Monday, April 30, 2012
'Theatre' - William Somerset Maugham 1937
I am a huge fan of William Somerset Maugham (he is the only author I have reviewed here more than twice) and 'Theatre' did not disappoint. My favourite part about his writing, as I frequently mentioned when talking about 'Cakes and Ale' as well as 'The Painted Veil' is the interesting female characters he brings to life.
Theatre is a brilliant story about a complicated actress who lives her life as though it is one huge play. Her son believes that she only truly exists when she is performing for someone, and he is perhaps closest to the truth. The book charts her rise from a struggling country actress to one of the biggest stars of her era.
Along the way there are so many wonderful characters; from her frigid husband to her toy-boy lover, lesbian sponsor and other eccentric people who populate the London that Maugham has brought to life.
Though Julia Lambert is an entertaining character she is not very likeable due to the sheer weight of her self obsession.
This is one of my favourite passages which shows the 'thought patterns' which bring her to life:
"And his love of art filled her with a faint derision; after all she was a creator, when all was said and done he was only the public."
Maugham is not a particularly famous author, and if 'Vintage' had not published all 3 of these novels I might never have come across him. But I am glad I did, and perhaps you might like to discover his work too.
Love it, Read it,