that beats back to the humid heyday of empire and instals the bestselling author as a flawed player in the drama..The sheer weight of its interests sometimes slows it down.. But his revolutionary adventure feels undercooked and imported..... Tan writes as Maugham did, almost self-consciously so, in a descriptive high style that focuses on the tales people tell and how they look when they tell them
 

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Tan Twan Engautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Louise-Mai NewberryNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Oakes, DavidNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. LGBTQIA+ (Fiction.) HTML:LONGLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE
INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

From the bestselling author
of The Garden of Evening Mists, a spellbinding novel about love and betrayal, colonialism and revolution, storytelling and redemption.

The year is 1921. Lesley Hamlyn and her husband, Robert, a lawyer and war veteran, are living at Cassowary House on the Straits Settlement of Penang. When "Willie" Somerset Maugham, a famed writer and old friend of Robert's, arrives for an extended visit with his secretary Gerald, the pair threatens a rift that could alter more lives than one.

Maugham, one of the great novelists of his day, is beleaguered: Having long hidden his homosexuality, his unhappy and expensive marriage of convenience becomes unbearable after he loses his savings-and the freedom to travel with Gerald. His career deflating, his health failing, Maugham arrives at Cassowary House in desperate need of a subject for his next book. Lesley, too, is enduring a marriage more duplicitous than it first appears. Maugham suspects an affair, and, learning of Lesley's past connection to the Chinese revolutionary, Dr. Sun Yat Sen, decides to probe deeper. But as their friendship grows and Lesley confides in him about life in the Straits, Maugham discovers a far more surprising tale than he imagined, one that involves not only war and scandal but the trial of an Englishwoman charged with murder. It is, to Maugham, a story worthy of fiction.

A mesmerizingly beautiful novel based on real events, The House of Doors traces the fault lines of race, gender, sexuality, and power under empire, and dives deep into the complicated nature of love and friendship in its shadow.

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