The Narrow Corner, x

It’s another short section. There’s some action—the doctor goes to another ship to examine a sick pearl diver—and some mystery and some conversation. There’s also this reference to a painter, Piero della Francesca, and I can’t tell if it’s Maugham being pretentious or if a reader in 1932 would be familiar with the artist’s paintings and style. I’ve got Google and Wikipedia and I’m still not sure if it’s Maugham just being showy with the simile or not. Whichever, it’s not the best way to describe what Maugham’s trying to describe. He then goes into second person, presumably from the doctor to the reader, and it’s also awkward. The rest of the section—the trip to the other ship, young Fred Blake being mysterious about a month old Australian newspaper—is fine. It’s not great, but it’s fine. Maugham’s really stretching the ominous though. It’s getting annoying.

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