The Painted Veil
18 journalers for this copy...
'She did not know what to say. She was undecided whether indignantly to assert her innocence or to break out into angry reproaches. He seemed to read her thoughts. "I've got all the proof necessary" '. Kitty Fane is the beautiful but shallow wife of Walter, a bacteriologist stationed in Hong Kong. Unsatisfied by her marriage, she starts an affair with Charles Townsend, a man whom she finds charming, attractive and exciting. But when Walter discovers her deception, he exacts a strange but terrible vengeance: Kitty must accompany him to his new posting in remote mainland China, where a cholera epidemic rages. First published to a storm of protest, "The Painted Veil" is a classic story of a woman's spiritual awakening.
Got a few books to read before but will read it as soon as I can!
I found the story written simply but very intelligently. So much is happening in not so many pages but still with lots of details. A great read. Thank you so much Shimi for sharing it!
I would like to keep this book as I think I would enjoy re-reading it but I will organise a ring so other people can enjoy this story too!
1- Bookworm-lady (Spain - Europe)
2- Tsjara (Netherlands - Europe)
3- soffitta1 (Portugal - Europe or surface intl)
4- bearyfriend (Singapore - intl)
5- rebeccaljames (US - US)
6- cyber-librarian (US - US/Canada)
7- ealasaidmae (USA - US/Canada)
8- lauraloo29 (Canada - intl not Canada)
9 - Arrietty (Australia)
10- kalise (Austria - Europe)
11- kbmarsh (UK - UK)
12- voveryte (UK - intl)
then back to me!
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
The book is now on its way to Spain!
Seems that I am the first one; I will read it as soon as possible, and pass it on.
(I loved the film; I am sure I will love the book!)
Thank you for the postcards...
ANd thanks for sharing!
Thanks for sharing, Teuffi!
The title is taken from Percy Bysshe Shelley's sonnet which begins "Lift Not The Painted Veil Which Those Who Live/Call Life."
"The Painted Veil" was first published in 1925 and is usually described as a strong story about a woman's spiritual journey.
Beautifully written, this is the study of a woman's evolution from youth to maturity.
In the end, Kitty goes from a feeling of loneliness and abandonment to the sheer enjoyment of a sense of freedom.
The plot was suggested to the author by a passage in Dante's Purgatory: Pia was a gentlewoman of Siena whose husband, suspecting her of adultery and afraid on account of her family to put her to death, took her down to his castle in the Maremma, the noxious vapours of which he was confident would do the trick.
From Charles Townsed, her lover: "(...) women are often under the impression that men are much more madly in love with them than they really are."
Upon breaking up, Kitty tells him: "You really are the most vain and fatuous ass that it's ever been my bad luck to run across." (I really like this one!)
About her future baby, Kitty says: "I want a girl because I want to bring her up so that she shan't make the mistakes I've made. When I look back upon the girl I was I hate myself. But I never had a chance. I'm going to bring up my daughter so that she's free and can stand on her own feet. I´m not going to bring a child into the world, and love her, and bring her up, just so that some man may want to sleep with her so much that he's willing to provide her with board and lodging for the rest of her life." (Remember this was written in 1925!)
Thanks for sharing this, Teuffi; I've got Tsjara's address, and it will soon be on its way to her...
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
Sent this morning to Tsjara, in The Netherlands.
Enjoy, just like I did!
I haven't seen the film, but I look forward to reading it.
It was nice to see how Kitty grows and matures, becoming less shallow and self-centered. But I'm still a bit confused about whether she loved Walter at the end, or more in a friend sort of way..
I think I will go watch the movie someday :)
Sent to Soffita today.
I had already seen the film which left me wanting to read the original. The book really gripped me, I read it overnight.
Have the next address, will post on ASAP.
Read from internet that Kitty nurses Walter when he contacted cholera but it seems different from the book. In the book it was Waddington who came in the middle of the night to tell her to hurry up and go see Walter who's dying.
I don't like Kitty, instead pity Walter for dying broken hearted with his love not reciprocated. There's a part where Kitty asked Walter "What are we going to do then when we leave here? Are we going on living together?" and his answer was "Oh, don't you think we can let the future take care of itself?" There was weariness of death in his voice. And after he died, there were speculations whether he was infected accidentally or whether he was actually experimenting on himself. He died a broken hearted man. Going to watch the film adaptation to see how it differs from the book.
Rebeccaljames asked to let others go before her, so off to cyber-librarian.
c. 1925 -- 238 pages -- Paperback -- Classics
Back Cover: The Painted Veil is probably the only novel that Somerset Maugham based on a story rather than a character. Nevertheless, on publication in 1925, it was twice threatened with libel actions. Maugham gives a modern setting to the curious plot which was suggested by a few lines of Dante. Detected in an affair with the Assistant Colonial Secretary of Hong Kong, Kitty Fane is forced by her husband, a bacteriologist, to accompany him to the heart of a cholera epidemic. In the course of this harsh penance she learns the true meaning of love. But her discovery comes too late.
