Liza of Lambeth, Chapter Twelve

Novel’s over, you can all go home now. Liza of Lambeth is short. It’s a 128 pages in the current Penguin edition but I’m boycotting Penguin for some reason, aren’t I? I can’t remember. I have internal boycotts. I don’t tell people about them. Except a few. Anyway, I read it in a big hard cover collection of Maugham novels so I had no indication it was ending soon, which—incidentally—is an amazing way to read a book, having no idea how much longer it’s going to run. I need to do something with that thought. Anyway, again. Again, anyway. Not sure how to arrange those two. It’s an okay chapter. It’s in a very different style, with Maugham turning the book over to Liza’s mom. She’s a far better character. She’s a heartless villainess, sure, but she’s a far better character. Just in her blathering. Maugham loves writing the dialogue this chapter. It’s not functional, it’s pointless blathering. It’s great. And then he closes off in a somewhat different style too. Doesn’t save the book, but the narrative approach of this chapter kind of reveals Maugham’s ability to be beyond what he does in the rest of the novel. It’s a successful finish if only because he’s pregnant with higher ambitions. Can you believe I did that one? Pregnant with higher ambitions. Wow. But Liza of Lambeth. Worth it if you’re interested in the period, whether the society, culture, arts. Not if you’re looking for history or a novel so much. This last chapter should be read if you want to look at the logistics of reframing third person perspective.

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