Liza of Lambeth, Chapter Five

Most of the chapter is predictable, which is fine. It’s just predictable. Liza spends Bank Holiday off with her would-be beau, Tom, and the married dude who likes her, Jim. She’s nicer to Tom because she’s started getting chummy with Jim. Maugham’s characterization of Liza is fairly shallow, all told, but it’s not like his characterizations of any of these characters is particularly deep. It’s a class story and he’s showing the reader this lower class. Look at their base humanity and the like. All the same, the writing is enthusiastic and fun throughout the day’s happenings. Maugham writes in third–though I think he’s had at least one first person observation or agreement with the reader–and he moves between Tom and Liza in the chapter. Tom’s a dope, of course. And Liza’s not a succubus or anything, she’s just shallow. There’s a great aside with two non-characters having a drink. A literal aside, broken out from the regular text; it’s a nice move from Maugham. So far, the novel’s everything I was expecting from it and nothing more. There’s a pretense to it, but nothing to get in the way of the serviceable plot and occasionally more than serviceable prose.

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