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If all else perish, there will remain a storyteller's world...that is exclusively and forever Maugham, a world of verandah and prahu which we enter as well as we do that of Conan Doyle's Baker Street, and with a happy and eternal homecoming * The Times * Maugham teases out buried secrets as mesmerising as the heat and as menacing as the surrounding jungle * Observer * Ideally you should listen to these stories lying in a long cane chair on the veranda of a dark bungalow sipping a gin and bitters - not that Maugham's writing needs any further atmospheric embellishment. Like Kipling and Conrad, Maugham transports us to a long-since-vanished and distinctly non-PC world of hard-drinking colonial planters and traders and their frosty memsahibs * Guardian *
William Somerset Maugham was born in 1874 and lived in Paris until he was ten. He was educated at King's School, Canterbury, and at Heidelberg University. He spent some time at St. Thomas' Hospital with the idea of practising medicine, but the success of his first novel, Liza of Lambeth, published in 1897, won him over to literature. Of Human Bondage, the first of his masterpieces, came out in 1915, and with the publication in 1919 of The Moon and Sixpence his reputation as a novelist was established. At the same time his fame as a successful playwright and writer was being consolidated with acclaimed productions of various plays and the publication of several short story collections. His other works include travel books, essays, criticism and the autobiographical The Summing Up and A Writer's Notebook. In 1927 Somerset Maugham settled in the South of France and lived there until his death in 1965.