Monday, 30 June 2014

The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham

Some of us look for the Way in opium and some in God, some of us in whiskey and some in love. It is all the same Way and it leads nowhither.

This is a sad story. But it shows us a growth of a personality and that’s kind of story I like.

This book hooked me from the very first line and I read it greedily. But as soon as I found out that it differs from the movie my interest kind of faded. I couldn’t fight the uncomfortable for me feeling that the movie was better. In my opinion Kitty and Walter’s relationship had no point because they didn’t lead anywhere. I can’t get why one would describe these tragic relationships when Kitty didn’t love him after all. That’s kind of sadistic. 

But I was wrong. This relationship meant something. It taught Kitty so much about life and about cost – cost of everything: people, things, even life itself. She realized that it would be better for her to love Walter. Everything would be easier, more right. But in one thing the books definitely wins over the movie. The book strives to show us some kind of feministic ideal of a woman – woman-human, woman-personality, woman equal to man, not a beggar but an independent human being. For that Kitty’s speech at the end I am willing to forgive all the differences between the book and the movie. Nevertheless the ideal for me would be the combination of movie’s romanticism and woman’s view on life in the book.

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.

All in all, the book is really sad, but I can’t say its depressive. It’s very lifelike and Maugham does it right again. He could use his extremely penetrating view on things and people to describe the most accurate pictures. He knew the nature of people’s deeds and he could predict them. He understood woman and could speak as a woman in his book and that was the most admirable his feature for me. Woman’s emotions, thoughts, deeds were depicted as if they were written by woman herself. Great job, really.

But for those of you who don’t want to go deeply into philosophical view on life I recommend watching a film.

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