Favorite Quote: (page 231) "Grief she could not feel, for there had been too much bitterness between her mother and herself to leave in her heart any deep feeling of affection."
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
I'm mailing this book today to ealasaidmae in WV ... as part of this bookring.
on its way to lauraloo29 in Canada
I'll be sending this book on its way to Australia this weekend. Thank you for sharing!
the book arrived in Australia today safe and sound! Wow what an adventure it's had - all the way around the world. I'm looking forward to reading this as I haven't seen the movie but heard it was very good.
I was surprised to see the author is Somerset Maugham, one of my favourite writers. How I loved Of Human Bondage, Theatre, Razor's Edge. Surprisingly his work is often critized as not being 'literary', though I believe his story-telling and characterisation are brilliant. George Orwell appreciated him as a writer and is quoted as saying that Maugham's work influenced him the most.
I will contact the next person on the list for forwarding address. Thanks for sharing.
Painted Veil is about a complex story about an very pretty but superficial woman whose life is changed around by circumstances. Her character changes and develops as she matures. Maugham must have been a keen observer of life and character judging by the large variety of themes he wrote about in his novels and short stories. I'd now like to read an autobiography of his life to find out how he came to be such an insightful writer.
thanks Teuffi for sharing and starting the bookring. I have now mailed the book to Kalise in Austria. I tried to include a postcard of Las Vegas where I am currently visiting family, but unfortunately Post offices are not on every corner as they are in other countries and they do not sell postcards. So Kalise, you will have to image how incongruous it was to be reading a book set in 1925 England and Hongkong, surrounded by bright lights and poker machines. (thats an exageration as I am here to visit my aunt and uncle who are not well, and I've only been the the 'Strip' once).
I, too, have seen the movie, and it is rare indeed that I find the movie *almost* better than the book!! The book is awesome, no doubt about that - but I still preferred the ending in the movie. We get more of an emotional resolution there: Kitty not only learns to respect Walter, but actually falls in love with him. Walter clearly forgives her, is even willing to accept the baby which might not be his own, and the happy end would've been guaranteed, if he hadn't gone ahead and died, darn him. On his death bed he asks her forgiveness, which she grants. OK so Hollywood pathos, but still, it was emotionally satisfying. We also learn that her baby's a boy, she calls him Walter, and when she meets the Townsend fellow again in London, she clearly rejects him. We cheer with her. But in the book ... she crawls right back into bed with Townsend. Like, what? In the book, she never learns to love Walter. She is willing to be his friend, and this is as far as her emotional acceptance of him goes - she never understands him, though her respect for him may have grown an inch or so, and is almost "relieved" to be rid of him...It seems to be a different Kitty altogether -a bit unsympathetic and cold. She does grow in terms of moral awareness, and is willing to change her life, as influenced by the French nuns. But even though she has the decency to be ashamed of her actions she hasn't grown much emotionally, I think.
And Walter: here is what I preferred in the book: showing his inner life and how truly passionate in love he really was with her (or was he, if he was willing to drag her on his suicide mission?). He's such an interesting character! I wish he were less self-effacing, though.
I was puzzled by his last words: "The dog it was that died." Until I looked up Goldsmith's poem (http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/poems/286.html). I suppose he identified with the dog, who bit the man (who should've died, but didn't). One would have thought he's the man who got bitten. Interesting, and ambiguous - I suppose a typical characteristic of great literature.
Thank you for sharing, teuffi! :-D
Sending this book on to voveryte since kbmarsh asked to be skipped!!
P.S. arrietty, thank you for the postcard!! :-D
sent out the book to voveryte today. Enjoy! :-D
A lovely read, I loved the characters and descriptions. However, I guess I found the movie to be better.
Thanks teuffi for organising the ring!
So far we have:
kiki66 - Germany - Intl
Jotka - Germany - Intl
vaga-bonde - US - US
SLLokabrenna - US - US - no response so far
Book to stay with vaga-bonde until June (unless new US readers willing to send intl join the ring before then)
sharlan - Sweden - Europe
Icila - France - Intl
Readertoo - US - US
thanks for sending it my way - Christmas holidays are on their way so I should have
some time :-)
Even though bookworm-lady kind of warned everybody not to be deceived by its 'classic status' I first thought I might not get into this book.
But then I found myself reading on at night even though I had to get up early
next morning! :-)
Otherwise I can't add anything new to what's already been told so I am just sending the book on to the next in line!
Thanks for the ring. I wouldn't have read this without BC!
And, kiki66, thank you for the interesting photo. Where it was taken if I can ask?
I wouldn't say it's my cup of tea but still interesting, especially the changes in society. It has been less than 100 years since the book appeared and I'm glad that I live now - not then.
The book stays with me until the summer, and will start travelling throughout Europe then.
Now moving on to Icila in France.
I'm glad I didn't see the movie first and I have no intention to do so after reading the different ending.