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The Painted Veil
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Manufacturer: Vintage
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5

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Binding: Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 813
EAN: 9780307277770
ISBN: 0307277771
Label: Vintage
Manufacturer: Vintage
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 256
Publication Date: 2006-11-14
Publisher: Vintage
Release Date: 2006-11-14
Studio: Vintage

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Editorial Reviews:

Set in England and Hong Kong in the 1920s, The Painted Veil is the story of the beautiful but love-starved Kitty Fane. When her husband discovers her adulterous affair, he forces her to accompany him to the heart of a cholera epidemic. Stripped of the British society of her youth and the small but effective society she fought so hard to attain in Hong Kong, she is compelled by her awakening conscience to reassess her life and learn how to love.

The Painted Veil is a beautifully written affirmation of the human capacity to grow, to change, and to forgive.


Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: The Painted Veil
Comment: The Painted Veil is a moving book, offering details that the movie, as is usual, does not. However, I think this is one of the few times that seeing the movie actually complements Somerset Maugham's book. There are a few differences. For instance, in the book the Fane's begin their married life in Hong Kong; in the movie it is Shanghai. Overall, the movie brings warmth and color to the story.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: Quick-paced story of a woman's transformation
Comment: After her husband discovers her adulterous affair, Kitty is forced to accompany him to a cholera-infested city of mainland China. Surrounded by death, Kitty recognizes her own poor character and undergoes a personal transformation. As her husband works to eradicate the cholera epidemic from dawn to dusk every day, Kitty is left with plenty of time for self-reflection. Eventually, she learns the benefits of hard work and comes to terms with her marriage. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The story was quick-paced, and I connected with the strong female protagonist, especially after she gained insight into her prior shallowness. I can see why some consider this book to be a feminist work. I also enjoyed the complex relationship between Kitty and her husband. I only wish Maugham had used his exotic settings (Hong Kong and then mainland China) to more effect. Interestingly, this novel has been adapted for the screen three times (in 1934, 1957, and 2006). Read this one.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: Heartbreaking!
Comment: The story begins with the very unlikable Kitty Fane. She is selfish, vain, and is bored with her husband. After an adulterous affair, Kitty travels with her husband to an area stricken by cholera.

Kitty begins to work in the nearby convent while the nuns nurse those stricken with the disease. During this time, Kitty attempts to repair her broken marriage. Just when she begins to make amends, tragedy strikes. Kitty is left alone to face her demons.

I enjoyed watching Kitty's character evolve throughout the story. I first noticed the change when she began embracing the orphans in her care instead of being repulsed by them. She begins to understand that, in the face of so much suffering, her problems are very small. Kitty begins to empathize with others and make better choices. In the end, Kitty is stronger than she realizes and her tragedy is really the beginning of a new life.

I was captivated from the first page to the last.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Vintage Maugham
Comment: The Painted Veil pits amiable but unscrupulous fools against tormented souls, has a duly sarcastic starting-point, and is set in far-away, warlord-era China; in short, it has the ingredients for vintage Maugham.

The book begins in Hong Kong, with an adultery scene. Kitty Fane is beautiful, shallow, and calculating. She soon finds her match in Charles Townsend, a vain and cynical but popular colonial official - and in her own husband, the lover's very photo-negative, who drags her through plague-ridden country in revenge. The story is that of her spiritual transformation. It can even be read to show women's superior ability for moral elevation.

The Painted Veil is full of Maugham's innumerable human insights, and it is filled with danger, physical and psychological. This is an easy to read, absorbing novel. Readers expecting lush visions of warlord-era China to jump from the page, though, will need to look in another place. The "native" country is distant, dream-like and morbid, seen through the eyes of the heroine, whose preoccupations are elsewhere. It is only peered at from the height of a curtained palanquin. Indeed, the novel paints the superficial and self-centred expatriate community of Hong-Kong much more than it does labouring China; as such, it probably remained true to life until very recent times.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5
Summary: Not what you expect
Comment: I saw the movie first and loved it, then went out bought the book and read it. Hated the book!!!! It was nothing like the movie, relationships that you thought would be described better in the book did not even exist! If you have seen the movie and love it don't read the book it will ruin your experience. However, if you have not yet seen the movie then you will probablly enjoy the book.


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