The Narrow Corner, xxx

Maugham finds a rather funny way to end the novel; not an entirely unpredictable one, at least not if the reader’s been paying attention—and I did read it over almost fifteen days, which isn’t a good rate to read a novel of this length. There aren’t any big questions to be answered in the conclusion, as big questions often cannot be answered. Especially not in a novel of this length and this ambition. Regardless of the surprises Maugham keeps for the final third, it’s not an ambitious novel. It does acknowledge the possibility of ambition but also the impracticality of such a pursuit. It’s not so much defeatist—or cynical—as it is disappointed in its own sentimentality, which perfectly fits.

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