The Magician PDF Þ Audio CD

The Magician PDF Þ Audio CD

The Magician ❮BOOKS❯ ✷ The Magician ✭ Author W. Somerset Maugham – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk From one of literature s finest storytellers comes an enchanting tale of secrets, the supernatural and fatal attraction Renowned English surgeon Arthur Burdon is engaged to the beautiful Margaret Daun From one of literature s finest storytellers comes an enchanting tale of secrets, the supernatural and fatal attraction Renowned English surgeon Arthur Burdon is engaged to the beautiful Margaret Dauncey, who is studying art in Paris The match is met with approval from all sides, and everyone is happy until the mysterious Oliver Haddo enters the picture Both Arthur and his fiancee dislike the enormously fat and eccentric Oliver but are fascinated by his stories of black magic, by his demonstrations of a power that seems inhuman And while they scoff at his boasts, their dislike turns to loathing A month later, Margaret disappears The note she leaves behind begins When you receive this, I shall be on my way to London I was married to Oliver Haddo this morning Why How What mysterious power had The Magician used What further revenge might he be plotting The answers are revealed in this hair raising fantasy.


10 thoughts on “The Magician

  1. Dan Schwent Dan Schwent says:

    Arthur Burdon is due to marry his fiance, Margaret Dauncey The pair have the misfortune of meeting Oliver Haddo, a self styled magician and pompous ass When Arthur assaults Haddo, the Magician hatches a plan to ruin Arthur s life in the most insidious of waysThe Magician is a tale of revenge, seduction, and things of that nature, written by Maugham after he met Aleister Crowley It s pretty much a horror novel, honestly Oliver Haddo is a revolting character that made my skin crawl and his Arthur Burdon is due to marry his fiance, Margaret Dauncey The pair have the misfortune of meeting Oliver Haddo, a self styled magician and pompous ass When Arthur assaults Haddo, the Magician hatches a plan to ruin Arthur s life in the most insidious of waysThe Magician is a tale of revenge, seduction, and things of that nature, written by Maugham after he met Aleister Crowley It s pretty much a horror novel, honestly Oliver Haddo is a revolting character that made my skin crawl and his seduction of Margaret was a little hard to read about Arthur, Susie, and Margaret were also well drawn, flawed characters.For a novel written in 1908, The Magician was surprisingly readable compared to many books of that era The writing was lush and descriptive without being overly flowery and still felt pretty accessible Haddon s occult knowledge and abilities were also very well done, not terribly flashy and somewhat believable I have to think the way magic was depicted influence Susan Clarke s Jonathan Strange Mr Norrell.The only strike against the book that I can readily come up with is the ending I felt it was a little on the anti climatic side and kind of a downer.The Magician is a surprisingly effective horror novel for being over one hundred years old I may have to give old Maugham another shot some day soon Four out of five stars


  2. Chrissie Chrissie says:

    This reads as a Gothic horror story, and it grabbed me which is totally amazing Books of this genre are not ones that normally attract me I do not regret reading it Proof is in the fact that the last three hours of it I spent glued to my seat If Gothic horror stories are your cup of tea, grab it immediately I guarantee you will not be disappointed While I was listening, I was totally enthralled While I was listening, I thought I would give it four stars Only when completed was I release This reads as a Gothic horror story, and it grabbed me which is totally amazing Books of this genre are not ones that normally attract me I do not regret reading it Proof is in the fact that the last three hours of it I spent glued to my seat If Gothic horror stories are your cup of tea, grab it immediately I guarantee you will not be disappointed While I was listening, I was totally enthralled While I was listening, I thought I would give it four stars Only when completed was I released from its spell Only when released from its spell could I return to my senses I have given the book three stars Yes, I liked it, and yes it grabbed me and yes it gave me a scary thrill, but what did it teach me Actually, not all that much I hope from this review, you can decide if YOU should read it The setting of the novel is England and Paris, France, at the turn of the 20th century Margaret Dauncy is soon to marry her long time friend and beloved guardian Arthur Burdon, an acclaimed English surgeon He visits her in Paris while she and her friend Susie Boyd are studying art There they come in contact with Oliver Haddo, a mysterious and alluring but at the same time insidious occultist, a magician of the Black Arts All are to come under his spell Just as we readers come under the spell of the book The occult was in fashion when Maugham wrote this in London, in 1907, after a short residence in Paris living on the Left Bank The magician in the novel and the one referred to in its title was modelled on Aleister Crowley 1875 1947 , an English occultist, novelist, poet, painter and big game hunter whom Maugham had met when in Paris He had taken an immediate dislike to the man The novel is by no means a biography it is a story of fiction It is interesting to note though that Crowley, on reading the novel, recognized himself and wrote a declamatory review under the name of Oliver Haddo When the book was republished, circa fifty years after its original publication in 1908, Maugham added a foreword Entitled A Fragment of Autobiography, it explains in detail that which I have summarized in the preceding paragraph The foreword is not to be missed Both the foreword and the entire novel is in fact accessible free online here Before you grab it, read what I have to say about the audiobook.The audiobook includes the foreword It is narrated by David Rintoul His performance is fantastic We are given a show, a dramatization of the written words that is better than anything one can imagine I do not usually enjoy dramatizations, but this I loved It is superb, it cannot be improved upon Even the French is impeccably rendered Remember, much takes place in Paris Don t read the book listen to it I believe I became as enthralled as I did because I listened to David Rintoul s narration Each of W Somerset Maugham s novels are different from his others in content, theme and style Each is unique, a surprise and a delicious treat My ratings of Maugham s books Then and Now 5 starsMrs Craddock 4 starsCakes and Ale 4 starsThe Painted Veil 4 starsLiza of Lambeth 3 starsThe Razor s Edge 3 starsThe Magician 3 starsChristmas Holiday 3 starsTheatre 2 starsThe Moon and Sixpence 2 starsOf Human Bondage 2 stars


