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What did you like best about Cakes and Ale? What did you like least?
With an intriguing storyline and subtle yet clever characterisation, Cakes and Ale makes for an educational and insightful book. However, this is not for those who don't always pay attention to what they are listening to; Maugham enjoys his tangents, and they are not always brief, so near full attention is required. Otherwise a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding audible experience.
What other book might you compare Cakes and Ale to, and why?
The life of Thomas Hardy is said to have inspired much of this work, and it explores the balance between a writers fame and worth. As such some have argued that it is an attack on Hardy himself, leading to the penning of 'Gin and Bitters' as a parody of Maugham's efforts.
What does James Saxon bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
An engaging and personal narrative, with careful hints in his tone of his possibly protective presentation of some of his memories, despite his insistence otherwise. Even if you are a little taken aback at first, when you get used to his voice and rhythm, you are swept up in the story.
Did Cakes and Ale inspire you to do anything?
To delve further into the Maugham canon, and to read around the authors who are supposedly the influence for this piece.
Any additional comments?
An alternative name for this book is 'The Skeleton in the Cupboard', but on reflection 'Cakes and Ale' is much more appropriate in the subtle and vaguely ironic tone that it imparts to the novel as a whole.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
I enjoyed this insight into a society so surreal. Although the novel took a while to get into, the narration is delightful and entertaining.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I consider Maugham to be under appreciated. His prose is lovely, and this story is witty and poignant, with ineresting characters. The narration is sublime. RIP James Saxon.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful