Humanity > pleasing plots in W. Somerset Maugham’s The Painted Veil

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, Recommended


The beautiful Kitty marries boring Walter Fane in a hurry after her sister beats her to an advantageous match, but is swept off their feet by the charismatic assistant colonial secretary on their arrival in Hong Kong. When Walter discovers her infidelity he takes her away to a town gripped by a cholera epidemic, where Kitty gradually discovers life and her very self to be more than they seemed.

The characters in this book are portrayed marvellously. We follow Kitty’s viewpoint, and her development from a woman obsessed by society and fairly shallow ideas into something more is intriguing: but every character we meet is real, suprising and complex.