  3. Brett C Brett C says:

    This was a strange and yet entertaining story This story is not based off traditional witchcraft but getsinto the shadowy and occult black arts It started out with ordinary people with ordinary lives for the time period until the mysterious Oliver Haddo comes into their lives Doctor Arthur Burdon, a renowned English surgeon, has a normal life with plans of marrying the love of his life, Margret Things start to get weird after they encounter Oliver Haddo, a self proclaimed magician and This was a strange and yet entertaining story This story is not based off traditional witchcraft but getsinto the shadowy and occult black arts It started out with ordinary people with ordinary lives for the time period until the mysterious Oliver Haddo comes into their lives Doctor Arthur Burdon, a renowned English surgeon, has a normal life with plans of marrying the love of his life, Margret Things start to get weird after they encounter Oliver Haddo, a self proclaimed magician and occult practitioner The magician is the acquaintance of Arthur s friend, Dr Porho t who is an expert in the occult Eventually Haddo starts to infiltrate their lives to the point where lives are shattered The book has occult references, black magic rituals like necromancy, a supernatural dream sequence, and descriptive imagery that help add to the plot s gloomy atmosphere.Overall is was a decent story Background information is the author met knew occultist Aleister Crowley in real life and based the book about him Knowing myself I will reread it in a few years and I ll discover things I missed the first time I would recommend this because it entertaining Thanks


  4. Susan Susan says:

    First published in 1908, this was W Somerset Maugham s last novel for seven years, as he devoted himself to writing for the theatre The rest obviously did him good, as he returned with the classic, Of Human Bondage, but this is an interesting, and lesser known, novel It was inspired by meeting Alastair Crowley in Paris, who became the character, Oliver Haddo Crowley himself responded to Maugham s interpretation of his character with a wry magazine article, How to Write a Novel which h First published in 1908, this was W Somerset Maugham s last novel for seven years, as he devoted himself to writing for the theatre The rest obviously did him good, as he returned with the classic, Of Human Bondage, but this is an interesting, and lesser known, novel It was inspired by meeting Alastair Crowley in Paris, who became the character, Oliver Haddo Crowley himself responded to Maugham s interpretation of his character with a wry magazine article, How to Write a Novel which he signed using his fictional name.We begin with Arthur Burdon, a surgeon, who is visiting Paris to see his fianc e, Margaret He has been Margaret s guardian since she was a child and has insisted she spend the two years in Paris, studying art, with her friend, Susie Boyd, before their marriage All is light and happiness, until Arthur s friend, retired doctor and occult scholar, Dr Porhoet, introduces them to the notorious Oliver Haddo When Arthur loses his temper, Haddo takes revenge in a terrible way.This is very much a novel of two parts It begins slowly unravelling the characters, their motivations and their feelings Then, towards the end, we have a bizarre, supernatural showdown In some ways, this reminds me of, A Handful of Dust, by Evelyn Waugh, which I read recently Not in terms of the theme, but in the way the novel starts as one thing and ends as quite another I like the beginning of the novel best, with the sinister Oliver Haddo, initially being seen as something of a joke and then, gradually, revealing his powers Maugham remains one of my favourite authors and I enjoyed re reading this very much


  5. Tim Tim says:

    This is a rather strange, but fascinating little book Despite the short length 196 on my edition it feels almost like two separate books It starts off as something like a comedy of errors, then slowly becomessinister until it becomes a flat out horror novel.The story focuses on a couple that meet a claimed magician named Oliver Haddo Our magician is boastful, seemingly has a story for every scenario which will of course make him sound amazing and has a bit of a sense of humor There This is a rather strange, but fascinating little book Despite the short length 196 on my edition it feels almost like two separate books It starts off as something like a comedy of errors, then slowly becomessinister until it becomes a flat out horror novel.The story focuses on a couple that meet a claimed magician named Oliver Haddo Our magician is boastful, seemingly has a story for every scenario which will of course make him sound amazing and has a bit of a sense of humor There s a great moment where he tells a tale about how after his father passed away, he kept feeling like he was trying to tell him something After performing a ritual to see his ghost, we get the following dialogueBuy Ashantis, they are bound to go up I did as he told me but my father was always unlucky in speculation, and they went down steadily I sold out at considerable loss, and concluded that in the world beyond they are as ignorant of the tendency of the Stock Exchange as we are in this vale of sorrow At first Haddo seems rather oafish, he s portrayed comically and one might suspect that the plot would involve debunking his magic and letting science and enlightenment reign One would be wrong, as we see Haddo go from a source of comedy to a rather repulsive figure His actions are dark, and with enough implications of what is going on behind the scenes well, one might suspect that it could have been published later than 1908 The most fascinating aspect of the novel in my opinion, is actually the origin Apparently Maugham started writing it after he met Aleister Crowley who he immediately thought of as a buffoonish con man, and couldn t see how anyone could actually fall for him As he kept meeting him in social circles though and saw people s reactions to him, his character became less comedic in the book andsinister You can actually see the transition happen between chapters Crowley responded after publication by writing an article for Vanity Fair in which he accused Maugham of plagiarism While this was no doubt set off by him being annoyed at the character obviously mocking him, he does make a compelling argument The Penguin edition of the book contains some of the paragraphs the Crowley quoted Many of the paragraphs are exactly the same, except for one sentence reworded If this was published now, it would be enough to end Maugham s career Overall the book is entertaining, but it has such weird pacing and feels so strange both in a positive, and negative way that I can t really recommend it to everyone That said, I still enjoyed it, and if it sounds intriguing from the above, you ll most likely want to give it a shot 3 5


  6. Nancy Oakes Nancy Oakes says:

    The Magician has so many of those elements that send my little dark fiction reader heart racing, among them pulpy mysterious melodrama, a bit of decadence, and of course the dark forces of the occult and the supernatural At its heart though, it is a story of revenge plotted by a most sinister villain, the Magician Oliver Haddo, and the race to save young Margaret Dauncey, the woman at the center of it all for plot details etc., you can go to my reading journal The Magician has so many of those elements that send my little dark fiction reader heart racing, among them pulpy mysterious melodrama, a bit of decadence, and of course the dark forces of the occult and the supernatural At its heart though, it is a story of revenge plotted by a most sinister villain, the Magician Oliver Haddo, and the race to save young Margaret Dauncey, the woman at the center of it all for plot details etc., you can go to my reading journal was hooked right from the beginning, and later, as I realized where Maugham was taking this tale, it got eveninteresting since it wasn t at all what I expected when I started it The main question for me here was whether Haddo was a genuine magician alchemical adept or just a fast talking fake with hypnotic powers, and it was a question that kept me turning pages as the novel went on By the time I reached the ending, well, let s just say that I d made up my mind, and by then the pages were flying It s one I can definitely recommend to readers who like darker fiction that moves into the realm of the occult It s a fun read


