Analyzing The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham – Love, Death, and Christian Parallels

Maugham’s The Painted Veil is a sordid yet strangely beautiful 1920s novel about betrayal and loyalty during a cholera epidemic. It was so excellent, I wanted to share my thoughts before my reactions grew stale (hence the lofi / technical difficulties). In spite of its dated-ness, I do recommend this book overall – it’s definitely joined my top 10 novels of all time.

Nota bene: While I usually read up on an author before or during reading their books for the first time, I actually went into the novel (and my review) knowing nothing about Maugham, let alone his religious views. It turns out he was an agnostic and did not believe in God. Perhaps then the religious themes that stood out so strongly to me were, from his perspective, limited to this novel. Still, I feel the interpretation is a valid one, based on the quotes cited (and others).

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  1. Mudpuddle Avatar

    i’ve read some Maugham… i wouldn’t say he’s great, but occasionally pretty good… new blog:


    1. Marian Avatar

      Thanks for the link!


  2. ĐɆ₳₦ Avatar

    Hi Marian,
    What an unexpected coincidence, I’m actually reading the short story/novella “Rain” by Maugham today! I’ve not read too many of his works, although he was such a successful dramatist that I do admit to seeing some of his theater productions and movies instead of reading them first. He is another of those very educated, proficient men of the WWI era that you and I have spoken of. His writing along with Hemingway’s is quite direct, and he really does portray and flesh out all of the particulars of our humanness and our tragedies. We should exchange books sometime, we have many of the same tastes it would seem. 🙂


    1. Marian Avatar

      Yes, I’m looking forward to watching at least one film adaptation of this novel! It’s a fun era to read about, I find so many parallels to modern day…


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