Cakes and Ale, Chapter Twenty-six

Maugham really likes the revelation ending. He sort of did it with Narrow Corner and he definitely goes with it here. It’s not a terrible ending or even a cheap one so much as an indifferent one. Maugham lets the novel get away from Ashenden, answering questions the character might have had but not ones Maugham’s engendered in the reader. In fact, he starts the last chapter traditionally—promising some resolution to the greater story—and then deals with one aspect of it. It’s somewhat interesting how he deals with flashback and narration, but it’s not a great chapter. It’s a not great finish to a problematic novel. It’s too bad, because that flashback stuff was occasionally phenomenal.