  7. Trevor Trevor says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here I m becoming increasingly fond of Maugham There is something about the self deprecation of the English that is so utterly appealing It is worth even just reading the Fragment of Autobiography that precedes the text and can be read here for a taste of his tone Bits of this made me laugh out loud Take I was looked upon as a promising young writer and, I think I may say it without vanity, was accepted as a member of the intelligentsia, an honoura I m becoming increasingly fond of Maugham There is something about the self deprecation of the English that is so utterly appealing It is worth even just reading the Fragment of Autobiography that precedes the text and can be read here for a taste of his tone Bits of this made me laugh out loud Take I was looked upon as a promising young writer and, I think I may say it without vanity, was accepted as a member of the intelligentsia, an honourable condition which, some years later, when I became a popular writer of light comedies, I lost and have never since regained Isn t that gorgeous I think this book could so easily have been much better than it ended up, but I still enjoyed it immensely and if I think that I would have written it differently, that in itself is fairly high praise for a book to have me considering how I would re construct it shows how interested in its themes and concerns I was.The antagonist in this story is based on Aleister Crowley someone who has an important role to play in Of Human Bondage too He is a real person and sounds like quite a character As you can see, I m working on my understatement.I kept thinking of Alan Bennett at the start of this book and his wonderful monologue, A Lady of Letters where she says that in a book if someone says they are terribly alone and without love in their life and feel that nothing is ever going to change, that is a sure sign that things are about to completely change for them and happiness is about to come streaming into their life, whereas in life if you say that you are alone it is very likely that that is how your life will remain A truth I mor less working on proving at the moment.So at the start of this novel when the happy loving couple are gazing into each other s eyes and say that they could not behappy and Suzie says of Margaret that she must be careful as she could make Arthurunhappy than anyone else in the world, well, it is pretty obvious where this story is going Not that I mind that A storm is not made less frightening by our hearing it rumble in the distance as it approaches I m going to have to spoil this book for you now Haddo, the character based on Crowley, is a fat magician Years ago I was thinking of having a car sticker made up that said, Necromancers Raise Hell I thought it was very funny, but a dear friend of mine pointed out that what I take to be funny, many people take to be deadly serious Haddo is that sort of magician.Where Haddo is full of himself and terribly proud, Arthur is a doctor who is the essence of rationality and who is madly in love with Margaret Margaret is in Paris having a bit of a holiday before marrying Arthur She would rather have just married Arthur, but he insisted she have a bit of a holiday beforehand She is accompanied by Suzie, who also falls in love with Arthur on first seeing him Haddo, the magician, is fat and a revolting pig of a man, a fact that Arthur points out repeatedly at the start of the novel No one is completely good, but Haddo is as near to completely evil as one could reasonably expect to get away with in a novel.The turning point of the novel is an altercation in which Haddo is humiliated by Arthur it is clear that Haddo plots to revenge himself on Arthur and he does thisthan completely by stealing Margaret from him Worse for Arthur, she goes from being a pure and sweet innocent to a debauched harlot if one who remains a virgin can really be a harlot There is no doubt that Haddo is both a cad and a bounder how is it possible that either of those words could have been lost to the lexicon Or Blackguard pronounced blag ard as if the language wasn t suffering enough with the loss of Zounds But the book makes it clear that her conversion is due to Haddo s black magic You see, I d not have had it so I would have left that unclear I d have played with the desire of innocent young women to be debauched under the power of mystical men muchBut I guess the book is also a product of its time and for a lady to make such a descent, well, black magic is the only possible explanation.But how muchpsychologically interesting this book could so easily have been All the same, it reminds me of Of Human Bondage in another sense too in that idea of Maugham s that there is no hope for a balance of love Do you know that Joe Jackson song Be My Number Two A song my daughter Maddy hatesthan any other Won t you be my number two, me and number one are through There won t be that much to do, just smile when I feel blue Repeatedly he makes Suzie all too aware of her role as number two, the person who everyone can see is in love with Arthur and who must do what she can to re unite him with his true love Oh, love is a terrible and strange thing.There are problems with this novel, as Maugham himself says, The style is lush and turgid, not at all the sort of style I approve of now, but perhaps not unsuited to the subject and there are a great manyadverbs and adjectives than I should use today All the same, there are moments when the writing is breathtaking The scene in the middle of the storm towards the end where Margaret returns is a fantastic piece of writing I mean, just look at this Without a pause between, as quickly as a stone falls to the ground, the din which was all about them ceased There was no gradual diminution But at one moment there was a roaring hurricane and at the next a silence so complete that it might have been the silence of death The other piece of writing that stood out was the whole scene between Haddo and Margaret in her apartment with him basically magically seducing her The image of the burning water is etched into my memory now though mostly the idea of him contemplating the end of the world as being in his power really stole my imagination at this point And as can be said of so much of female sexuality from this era if not all eras the loss of control is to be blamed elsewhere This is also true in this scene But Haddo s final words are When you want me you will find me And you know what, I don t think I could get someone out of my mind who said that to me as they left either.Margaret s last evening with Arthur shows just how cruel passion can be Margaret s whipping him into a sexual frenzy that can never be satisfied, and the irony of this scene is fully known to the reader is a remarkable scene, all theremarkable by the limits placed on Maugham s ability to saythan is within the bounds of decency That kiss is as painful as any I ve ever experienced in life So, even though there were things about this book I didn t particularly like and things I d have done differently I really did enjoy it and thought the bits that were good were very, very good


