The Painted Veil

by W. Somerset Maugham | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: Global Overview for this book
Registered by shimi of Nordre Aker bydel, Oslo fylke Norway on 5/6/2007
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18 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by shimi from Nordre Aker bydel, Oslo fylke Norway on Sunday, May 06, 2007
Synopsis:
'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.

Journal Entry 2 by shimi from Nordre Aker bydel, Oslo fylke Norway on Thursday, June 21, 2007
I'm celebrating 1 year of bookcrossing by sending out some surprise RABCKs!
Happy reading! I hope you will enjoy the book! :)

Journal Entry 3 by teuffi from Great Bookham, Surrey United Kingdom on Sunday, July 01, 2007
Received this book as a RABCK on Thursday, what a lovely surprise on a very grey day! Thank you shimi!

Got a few books to read before but will read it as soon as I can!

Journal Entry 4 by teuffi from Great Bookham, Surrey United Kingdom on Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Finally got round to reading this book and loved it! Having seen the movie before reading the book, I was a bit worried but there is in my opinion no comparison possible between the book and the movie.

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!

Journal Entry 5 by teuffi from Great Bookham, Surrey United Kingdom on Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Participating in the ring:

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!

Journal Entry 6 by teuffi at per Post, Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Thursday, February 12, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (2/13/2009 UTC) at per Post, Bookring -- Controlled Releases

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The book is now on its way to Spain!

Journal Entry 7 by wingBookworm-ladywing from Madrid, Madrid Spain on Thursday, February 19, 2009
Thank you, Teuffi; this book was waiting for me last evening when I returned home from work.
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!
Eva

Journal Entry 8 by wingBookworm-ladywing from Madrid, Madrid Spain on Thursday, April 02, 2009
I am currently reading it, and will ask for Tsjara's address.
Thanks for sharing, Teuffi!
Eva

Journal Entry 9 by wingBookworm-ladywing from Madrid, Madrid Spain on Monday, April 06, 2009
Well, I read this novel in a very short time. Don't let its classic status fool you; this is a real page-turner.

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.

Some quotations:
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...


Journal Entry 10 by wingBookworm-ladywing at by mail, A Bookray -- Controlled Releases on Monday, April 13, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (4/13/2009 UTC) at by mail, A Bookray -- Controlled Releases

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Sent this morning to Tsjara, in The Netherlands.
Enjoy, just like I did!
Eva

Journal Entry 11 by Tsjara from Zaandam, Noord-Holland Netherlands on Saturday, April 18, 2009
Arrived here safely yesterday. Thanks for sending Bookworm_lady and teuffi for hosting the bookring :)
I haven't seen the film, but I look forward to reading it.

Journal Entry 12 by Tsjara from Zaandam, Noord-Holland Netherlands on Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I finished it a few days ago and enjoyed it a lot. The story reads quite easily, which surprised me a bit (even though Bookworm-lady said that it was a real page-turner)..
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 :)

Journal Entry 13 by Tsjara at Heiloo, Noord-Holland Netherlands on Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (5/13/2009 UTC) at Heiloo, Noord-Holland Netherlands

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Sent to Soffita today.
Enjoy!

Journal Entry 14 by wingsoffitta1wing from Ipswich, Suffolk United Kingdom on Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Thanks for the book, arrived 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.

Journal Entry 15 by bearyfriend from Singapore, Singapore Singapore on Saturday, June 13, 2009
My first Maugham book arrived, thanks for sharing and sending all the way. Seems to be based on a true story. Book is in good condition except the first page came off - the author intro page. I'll be careful reading. Have pm'd the next in line for address.

Journal Entry 16 by bearyfriend from Singapore, Singapore Singapore on Sunday, June 28, 2009
Sending off to cyber-librarian. Have enjoyed reading and now going to watch the vcd. I've thought that true feelings will reveal slowly in adversity but in the end Kitty still didn't love Walter, only that she did see him in a new light and had come to her own spiritual realisation about her own shallowness and foolishness.

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.

Journal Entry 17 by cyber-librarian from Cary, North Carolina USA on Friday, July 10, 2009
I received this book today from bearyfriend in Singapore ... as part of this bookring. I'm reading a bookray in front of it, then will read this next.

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.

Journal Entry 18 by cyber-librarian from Cary, North Carolina USA on Thursday, July 23, 2009
I finished reading this book on 7/20. I greatly enjoyed it ... and find it remarkable that Maugham came up with this story from a few Dante lines. It held my attention as I was so curious as to which way the story would develop and how things would turn out.

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."

Journal Entry 19 by cyber-librarian at bookcrosser, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Thursday, July 23, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (7/23/2009 UTC) at bookcrosser, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases

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I'm mailing this book today to ealasaidmae in WV ... as part of this bookring.

DC #0306-1070-0000-8356-1259

Journal Entry 20 by ealasaidmae from New Orleans, Louisiana USA on Sunday, July 26, 2009
It's here! There's one page loose and I am going to leave it because I am not good with these things. I hope someone further down the line will know better how to fix it.

Journal Entry 21 by ealasaidmae from New Orleans, Louisiana USA on Monday, August 10, 2009
Isn't is amazing how a great writer can take such a commonplace theme and turn it into something wonderful? I've never been disappointed by W Somerset Maugham. Thanks for sharing this one, teuffi. I have lauraloo's address so this will be on its way very soon.

Journal Entry 22 by ealasaidmae at St. Albans, West Virginia USA on Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (8/11/2009 UTC) at St. Albans, West Virginia USA

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on its way to lauraloo29 in Canada

Journal Entry 23 by lauraloo29 from Edmonton, Alberta Canada on Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Arrived safe and sound today. I'm reading a book, but this will be next. Thank you!

