The Narrow Corner, xxiii

It’s a short chapter again, all from the doctor’s perspective. There’s a little bit of intrigue involving Fred the fugitive and then Firth the translator and Louise the girl show up. Maugham writes this wonderful description of Firth reading his translation of poetry to the doctor—not the poetry itself, just how hearing it makes the doctor feel—and then closes off the chapter with a very confused doctor awakening from a nap. It’s a nimble bit of writing; Maugham gives no indication of what drama might have gone on, only what the doctor, rather impaired, experiences. The Narrow Corner, well into its second half, is getting leisurely. There’s also a bit of dialogue from Fred the fugitive wishing the doctor had seen the volcano, which Maugham had promised the reader (and the doctor) and then explored off-page so to speak. It’s a nice bit of writing.

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