Liza of Lambeth, Chapter Nine

A moment on how Liza of Lambeth reads, because I find myself discussing its content far more than its presentation. When it’s dialogue, it’s just dialogue. Maugham has a page of lines. When it’s exposition, it’s a little looser. This chapter, for example, has another diversion from Liza’s story. Her friend’s wedding gets its own page (or just under). Just Maugham describing it in summary, but it’s somewhat uncomfortable how little his tangents relate to the main plot. It’s about a wedding after all and the chapter’s about Liza and her married lover getting found out and Liza being gossiped about. Even after a chapter of recounting—in summary—their joys and problems, it’s impossible to discern why Liza would like this guy. Or, for that matter, why Liza thinks the best way to handle suspicion is to try to force a relationship with his wife and daughter.

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