The Gentleman in the Parlour: A Record of a Journey from

  • Paperback
  • 300 pages
  • The Gentleman in the Parlour: A Record of a Journey from Rangoon to Haiphong (Armchair Traveller Series)
  • W. Somerset Maugham
  • English
  • 01 May 2016
  • 9781557782168

10 thoughts on “The Gentleman in the Parlour: A Record of a Journey from Rangoon to Haiphong (Armchair Traveller Series)

  1. Chrissie Chrissie says:

    W Somerset Maugham writes here of his travels in Southeast Asia in 1922 1923 Not until 1930 was the book published He mixes fact with fiction He did travel from Burma through Thailand and Cambodia to present day Vietnam departing by ship to Hong Kong but that he traveled with his partner Gerald Haxton is not once mentioned Does this truly matter? I don’t think so Many authors have left out such information before Maugham does seem to honestly reveal what he saw and experienced both the good and the bad frankly admitting his own shortcomings and stating clearly his preferences and personal interests There is fact There is fiction and some information is simply left out Beginning in Burma the route taken is via Rangoon Pagan Mandalay Amarapura and Kengtung in northeastern Burma on to Thailand visiting Ayutthaya and Wat Suthat in Bangkok on to Cambodia visiting Phnom Penh Kep and of course Angkor Wat on to present day Vietnam visiting Saigon Hue Turan Hanoi and Haiphong and finally departure to Hong Kong He travels by train mule riverboat and for a short while by car He shies away from the big cities He visits places than those mentioned but you can see from those named his route No pictures being available I visited each via internet Some of the places in Burma will take you breath away Maugham talks with those he meets along the way Interesting characters An Italian priest a pudgy Belgian colonel a circus owner Monsieur le Gouverneur of a French colony who needed a wife and fast Maugham runs into an acuaintance from his schooldays when he was studying to be a doctor We are given a string of stories Stories that are alternately amusing interesting or philosophical in tone In Bangkok he comes down with malaria and we hear what the proprietress of the hotel whispers to the doctor—he must be moved from her hotel before he dies He refuses opium because that he had tried before in Singapore In Ayutthaya he is worn thin by the multitude of Buddhas shown him and he says so Some of the stories are of course interesting than others Some will appeal to one reader and less to another Maugham even throws in an invented fairy tale which I found delightfully funny It is the stories some real and some fictional that will determine how much you enjoy the book The book is less a travel guide than a description of what Maugham experienced as he made this trip Right at the beginning he indicates his view regarding the importance of facts and figures He meets up with a Czechoslovakian who proudly states He is a mine of information Maughan asks him what he aims to do with all this information clearly indicating his disdain Maugham tells his readers that he will not provide us with a list of the species of birds and animals encountered nor a scientific recounting of the flora He admits he has little interest in the history of places and he is no politician What does interest him are cultural differences for example between the English and the French behavioral differences between those of the East and those of the West reticence versus incessant talk the value of silence just plain ordinary people and Maugham exceptionally well paints pictures through words Such pictures enable a reader to grasp the feel the atmosphere of a place He does this through lyrical prose A night spent on a sampan is delightfully depicted—we feel the roll of the boat under our own bodies hear the gurgling and lapping of the water at the boat’s edge see the colors as they fade from the night sky to be replaced by an array of brilliant starsThe audiobook is narrated by Philip Bird It is very well performed I have given the narration four stars He captures wonderfully how an Italian or a French person might speak English He is fluent in French He intones in such a way that a listener hears both the lyricism and humor in the lines Nothing is unclear and it is simple to follow My ratings of Maugham’s booksThen and Now 5 starsMrs Craddock 4 starsCakes and Ale 4 starsThe Painted Veil 4 starsThe Verger 4 starsLiza of Lambeth 3 starsThe Razor's Edge 3 starsThe Gentleman in the Parlour A Record of a Journey from Rangoon to Haiphong 3 starsThe Magician 3 starsUp at the Villa 3 starsChristmas Holiday 3 starsTheatre 2 starsThe Moon and Sixpence 2 starsOf Human Bondage 2 starsThe Merry Go Round 1 star

