Cakes and Ale, Chapter Eleven

It’s a long chapter, probably the longest in the novel so far. When the narrator thinks about growing up during the flashback, Maugham goes overboard with description. He’s just gotten done taking the reader through in scene, but now he’s doing some description. Maybe because of the serialization format. Otherwise, it’s kind of awesome. Maugham goes full quotable and pretty much spends the whole chapter either dissecting his fictional author subject or mocking the idea of the modern biography, with the narrator now a consultant on one. Turns out his friend is writing a book about the famous author and they’re going down to the widow’s together. Basically, this chapter could be either the start of the novel or the second chapter. Instead it’s the eleventh. There might be more flashback, which would be nice, but at least things are finally moving in the present day. And Maugham’s observations about biographies and authors in general is fantastic stuff.

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