The story is told by Willie Ashenden, a character who previously appeared in Maugham’s short-story collection Ashenden. A novelist, Ashenden is befriended by. Full text of “Cakes And Ale Maugham” ORG ELECTRONIC REPRODUCTION PROHIBITED CAKES AND ALE knew that nothing short of a downright “go. Complete summary of W. Somerset Maugham’s Cakes and Ale. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of Cakes and Ale.
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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Cakes and Ale by W. Cakes and Ale by W. 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 wifeRosie.
The lively, Cakes and Ale is a delicious satire of London literary society between the Wars. 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. Paperbackpages. Published December 5th by Vintage first published Blackstable, Kent, England United Kingdom.
To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Cakes and Aleplease sign up. Lists with This Book. Jul 02, Bill Kerwin rated it really liked it. This is an entertaining book, memorable for the way Maugham gleefully skewers the hypocrites and lays bare the doubleness of both sinner and writer with the scalpel of clinical observation.
The major fault of the book, though, is that Maugham never seems to grasp fully the connections between hypocrisy, animal weakness, and artistic calculation–all incidences of the failure of people to achieve—or society to tolerate—a fully integrated human personality.
Maugham expends what little sympathy he has on the socially despised sexual liberality of Rosie, the character who most clearly reflects his own hidden life.
But the hypocrites like Kear and the cold, calculating writers like Driffield and Ashenden require of their creator an equal understanding, and Maugham grants them at worst mere sarcasm and at best a prominent, well-lighted place in his Exhibition of Human Contradictions.
I suspect Maugham possessed neither the universal sympathy nor the abstract intelligence to perceive the connections between his characters, how each strives to reconcile personality with performance, private desires with public space.
Because of this deficiency, Cakes and Ale –despite its considerable virtues–remains a precariously balanced construction of satire and sympathy, and therefore falls somewhat short of being a great book. View all 24 comments. Why oh why have I not read anything by Maugham before? Not having done so is my loss, and one which I must continue to remedy without delay. I decided to read one of Maugham’s novels because I knew from Gordon Bowker ‘s biography of George Orwell that Orwell was a great admirer of his writing.
This particular novel suggested itself because of its subject a satire on literary London in the early 20th century and because it’s apparently the novel for which Maugham himself most wanted to be remem Why oh why have I not read anything by Maugham before? This particular novel suggested itself because of its subject a satire on literary London in the early 20th century and because it’s apparently the novel for which Maugham himself most wanted to be remembered. Maugham’s crystal clear prose and his wry, ironic wit made the audiobook version of this novel an absolute joy to listen to.
It has some great characters and an interesting structure which moves back and forward in time.
Parts of it – particularly at the maugbam – were laugh-out-loud funny. I now understand why Orwell thought so highly of Maugham. It’s wonderful to have another prolific writer to explore in depth. View all 12 comments. May 20, Cheryl rated it really liked it Shelves: She had the serenity of a summer evening when the light fades slowly from the unclouded sky. There is something luscious about Maugham’s beguiling sentences and vocabulary that had me underlining sentences, journaling through the margins, and circling words.
Still, I tread through a few of his works because one never She had the serenity of a summer evening ake the light fades slowly from the mauggham sky. Still, I mauhham through a few of his works because one never knows what one will find. Cakes and Ale is the juxtaposition of social conventions and free spiritedness; it is the parallelism of high society tea gathering and working class society after-work bar huddle.
The book both explains and disdains the idea of judgement and societal frameworks that seemed to maugyam a person in those days and yet it reveals the stereotypes that unfortunately, sometimes unveil themselves in the one ajd. But who is the fearless, arresting, and incorrigible woman Maugham develops into a nuanced female character?
This is who I followed in the novel: Rosie Driffield, the mysterious being. Expecting much of the narrator, Willie Ashenden, is a bit heartbreaking because he is dull and judgmental, until he talks about Rosie. Alroy Kear, on the other hand, is a famous writer who must write a biography of his mentor, Edward Driffied; so aside from admiring his ambition, there is little of Kear to know.
