Monday, July 27, 2015

Of Human Bondage - Teaser Tuesday and First Chapter / First Paragraph

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Every once in a while I tackle one of those books that we're "supposed" to read, which is why I bought a copy of Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham for my Kindle. So far, I'm enjoying it, but it's much longer than books I usually read. It also took a while to get used to the author's writing style and point of view shifts. But the story is definitely interesting and relevant, even though it was written a hundred years ago. (And NO, it isn't that kind of bondage!)

Here's the first paragraph:

The day broke gray and dull. The clouds hung heavily, and there was a rawness in the air that suggested snow. A woman servant came into a room in which a child was sleeping and drew the curtains. She glanced mechanically at the house opposite, a stucco house with a portico, and went to the child's bed.

I like the description in this Teaser from 20% on my Kindle: She was so thin that she seemed almost transparent, the arms she put round his neck were frail bones that reminded you of chicken bones, and her faded face was oh! so wrinkled. The gray curls which she still wore in the fashion of her youth gave her a queer, pathetic look; and her little withered body was like an autumn leaf, you felt it might be blown away by the first sharp wind.


Amazon link: Of Human Bondage

Length: 642 Pages
Genre: Literary Fiction / Classic

Synopsis from Goodreads:
 Originally published in 1915, Of Human Bondage is a potent expression of the power of sexual obsession and of modern man's yearning for freedom. This classic bildungsroman tells the story of Philip Carey, a sensitive boy born with a clubfoot who is orphaned and raised by a religious aunt and uncle. Philip yearns for adventure, and at eighteen leaves home, eventually pursuing a career as an artist in Paris. When he returns to London to study medicine, he meets the androgynous but alluring Mildred and begins a doomed love affair that will change the course of his life.

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Miz B of A Daily Rhythm. Post two sentences from somewhere in a book you're reading. No spoilers, please!




First Chapter/First Paragraph/Tuesday Intros is hosted by Bibliophile By The Sea. To participate, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you're reading or thinking about reading soon.


25 comments:

Suzie Quint said...

Good for you, reading one of those books everyone wants to have read but doesn't want to read. I've done my share of that, but too often ended up not liking them (Camus' The Prisoner comes to mind.)

Beth F said...

I read this a million years ago and, frankly, can't remember much about it.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

This is one of those that I should read sometime as well. Glad u r enjoying it.

Kym Thorpe said...

I don't think I'd want to read it, but good for you! The Teaser is some very good descriptive writing. Here's my Teaser for this week: http://justasecondblog.blogspot.com/2015/07/teaser-tuesdays-first-chapter-first.html

Monica's Bookish Life said...

I like the writing in the opening. I'd keep reading!

Kay said...

I like the opening too, but nope, probably not for me. I get really rebellious about the 'should' read books. LOL

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

It has been many years since I read this one, and just reading the excerpts reminded me of the formal, somewhat "stiff" writing style of the era. I hope you enjoy it, despite the writing style and lengthiness of the book. Thanks for sharing, and here's mine, somewhat light: “DUNE ROAD”

Literary Feline said...

I am not too familiar with this book nor have I heard much about it. I do like the writing in the teaser and opening paragraphs. There's a sadness about them.

Vonnie R said...

Ooh sounds intriguing. The title makes me cringe a little though.

My TT

Topazshell said...

I really love the description of the old woman.

Margot said...

I'm sorry to say I haven't read this book.I do like the way it starts and that little teaser. I think I may need to put this on that "list" too.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

It will be a while before I read another classic like this one. They're usually a lot of work, and I like to read for pleasure and escape.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

I'm not a fan of "shoulds" either! But I sometimes feel like I may have missed some great literature if I don't read classic books from the past. My next novel, however, will probably be a contemporary romance.

Emma Littlefield said...

I think I'd keep reading...one of those I've had the list forever

Sandra Nachlinger said...

Writing styles have definitely changed over the years! I agree about the formal writing, and I found myself skimming some of the long paragraphs of narrative. But I'm glad I read this book anyhow.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

The main character goes through a lot of struggles to "find himself." The bondage in the title is psychological.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

One of the things I enjoyed most about this book was the description. I could truly see the characters and settings in my mind.

Harvee Lau - Book Dilettante said...

Sounds fascinating, even tho a hundred years old. I should read this.

Sonia Lal said...

That's a sad description!

mine: https://storytreasury.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/teaser-tuesday-leviathan-wakes

Donna H said...

Every once in a while I too pick up a book that I've read. Girl Who Reads

Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

Sentence structure sounds heavy - may be a slog to read but classics all have their own merit for different readers and purposes I'm sure...
Posted mine for #ParisinJuly TT theme

Sandra Nachlinger said...

The list of books we "should" read is too long! I don't see how we can ever read all of them.

Kim@Time2Read said...

I"m not sure this one is for me. I don't usually enjoy the classics.

Jacqueline Gum said...

I loved this book! I remember reading it many years ago. It's a powerful story. I love re-reading some of the classics, too. I just downloaded some Virginia Wolfe to my Kindle.

Laurie Brown said...

I haven't read this book, but I've read other works by Maugham and really liked them; the prose is modern enough that I don't stumble over it yet has a lovely vintage edge to it.