The Summing Up, XXIII

This chapter is strangely morose. Maugham does a way too dry, self-depreciating rant about his ability or lack thereof. He’s not a natural writer, he whines, therefore he can never do something or other. He compares writing to singing—natural singers versus those using Auto-Tune—and then spends the rest of the chapter trying to run down his abilities while still being impressed with himself. His ability to imagine plots meant he wasn’t a real writer. The first part of the chapter, however, is this awesome summary of his experiences with this critic who kind of sold him out unexpectedly for a story. When the singing stuff started, I actually thought Maugham would pull out of it. Instead, he just plunged further and further down. He also has a line at the opening about being near the end of his life, which wasn’t true. I think I’m just now a fourth done with the book; I wonder if it’ll get any clearer as it goes on. Maugham’s being obtuse, but not coy or discreet.

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