Finally, there is Rosie and her husband Edward Driffield the writer whose life story is outlined.
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Driffield’s story without Rosie is not too meaningful, especially since he wrote his many books while with her. He is as mysterious and avant-garde as Rosie, a man who seems to pay no mind to what society thinks of him. Yet with his second wife, Edward becomes a different man who lives the life expected of a celebrated author. His new wife, who has organized the notes for Driffield’s biography, does not want any mention of the former wife.
But hidden between the words spoken, is an intriguing and melancholic story that, if not revealed, does not make for an authentic biography.
She glowed, but palely, like the moon rather than the sun, or if it was like the sun it was like the sun in the white mist of mugham. How does a woman, a former barmaid, live a life of unconventionality within a society that draws a clear line between ‘gentlemen’ and working men, a society that does not allow the vicar’s nephew to associate with a novelist?
I’m drawing a blank on which classic female Rosie resembles, but perhaps in some small way she is unique: Every now and then, the narration sneaks into sensory detail that is engaging, the way the story moves is fulfilling, and the omissions later revealed are maugha – just what one would expect from Maugham. Cwkes all 14 comments. Jun 21, Trevor rated it it was amazing Shelves: This maufham was a pure delight.
Maugham is such an cxkes writer and although he did not think himself a great writer, I believe he does have his moments of greatness. I loved Of Human Bondage and this one again uses material from his own life yet again — particularly stuff to do with his childhood spent with his vicar uncle and his aunt in the country. The book starts off with a bit of a pattern to it. The book is written in first person singular — we will talk a bit more about that later — This book was a pure delight.
Cakes and Ale
There then follows a digression caks the nature of friendships with writers a not terribly kind discussion. There is then the meeting itself where it becomes fairly clear that this writer is interested in what the I in the book knows about another writer who has fairly recently died. The I in the book had grown up in a village where the dead writer had als part of his early life and then went back to in his final years.
However, about the only thing the I can remember is that the dead writer had taught him how to ride a bicycle. They part, with the other writer less maughm happy with the outcome of their chat, and this sets the I mautham the novel thinking back to his childhood and in particular his curious relationship with the dead novelist and his wife — which turns out to be much more involved than he had admitted to the other writer. This pattern is then repeated. I find jealousy, particularly sexual jealousy, to be a fascinating theme in novels.
There was a time when I could be painfully jealous — but over the years I have decided that jealousy is a pointless and stupid emotion. All the same, msugham is a beast we are best not to trifle with. If we can learn nothing from Othello, we ought to be able to learn at least that. This is not your usual cautionary tale about jealousy though.
In fact, this is nothing like your usual tale about anything.
The idea that perhaps women might actually even enjoy sex may have been deeply shocking, in fact, probably is deeply shocking to some mauggam. At least, people both at the time and now are and were prepared to pretend that such an idea was deeply shocking. There are many quotable quotes and I do like a book with lots of quotable quotes. But the best thing about it was that it never seemed to have to try too hard. Like I said, it was dealing with a theme that would have been quite controversial in and it did so in a clear, up front and interesting way.
Forster, from which I learned that the only way to write novels was like Mr E.
Full text of “Cakes And Ale Maugham”
The first person singular is a very useful device for this limited purpose. I enjoyed this book very much. Not as much as Of Human Bondagebut enough — more than enough. View all 3 comments. Jul 09, Werner rated andd it was ok Recommends it for: Maugham fans; maughzm of modern English literature. Recommended to Werner by: It was a common read in one of my groups.
This particular book was adopted as a common read in one of my Goodreads groups, which is how I came to read it previously, I’d actually never heard of it.
Cakes and Ale – Wikipedia
My previous exposure to Maugham’s work was only through a couple of his short stories. As an introduction to his long fiction, this novella was perhaps not as successful as might have been wished; I didn’t rate it as highly as a couple of my Goodreads friends in the group did.
The Goodreads description for the book is reasonably accurate, th This particular book was adopted as a common read in one of my Goodreads groups, which is how I came to read it previously, I’d actually never heard of it.