  2. Mark Mark says:

    Maugham was not known as a travel writer he wrote novels But he did travel to exotic places in an era when travel was grand and everyplace was exotic and he wrote about it This book is the story of several trips One up the Irrawady river to Mandalay in Burma then a trek across the Shan mountains into what was then Siam after that down the Mekong to Saigon and up then up coast to Hue in Vietnam I enjoyed reading it because I just got back from Burma and saw both the Irrawady and the Shan mountains But I also enjoyed reading it because Maugham is so funny so typically English yet not His descriptions are enjoyable and you feel like you are there with him enjloying that gin and tonic But what he does best is tell the stories of the people he meets He is really a fiction writer after all He tells funny stories about the man who tries to run away from his fiance of 7 years She follows him all over Asia until she finally catches him and marries him on the spot And he tells sad stories like the sixty year old Italian priest living in the Shan mountains who rarely saw Westerners and would never see Italy again Maugham gives us all these characters as a gift and through them we understand these exotic places we went to even better

  3. Chris Chris says:

    The Gentleman in the Parlour by W Somerset MaughamA single man?In 1922 William Somerset Maugham by then already a very successful playwright short story teller and novelist Makes a journey from London to Ceylon and onwards to Rangoon and Mandalay by mule to Keng Tung in the Shan state of north east Burma from where he continues to Bangkok Angkor Wat in Cambodia and onwards to Saigon Hue and Hanoi in Vietnam and finally to Hong Kong across the United States and finally back to London He only got around to writing his account of this trip seven years later in the travel story ‘The Gentleman in the Parlour’ In the years in between he was very productive and wrote some of his most famous books as ‘The Painted Veil’ 1925 ‘The Casuarina Tree’ 1926 two full length plays and the novel ‘Cakes and Ale’ 1930 High points in this travel story are his mule trip to upper Burma his period in Bangkok and his description of Angkor Wat in Cambodia Aldo he tells us he has left himself at home he gives us a very interesting and personal account of his observations But than a traveller Maugham remains a story teller and writer some of the stories he tells us from this trip he published elsewhere to sometimes even before this journeySo than a travelogue this is a very carefully composed novel in the form of a traveler’s story And also his observations tent to be very personal he is very careful about his private life For instance there is no word about his companion His eighteen year younger lover Gerald Haxton how also was a great help on all his journeys He always pretends to travel alone with local guides and helpers he actually never does Like many famous travelers such as Bruce Chatwin VS Naipaul Graham Green and Wilfred Thesiger all pretending to travel alone but all in the good company of lovers wives and mistresses Nothing wrong with that but it sheds a little different light on their journeys and makes the travels of the few actual solitary wanderers all the heroic All do complaining sometimes the periods of his travels though south east Asia must have been among the happiest of Maugham’s life He is happy healthy in the company of his lover enjoying country as well as city confident hopeful and full of energy This novels tells us that too the long line of works he wrote after this trip even so

  4. Mona Mona says:

    Reading Maugham's colorful descriptions of his travels in a small volume with yellowed pages easily lulled me back eighty years into the time he wrote which is so different from how one would go to SE Asia nowadays Taking a break from writing fiction he filled his journal with interesting stories of people he met along the way I especially marveled at the former monk's recollection of collecting food in his begging bowl and the man who had to marry in a hurry in order to get a job The beauty of his writing shown through each page; for example The coconut trees with their disheveled heads were like old men suddenly risen from sleep Written from his heart the journal felt like a way of getting a look inside his soul

  5. James Fountain James Fountain says:

    Wonderfully written travel book from a modernist master Somerset Maugham devotes a great deal of his personality in guiding the reader through his fascinating travels through Burma Thailand Cambodia Vietnam and finally on a boat from Haiphong to Hong Kong introducing us to the wide range of characters which he meets on the way Anyone who has worked in or visited and admired these countries as I have will find this a treat from start to finish since Maugham adds to your knowledge of them and you feel your own thoughts solidify in the hands of a writer so articulate and erudite It is also fascinating to see in some cases how much eg Bangkok things have changed or in some cases how little eg Haiphong But the kernel of these places is exactly as the author describes he captures their uniue atmopheres An absolute joy

  6. Thomas Barrett Thomas Barrett says:

    I felt a bit sorry for Maugham here The old boy doesn't really get much joy from any of the places he visits and encounters several tragic and pathetic sorts of figures who whilst he mocks are really just a mirror of himself maybe that was the point but I doubt it I think his pompous prose is really overrated

  7. Julie Thomason Julie Thomason says:

    I always enjoy his work and was delighted to find this book Didn’t realise it was travel rather than a novel and found it a bit harder read though enjoyable and uite an insight to travelling between the wars Would be interesting to try and cover his journey today

