Cakes and Ale, Chapter Two

It’s a very fast chapter. Much faster than the first, though about the same length. However, instead of the narrator thinking about this author fellow, he’s going and having dinner with him at the club and talking about their fellow authors. Cakes and Ale is interesting to read after The Summing Up; the narrator of Cakes is very similar to the narrator of Summing Up. The difference is Cakes is fiction, Summing Up is not. During the dialogue back and forth, it’s especially easy to pick out the narrator—even without dialogue tags—just because it sounds like Maugham. There’s not much character to the narrator yet, so he might not be important. There’s also not much narrative yet—the meal goes by without the other author explaining why he needed to see the narrator, something Maugham dwells on as he closes the chapter. The pace isn’t exactly slow as much as meandering. Maugham ends the chapter with a paragraph about the narrator’s lodgings, which is simultaneously pointless and perfect.

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