The Painted Veil

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Painted Veil
W. Somerset Maugham
4/5 Stars

This story begins with the very unlikable Kitty Fane. She is selfish, vain, and is bored with her husband. After an adulterous affair, Kitty travels with her husband to an area stricken by cholera.

Kitty begins to work in the nearby convent while the nuns nurse those who have come down with the disease. During this time, Kitty attempts to repair her broken marriage. Just when she begins to make amends, tragedy strikes. Kitty is left alone to face her demons.

I enjoyed watching Kitty’s character evolve throughout the story. I first noticed the change when she began embracing the orphans in her care instead of being repulsed by them. She begins to understand that, in the face of so much suffering, her problems are very small. Kitty begins to empathize with others and make better choices. In the end, Kitty is stronger than she realizes and her tragedy is really the beginning of a new life.

I was captivated from the first page to the last.


John Mutford said...

I notice you have the version with the movie scene on the front. I saw it last year, but ashamedly didn't realize it was novel first.

Erin said...

I didn't even realize that it was a movie until I saw the cover. Now that I've read the book, I'm not sure I want to see it. I have my own picture in my head - I don't want to ruin it.