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review 2015-03-21 00:00
The Painted Veil
The Painted Veil - W. Somerset Maugham Another book I read after seeing the film. And another book that wasn't nearly as good as it's adaptation. My problem with the book was that the "love" story between Kitty and Walter never felt resolved—there was never that moment where they finally seemed to forgive each other like there was in the film. I also preferred how in the film, they came to eventually (or what seemed like) care for each other. This did not happen in the book and it left a wide berth between the characters that made it difficult to care about what happened to them. What I did enjoy about it (and the same can be said about the film) is that it's not your typical love story. And the fact that it's set against the backdrop of a cholera pandemic in China makes it all the more engaging. This was a book I wanted to love but simply didn't.
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review 2013-10-28 15:41
The Painted Veil - on the purchasing of reviews and not much about the book (but it was good)
The Painted Veil - W. Somerset Maugham

UPDATE:  I've just had an email from GR informing me that this review was flagged and deleted. I am sorry to lose the comment thread. However, what was interesting was that GR did read the review as they said that they do regularly check Fiverr for this paid review thing and were even now investigating two people. I reposted the review minus the controversial content. I don't know if it is visible to everyone or only friends, but then again, I don't really care.

 

***

 

This is a fake review. It does not reference the author at all except to say he could write rather brilliantly and I did enjoy the book. But let's get on with the fake review.

For those who do not belong to Feedback group, there is a massive thread devoted to GR's new policy (rolled out Friday, of course) of deleting all reviews that reference the author negatively. They are being deleted without informing people until afterwards apparently. But is it just some reviewers who behave badly (in the eyes of Goodreads, not mine) or are some authors doing even worse?

So I posted this in Feedback and I'm posting it here as a fake review because I want people to be aware of this rather pernicious and low way that a tiny minority of authors are availing themselves of.

This site Fiverr is offering for sale reviews, likes, etc to be posted on Goodreads. Obviously no-one but authors are going to pay for these services which go from $5. Some of the people offering the services say they are Goodreads Librarians.

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review 2013-10-02 00:00
The Painted Veil
The Painted Veil - W. Somerset Maugham
The Painted Veil is a story about love, betrayal, infidelity and realization! Each character portrayed in this book appeared very real as the story was. Walter a silent and shy person, falls head over heels in love with Kitty. Knowing all her bad qualities he still marries her, anticipating that may be one day she would change herself for him and love him back. But sadly that never happens and soon he finds about her infidelity towards him and forces her to go to a cholera infected place with him, where people are dying daily from that disease. Having no choice left Kitty agrees. While his intention was to take revenge on her, so that, one day she would die from cholera, but life had different plans for Kitty. In that lonely place Kitty learns about love , life, also about joy in serving people she also comes to know what a great man Walter was with whom she was never considerate or loving. The sudden death of Walter really disappointed me a lot, because I always expected this to be a happy ending with realization on both ends. But to my utter shock it was not! Since, I felt that if life would have given some more time to Kitty and Walter, then Kitty might have eventually fallen in love with him. But life has its own way of teaching things!! Finally I accepted this and moved on with the book because, Kitty’s journey towards peace and realization was not yet completed and when at last I read these words from her-

“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.”

I was satisfied that finally she did learn her lesson though in hardest way possible, yet she did! It’s really difficult to love and hate a character at the same time but really it was inevitable in the case of Kitty Fane. Her stupidity and her lack of maturity really got on my nerves, however I still could not hate her! I absolutely loved W. Somerset Maugham’s writing. It was so neat, to the point with no sluggish part.

After finishing the book I also happened to watch the movie and felt as if- Why did I ever had to watch this movie and just could not be satisfied with the book? No, the movie was definelty not awful, in fact it was like how I wanted this book to be, but still I was unable to like it as much as I loved the book because the movie did not do any justice to the character and their real feelings which was portrayed in this book. It just stole the essence of the book. :(
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review 2013-09-30 02:27
The Painted Veil

 

This book was SO good. I read it for my book club and I wasn't sure what to expect. I had never read it before - I'd never even heard of it, even though the movie came out fairly recently (2006) -, so I really didn't know what I was getting myself into. 

What I loved most was Maugham's writing style. The book reads like a classic, but it moves much faster than most classics and the plot is more blatantly scandalous. It's not 50 Shade of Grey scandalous by any means, but it's not so subtle that you have to guess what's going on - the opening chapter is about an adulterous wife getting caught in the act. Maugham's word choice is exquisite and he's really great at getting inside Kitty's head (Kitty is the main character). She really grows as a person throughout the novel and by the end, she's really redeemed herself (in my opinion, anyway). 

The one thing that I wasn't totally crazy about is that I didn't feel like I really got to know Walter, Kitty's husband. The way that the plot was set up, he SHOULD have been a main character and I feel like the reader should have gotten to know him better. But he's more of a peripheral character, he's just kind of there, despite his major role in the plot. I'm positive that this was intentional. One of the major parts of the story line is that Kitty really doesn't know him, despite the fact that they're married, so perhaps to add to that, Maugham didn't want the reader to really know what was going on in Walter's head either. Even so, I wish that he'd been a little more revealing about Walter's feelings, because he had the potential to be a really interesting character - he's very mysterious. Kitty's pretty much the only character that you REALLY get to know, and I think that's kind of unfortunate. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves classic literature, especially if that person doesn't have time for the lengthy reads that classics usually are. This moves pretty quickly, so I think that even a teacher would have time to read it - I read it as a senior in college who works takes 18 credits, works 20 hours a week, is in a sorority, AND is in the process of working on 3 research projects haha. So I kind of feel like if I had time for this one, anyone would. Plus, it's just a genuinely amazing story. It has drama, tragedy, scandal - this book's definitely worth a try.

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review 2013-08-28 00:00
The Painted Veil - W. Somerset Maugham How can I be reasonable? To me our love was everything and you were my whole life. It is not very pleasant to realize that to you it was only an episode.

With "The Painted Veil" Maugham presents an intricate study of isolation, appreciation, religion and foreign ways. He also creates a tale of the utter despair and destruction that is love. A story with an abundance of layers, symbols and ethics hidden beneath the most simple language imaginable. Quite an achievement.

Walter is perhaps my favorite person in this novel. Not because he is particularly likable or reasonable - but because he is blinded by love, self-destructing and unconditional love. He cannot bear to lose his Kitty without losing himself as well. I liked the dramatic scenes of confrontation between him and Kitty, and I loved the accompanying scent of vague madness. A lot of this does however hide between the lines, as Walter is repressing every single emotion, and does not allow himself to speak.
Kitty was a bit harder for me to like. Her character is perfectly understandable and well-known, but it doesn't really come to life. She is forever torn between passion and appreciation, lust and duty, and even though she did develop a sweet fascination for religion, she never really managed to see herself clearly.

And this is another critique of the plot: the religious parts felt odd, misplaced and a bit insincere. Most of all, it felt like filling rather than meaning; Kitty could easily have found her conclusion in the seclusion alone.
I also feel like Kitty is living in such a fascinating landscape with death, drama and life raging on around her. I wish Maugham had explored the surroundings more.

She did not know why it seemed to her so tragic to cry in her sleep.

I am torn, and I am impressed. Maugham's discreet critisicm of women's education and his forceful love example is extraordinarily written. With its many hidden motives and vivid symbolism, this book is quite a gem. The theme is lovely - but the characters and some parts of the plot are not really anything worth speaking about, at all.

I am soon going to watch the movie, and for that I am excited. It looks beautiful.
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