The Painted Veil, Chapter One

It’s a short chapter, not even two full pages in my collected edition, featuring married Kitty worried her husband Walter is about to interrupt her and her lover. Unnamed lover at this point. There’s a lot of dialogue and the occasional action, but Maugham’s really going for mood and tension and he does it. The novel’s from 1925, so before Cakes and Ale, Narrow Corner, Razor’s Edge, but after Of Human Bondage. There’s a suddenness to the dialogue-heavy approach. While Maugham could’ve been stagy with it, he’s not. The tension is hushed and abrupt. It’s a fine open.

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