The Narrow Corner, xix

Not only does Maugham do his switching between third and second person—this time to describe Fred the fugitive’s behavior—he also has parenthetical in dialogue, which I may—may—accept in less serious efforts (but only grudgingly). And to top it all off, he doesn’t do the volcano tour. Fred the fugitive and Erik the Dane trader go to the volcano while Dr. Saunders thinks about his breakfast, which is strangely described in the present tense. Maugham has his reasons for using the present tense with the East Indies breakfast description, but they’d only be sound if he hadn’t started the whole novel saying the thing took place in the past. I like tense changes to identify passages in time but in exposition? Bah. Humbug. It’s another treading water chapter and it’s getting unbelievable the doctor would find Fred the fugitive so interesting at this point. Fred the fugitive is a bore.

Scroll to Top