The Moon and Sixpence – W. Somerset Maugham

The Moon and Sixpence is the first book I’ve read from W. Somerset Maugham, and frankly, it won’t be the last one. I’ve read this book for my Art & Artists reading project, and because of this project, I’ve met a terrific English writer. It makes me delighted when art brings such extra beauty to my life.


The Moon and Sixpence - W. Somerset Maugham

The Moon and Sixpence is a novel inspired by the French post-impressionist painter Paul Gauguin. Charles Strickland (Gauguin) is a wealthy man with a high paying job and a very social wife and children. He belongs to the prosperous crowd in London, and his life is enviable for many. One day, however, out of nowhere, he leaves a letter to his wife and tells him that he left her and will never return. After that, Strickland’s life will never be the same, and a genius will appear.

Maugham presents the pressures of society on men, women and families and also the development of a genius in beautiful prose. The book is filled with wonderfully detailed observations about changing and becoming. The reader is left with moments to think about whether one should work for his stomach or his soul. 

Maugham is a great storyteller and one of the most delightful writers to read. If you haven’t read him before, I suggest you buy and read any of his books, right now. Enjoy!

About the book: The Moon and Sixpence

“Witty, compelling.” — The Boston Globe. Gripped by an overwhelming obsession, Charles Strickland, a conventional London stockbroker, decides in midlife to desert his wife, family, business, and civilization for his art. One of Maugham’s most popular works, The Moon and Sixpence is a riveting story about an uncompromising and self-destructive man who forsakes wealth and comfort to pursue the life of a painter. Drifting from Paris to Marseilles, Strickland eventually settles in Tahiti, takes a mistress, and in spite of poverty and a long, terminal illness, produces his most passionate and mysterious works of art. 
Loosely based on the life of Paul Gauguin, Maugham’s timeless masterpiece is storytelling at its best — an insightful work focusing on artistic fixation that propels the artist beyond the commonplace into the selfish realm of genius. 


About the author: W. Somerset Maugham

William Somerset Maugham, better known as W. Somerset Maugham, was a British playwright, novelist and short story writer. He was among the most popular writers of his era and reputedly the highest paid author during the 1930s.

After both his parents died before he was 10, Maugham was raised by a paternal uncle who was emotionally cold. Not wanting to become a lawyer like other men in his family, Maugham eventually trained and qualified as a physician. The initial run of his first novel, Liza of Lambeth (1897), sold out so rapidly that Maugham gave up medicine to write full-time.

The Moon and Sixpence - W. Somerset Maugham

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

Books About Art and Artists

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.