  8. Patrick McCoy Patrick McCoy says:

    W Somerset Maugham's travel collection Gentleman In The Parlour 1930 is an uneven collection of stories from the author's trip through what was then Burma and Siam ending in Haiphong Vietnam As Paul Theroux points out in the introduction he wrote the book several yeas after the fact and wrote the story from the point of view of a solo traveler even though he had a companion on that lengthy Asian journey He does write about some of the local color but he mostly focuses on cultural differences and the most entertaining episodes are about some of the characters he met on his journey

  9. Rennie Rennie says:

    Nothing too exciting by today's standards when we have Rick Steeves and Michael Palin doing travelogues What was uite different was how glad people were to encounter a fellow countryman when they were travelling Nowadays we may wish we were not seeing hordes of people at a temple or some other sight we want to enjoy The narrative provided some insights on how Maugham himself behaved en route and how the he perceived the role of the UK in foreign lands At one point he woke up a sampan operator and his wife so they could make him tea and take him out to experience being on the water at night and then he slept through the night while they ferried him around He did understand that interfering with the way people ran their countries was often counter productive to the long term stability of those countries Too bad the leaders in the UK and then the USA did not get that memo

  10. Sam Quixote Sam Quixote says:

    On the face of it it seems like a fine concept – one of the best writers in the world writing a travelogue of his journey across South East Asia in the early 20th century But once I got into it I was a bit disappointed with what was actually written insideSomerset Maugham is one of the finest writers I’ve ever read “Of Human Bondage” is honestly one of the best novels I’ve ever read of the most memorable and soul wrenching stories ever set down on paper His other works have been no less spectacular – “The Moon and Sixpence” and “The Painted Veil” are masterpieces both That said I’ve read a few books by Maugham that have been less than satisfying – I couldn’t finish “The Razor’s Edge” or “The Magician” while “Up at the Villa” and “Cakes and Ale” were both uite dull reads Every so often though I see his name and remember how “Of Human Bondage” kept me going through an enormously long journey in Japan a few years ago and decide to try him again “The Gentleman in the Parlour” is very descriptive going into detail on the buildings and surroundings the clothes the people wear the food they eat the weather – if this is your thing then you’ll enjoy the heck of out this book For me description is probably the thing I least enjoy about reading I simply don’t care what people wear or how someone describes a sunset and frankly it reads like a dull travel program minus the visuals Strangely the parts where Maugham digresses and talks about the books he’s reading are the most interesting and reminded me of the essays that form his book “The Vagrant Mood” There are a couple of personal stories from the people Maugham met on the road which I’m sure were once scandalous and racy but sadly in the light of the 21st century merely pale into dreariness That said I did finish the book instead of setting it aside with a sigh It’s immensely readable and Maugham’s style in this book is very chatty and amiable It feels like you’re being told a story by a human version of Carroll’s Cheshire Cat But overall I would rate it uite low in this writer’s list of great works and would instead implore the curious reader to pick up his accomplished and beautiful books “Of Human Bondage” and “The Painted Veil” the latter of which is set in South East Asia and is a far entertaining book

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The Gentleman in the Parlour: A Record of a Journey from Rangoon to Haiphong (Armchair Traveller Series)[PDF] ✓ The Gentleman in the Parlour: A Record of a Journey from Rangoon to Haiphong (Armchair Traveller Series) ✪ W. Somerset Maugham – Best known for his novels and plays Somerset Maugham also produced delightfully engaging and absorbing non fiction of which The Gentleman in the Parlour is a prime example First published in 1935 it d Best known in the PDF º for his novels and plays Somerset Maugham also produced delightfully engaging and absorbing non fiction of which The Gentleman in the Parlour is a prime example First published in it describes a journey the author took from Rangoon to The Gentleman MOBI :º Haipong Whether by river to Mandalay on horse through the mountains and forests of the Shan States to Bangkok or onwards by sea Maugham’s muse is in the spirit of Hazlitt who wrote “It is great to shake off the trammels of the Gentleman in the MOBI ñ world and public opinionand to be known by no other title than The Gentleman in the Parlour.

About the Author: W. Somerset Maugham

William Somerset in the PDF º Maugham was born in Paris in He spoke French even before he spoke a word of English a fact to which some critics attribute the purity of his style His parents died early and after an unhappy boyhood which The Gentleman MOBI :º he recorded poignantly in Of Human Bondage Maugham became a ualified physician But writing was his true vocation For ten years before his first success he almost l.