Cakes and Ale, Chapter Eight

It’s a long chapter in terms of present action—Maugham skips over the protagonist’s return to school, concentrating instead only on what young Willie does around town on break. There’s no resolution to the woman’s indiscretion; in fact, Maugham ups it with the narrator discovering the woman having tea with her lover (and her husband and some square). There’s no time for the narrator to reflect, which seems odd and completely manipulative, because Maugham does a tea party with some other upper class folks to finish off the chapter. Again, Cakes and Ale is a smooth, engaging read. The narration is excellent. But the narrative’s not compelling, it’s pleasing, which might make sense given its origins as a magazine serial.