  8. Anushree Rastogi Anushree Rastogi says:

    Maugham s novel The Magician is an aesthetic disaster From the fumbling realism at the beginning of the novel to the childishly Gothic fable that it turns into, the book seems to lack structure, design and well developed characters Maugham himself, on reading the book later, described it aslush and turgidCluttered with adjectives, the writing, bordering on being kitschy, does little to gloss over a story that is formulaic and shallow The plot is facile and it is no surprise that it was m Maugham s novel The Magician is an aesthetic disaster From the fumbling realism at the beginning of the novel to the childishly Gothic fable that it turns into, the book seems to lack structure, design and well developed characters Maugham himself, on reading the book later, described it aslush and turgidCluttered with adjectives, the writing, bordering on being kitschy, does little to gloss over a story that is formulaic and shallow The plot is facile and it is no surprise that it was met with derision from literary circles.The plot in one sentence is that this novel s eponymous antihero, Oliver Haddo, bewitches the young beauty Margaret Dauncey into marrying him to avenge his public humiliation at the hands of Arthur Bourdon, Margaret s fiance What Maugham seems to be doing in the magician is playing a bullying schoolboy, ridiculing Aleister Crowley, self publicist, occulist and an acquaintance of Maugham s on whom the sordid character of Oliver Haddo is based The ostensibly fantastic story seems to draw inspiration from the spectacularly disastrous marriage of Crowley to Rose Edith Kelly, who was later institutionalized for alcoholic dementia Crowley, a square and plump man, slightly round in the face is caricatured into an man a with avast bulk and a savage, sensual face Crowley, however, would not let this pass What followed was a war of words, Crowley wrote a critique of the book, under the pen name of Olive Haddo, which was published in the Vanity Fair Magazine He would later summarize this review in his Confessions 1929 Maugham had taken some of the most private and personal incidents of my life, my marriage my magical opinions, ambitions and exploits and so on He had added a number of the many absurd legends of which I was the central figure He had patched all these together by innumerable strips of paper clipped from the books which I had told Gerald to buy I had never supposed that plagiarism could have been so varied, extensive and shameless Maugham, for his part, denied having read the review, adding his own bit of sizzling sarcasm, saying,I daresay it was a pretty piece of vituperation, but probably, like his poems, intolerably verbose The characters seems schmaltzy and uni dimensional The heroine Margaret is effectively a child and Arthur and Susie supervise her existence, the former paying her bills and the latter choosing her clothes Margaret s empty life and feeble character leave her hopelessly vulnerable to Haddo s attack upon her psyche Unable to concede the fact that someone like Margaret Rose would accede to Haddo Crowley s proposal of marriage out of he own free will, Maugham lavishes upon him magical powers which he ruthlessly uses to make her marry him The righteous surgeon Arthur Burdon is an ambassador from our purely rational world who finds himself trapped in a novel where the supernatural is possible His staid attempts at upholding sanity in a world which seems to be caught in a Gothic vortex are pitiable He is doomed to irrationally insist upon the rational in the face of all incoming evidence We may suspect that Haddo is squandering his infernal genius upon a man who is too daft to appreciate it Susie Boyd isevolved that the rest, but Maugham diagnoses her as plain, a condition as apparently debilitating as leprosy, for herown stock of enthusiasms was run low .Arthur is not handsome and he has a large nose, but he can compensate for this plainness with his masculine character Maugham repeatedly dwells on Haddo s obesity with appalling vapidity and insolenceshe saw that in the last six months he was grown much balder and the shiny whiteness of his naked crown contrasted oddly with the redness of his face He was stouter, too, and the fat hung in heavy folds under his chin his paunch was preposterous The vivacity of his movements made his huge corpulence subtly alarming He was growing indeed strangely terrible in appearance His eyes had still that fixed, parallel look, but there was in them now at times a ferocious gleam He even makes a Yo Mama s so fat joke in his own inimitable style Margaret visits Haddo s mother in a lunatic asylum and findsa woman of revolting, excessive corpulence,weltering in brown flannel Crowley s own mother was a devout evangelist and he had fallen out with her fairly early in life Singling out Crowley s disaffection from his mother for mockery seems, in some scintillantly, malicious way, to get to the bottom of his devilry In 1956, Maugham s publishers reissued the novel and Maugham added an explanatoryFragment of AutobiographyWhat would be truly interesting would be to read Crowley s review alongside Maugham sFragment,to know the two different sides of the story But history is written by the victors and The Magician is today rememberedas a roman clef about Crowley than as the starting point of a spectacularly juvenile altercation that threatened to drown Maugham s career in the infamy of plagiarism Crowley died in squalor in 1947 whilst Maugham lived on, sunning himself in the south of France.For a book based on magic, the writing is horribly lacking in any of Maugham s literary wizardry Disappointed


