"Maugham is a catty delight." The Boston Globe
Cakes and Aleby W. Somerset Maugham
Cakes and Ale is a delicious satire of London literary society between the Wars. Social climber Alroy Kear is flattered when he is selected by Edward Driffield's wife to pen the official biography of her lionized novelist husband, and determined to write a bestseller. But then Kear discovers the great novelist's voluptuous muse (and unlikely first wife), Rosie. The lively, loving heroine once gave Driffield enough material to last a lifetime, but now her memory casts an embarrissing shadow over his career and respectable image. Wise, witty, deeply satisfying, Cakes and Ale is Maugham at his best.
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W. Somerset Maugham lived in France and England. He died in 1965.
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With satire and wit, Maugham tells us of types of digressions in novels that most bore him, and then proceeds to do exactly that which purportedly disturbs him most. A mysterious meeting with a fellow author sets Ashendon on a mental journey through his past acquaintance with the Driffeilds. Far from being the disinterested youth of the casual acquaintance with the great author and his wife we take him to be, Ashendon's knowledge of the couple is deep and multi-layered. He is unable to contribute anything substantial to his friend's upcoming biography, his knowledge of pivotal events far exceeds all others. He says little of Driffield, and we think Driffield to be unaware of the comings and goings of the one closest to him. The suspense builds, and everything we have read until this point is seen from a totally new perspective -- that of our ever-present man on the scene, Ashendon. Not to be missed.