Journal Entry 24 by lauraloo29 from Edmonton, Alberta Canada on Thursday, August 27, 2009
This was an okay read for me. I found it dragged in places. I didn't have much sympathy for Kitty, or even Walter. I hardly even noticed him, Kitty's voice was so loud for me.

I'll be sending this book on its way to Australia this weekend. Thank you for sharing!

Journal Entry 25 by Arrietty from Adelaide, South Australia Australia on Tuesday, September 08, 2009
hi all,
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.

Journal Entry 26 by Arrietty from Adelaide, South Australia Australia on Thursday, September 24, 2009
Well I finished this book about a week ago and thoroughly enjoyed it! Even though it was written in 1925, it was so fresh and real as if it were set in the modern world. Somerset Maugham really understood people and was especially good at knowing how women felt and how they would react to certain situations.

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).

Journal Entry 27 by kalise from St. Florian bei Linz, Oberösterreich Austria on Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Received the book here in Austria! Thank you so much Arrietty for sending it & teuffi for offering this bookring! Looking forward to reading ASAP.

Journal Entry 28 by kalise from St. Florian bei Linz, Oberösterreich Austria on Sunday, October 04, 2009
This book is a real treat! I gobbled it up in one sitting. My first Somerset Maugham, and I will certainly return for more!

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









Journal Entry 29 by kalise at Linz, Oberösterreich Austria on Monday, October 05, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (10/5/2009 UTC) at Linz, Oberösterreich Austria

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sent out the book to voveryte today. Enjoy! :-D

Journal Entry 30 by voveryte from Woolwich, Greater London United Kingdom on Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Received today! Looking forward!

Journal Entry 31 by voveryte from Woolwich, Greater London United Kingdom on Sunday, January 10, 2010
Finished already before Christmas..
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!

Journal Entry 32 by teuffi from Great Bookham, Surrey United Kingdom on Saturday, January 23, 2010
The book made it safely back home (a little while ago actually already!), thanks to everyone who participated in this ring!

Journal Entry 33 by teuffi at Great Bookham, Surrey United Kingdom on Thursday, November 12, 2015
Setting up a new bookray.

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



Journal Entry 34 by kiki66 at Gauting, Bayern Germany on Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Well, and here it is!

thanks for sending it my way - Christmas holidays are on their way so I should have
some time :-)

Journal Entry 35 by kiki66 at Gauting, Bayern Germany on Wednesday, January 06, 2016
Well, I must say I am astonished how much I enjoyed this book.
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!

Journal Entry 36 by Jotka at Cottbus, Brandenburg Germany on Monday, January 18, 2016
Book is here, thank you for sending it. I see there is also a film but I'm going to read the book first.
And, kiki66, thank you for the interesting photo. Where it was taken if I can ask?
February 2016
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.

Journal Entry 37 by Jotka at Cottbus, Brandenburg Germany on Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Released 3 yrs ago (2/19/2016 UTC) at Cottbus, Brandenburg Germany

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Since Friday on its way to vaga-bonde. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 38 by wingvaga-bondewing at Port-au-Prince, Ouest Haiti on Saturday, March 05, 2016
The novel is here with me in Haiti, via the US. Thank you so much Jotka for sending it, along with everything else: a card, a bag, a pen, and a small origami crane tucked in the middle of the book. What a treat!!!

Journal Entry 39 by wingvaga-bondewing at Port-au-Prince, Ouest Haiti on Thursday, March 31, 2016
A taste of life in the British colonies, the novel seems dated but is a good description of how narrow the life of women was in this little society. I am happy to have read this classic, thanks for the bookray teuffi.
The book stays with me until the summer, and will start travelling throughout Europe then.

Journal Entry 40 by wingvaga-bondewing at Port-au-Prince, Ouest Haiti on Saturday, June 18, 2016

Released 3 yrs ago (6/21/2016 UTC) at Port-au-Prince, Ouest Haiti

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Finally going to sharlan, Sweden, who has been very patient waiting for this book... Enjoy!

Journal Entry 41 by sharlan at Djura, Dalarna Sweden on Sunday, June 26, 2016
The book has arrived in Sweden! Thank you teuffi for setting up a ring, and vaga-bonde for posting it.

Journal Entry 42 by sharlan at Djura, Dalarna Sweden on Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Released 3 yrs ago (7/27/2016 UTC) at Djura, Dalarna Sweden

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As others have pointed out, the story feels very modern despite being written in the 20s. I really enjoyed it, and even more so since it's set in China, and in the strange world that was colonial Hong Kong. Well worth reading!

Now moving on to Icila in France.

Journal Entry 43 by wingIcilawing at Nantes, Pays de la Loire France on Tuesday, August 02, 2016
What a well travelled book ! Thank you sharlan.

Journal Entry 44 by wingIcilawing at Nantes, Pays de la Loire France on Monday, August 08, 2016
I really enjoyed it. I couldn't say better than that's in the previous entries.
I'm glad I didn't see the movie first and I have no intention to do so after reading the different ending.

Journal Entry 45 by wingIcilawing at Nantes, Pays de la Loire France on Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Released 3 yrs ago (8/10/2016 UTC) at Nantes, Pays de la Loire France

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On its way to Texas. Enjoy !

Journal Entry 46 by wingReadertoowing at Sugar Land, Texas USA on Thursday, January 19, 2017
I received this book several months ago but it got lost in a stack of BTBR and I neglected to journal it. My apologies to Icila along with a big thank you for sending this all the way from France! I saw the movie last year and even though it was a bit sad and forlorn it was very interesting and I'm looking forward to reading the book. :)

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