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The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham by Selina Hastings
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The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham

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The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham by Selina Hastings
May 25, 2010 | ISBN 9780679603719

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  • May 25, 2010 | ISBN 9780679603719

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“[Hastings] provides a searing emotional history…so powerfully written, in places so shocking, as to give a series of physical jolts to the reader. Hasting’s book cannot be bettered.” –Sunday Telegraph

“Brilliant…Every so often, a biography appears of such authority and such power that it is more than a chronicle of a human life, it is a work of art…Such is Selina Hastings’ skill that this horrible story is richly enjoyable.”—A. N. Wilson, Reader’s Digest

“A sensitive and sympathetic biography.”—Sunday Times

“Pitch-perfect: supple, confident and written with something of the same beady detachment (and enjoyable signature streak of malice) as the great tale-teller himself.” –Nicholas Shakespeare, Daily Telegraph

“The places and people she describes are portrayed with such graphic clarity and assurance. She sets a scene or establishes a personality with great economy and intensity.”—Observer

“An impressively perceptive and often moving account of an extraordinarily interesting man.”—Literary Review

“Excellent…wholly convincing and always interesting…an outstanding biography.”—Scotsman

“Engrossing…a brilliant evocation.” –Financial Times

“The more we know about Somerset Maugham, the more admirable he becomes—the more, in short, he seems the witty, cynical, eminently sensible fellow that comes across in his writing. And here, at last, Maugham has gotten the magnificent biography he deserves. Marshaling all the known evidence, Selena Hastings shows us the man in the round: she is generous but shrewd in her assessment of Maugham’s work, and resolutely unshocked by the ‘scandalous’ details of his private life. Indeed, much of Hastings’ book reads like an almost incredible success story, were it not for the rather crucial fact that Maugham attached himself, haplessly, to worthless characters who didn’t love him. The ramifications are everywhere (but subtly) present in these pages, and lead inexorably to the final tragedy. Count no man happy until he dies.” —Blake Bailey, author of Cheever: A Life

“A fascinating narrative … full of public incident and accomplishment, shadowed by privately known and whispered secrets…The sordid details, fully disclosed for the first time, reveal the tragic ending to a life that had produced great wealth, exotic travel, and public acclaim…Hastings is a stylish and sensitive writer who addresses her subject’s double life with insight and compassion.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

Monumentally engaging… All of the drama, intrigue, heartbreak and joy that marked Maugham’s life is reconstructed by the author in enthralling, novelistic prose. A powerful, revealing and authoritative depiction of one the 20th century’s most notorious literary figures.” —Kirkus

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