About the Book
A collection of ten short stories mainly set in Malaya, Singapore and other outposts of the former British Empire.
What I Think
"There is no place in Malaya that has more charm than Tanah Merah." I found this opening sentence of the first story, Footprints in the Jungle, very gripping and I was immediately hooked. Maugham's use of language is beautiful, evocative and lyrical and none of the stories disappoint.
These ten tales of people and their relationships were very much set in a bygone era. Predominantly focused on British people, their way of living was so different from the way that I live (even as an expat) it was like reading about a different culture. Great changes appear to have happened since this time and the issues of class and race sometimes made for uncomfortable reading.
About the Author
William Somerset Maugham (25th January 1874 – 16th December 1965) was born at the British Embassy in France. By the age of ten he was orphaned and sent to England and put under the care of his uncle, Henry MacDonald Maugham, the Vicar of Whitstable, in Kent. Maugham was educated at King's School in Canterbury and left of his own accord when he was 16. At Heidelberg University he studied literature, philosophy and German. Then his studies continued with medicine at St Thomas' Hospital in Lambeth, London, for five years before finally turning to writing. He became one of the most popular writers of his era, writing plays, novels and short stories, and he was reputedly the highest paid author during the 1930s.