Cakes and Ale, Chapter Sixteen

Okay, so I’m not sure anyone wants to read a sex scene written from old man Ashenden’s recollection. I mean, Maugham even comments—through Ashenden’s first person—on how inappropriate first person singular is for the book. Novel. Serial. Whatever. Then there’s a paragraph about how Ashenden tried to learn how to write. Otherwise, the chapter—featuring young man Ashenden half seducing Rosie, half getting her pity—is almost Hemingway-esque. Short sentences. Active sentences. Lots about what they ate. It’s kind of weird and also unlikable. And problematic given the novel being a present day recollection of the past events. I mean, presumably Ashenden was taken with the encounter and greatly remembers a number of details, but he recalls them without passion. It’s a very strange sex scene. Uncomfortable. Or petting scene. There’s no sex, thank goodness. Just some kissing, petting, and ogling. Fingers crossed I never have to read another Maugham sex scene again.

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