Cakes and Ale, Chapter Twenty-three

Old man Ashenden arrives in the town of his youth (and the flashbacks). Maugham takes him on a little tour of things, without much success unfortunately—Maugham is too subtle about referencing the flashback (possibly due to the serialization) but he’s also unable to do much with the setting. The town has changed and, even if it hadn’t, Maugham wasn’t about specifics when lushly describing young man Ashenden’s life. Not geographic ones anyway. Oddly, the last paragraph of the chapter is excellent. Ashenden runs into someone who tells him about Edward the author’s life in old age, versus the younger man Ashenden knew. It’s a solid bit of exposition, far more lively and informative than anything else in the chapter.

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