  9. Laura Laura says:

    Free download available at Project GutenbergAn astonishing gothic story written by Somerset Maugham.Location 122 Dr Porh et knew that a diversity of interests, though it adds charm to a man s personality, tends to weaken him.Location 140 One of my cherished ideas is that it is impossible to love without imagination.Location 277 She had learnt long ago that common sense, intelligence, good nature, and strenght of character were unimportant in comparison with a pretty face.Location 384 I shall not Free download available at Project GutenbergAn astonishing gothic story written by Somerset Maugham.Location 122 Dr Porh et knew that a diversity of interests, though it adds charm to a man s personality, tends to weaken him.Location 140 One of my cherished ideas is that it is impossible to love without imagination.Location 277 She had learnt long ago that common sense, intelligence, good nature, and strenght of character were unimportant in comparison with a pretty face.Location 384 I shall not have lived in vain if I teach you in time to realize the rapier of irony iseffective an instrument than the bludgeon of insolence.Location 480 Yet magic is nothan the art of employing consciously invisble means to porduce visible effects Will, love, and imagination are magic powers that everyone possesses and whoever knows how to develop them to their fullest extent is a magician Magic has but one dogma, namely, that the seen is the measure of the unseen.Location 504 You should be aware that science, dealing only with the general, leaves out of consideration the individual cases that contradict the enormous majority.Location 741 Man can know nothing, for his senses are his only means of knowledge, and they can give no certainty There is only one subject upon which the individual can speak with authority, and that is his own mind, but even here he is surrounded with darkness.Location 1002 We should look for knowledge where we may expect tp find it, and why should a man be despised who goes in search of it Location 1053 Fools and sots aim at happiness, but men aim only at power The magus, the sorcerer, the alchemist, are seized with fascination of the unknown and they desire a greatness that is inaccessible to mankind.5 The Razor s Edge5 Of Human Bondage4 The Painted Veil4 The Narrow Corner4 The Moon And Sixpence3 Liza of Lambeth3 Ashenden3 The MagicianTR Cakes and AleTR The Circle A Comedy in Three Acts


  10. Roman Clodia Roman Clodia says:

    Well, this is a departure from the Somerset Maugham I mfamiliar with a Gothic fantasia set in Paris, this falls neatly into two halves The first drags a bit and we re not quite sure where the plot is going, but once Oliver Haddo, the eponymous magician and all round grossly repulsive figure, has been insulted and sets out on a plan for revenge that also neatly provides the material for his horrible experiments, the pages race by A bit Dracula with the uses made of female sexuality, and Well, this is a departure from the Somerset Maugham I mfamiliar with a Gothic fantasia set in Paris, this falls neatly into two halves The first drags a bit and we re not quite sure where the plot is going, but once Oliver Haddo, the eponymous magician and all round grossly repulsive figure, has been insulted and sets out on a plan for revenge that also neatly provides the material for his horrible experiments, the pages race by A bit Dracula with the uses made of female sexuality, and the knowing Van Helsing alike occultist friend, there are some extraordinary moments the esoteric seduction scene which recalls the parade of the Romans in the underworld scene of The Aeneid or the procession in Doctor Faustus the storm towards the end, even the horrors of Haddo s laboratory While this starts off feeling like a book which is exposing black magic as a fraudulent act, by the end it turns into something quite different Interesting, rather racy in parts for a novel published in the 1900s, and a definite departure from the realism of Of Human Bondage, this is a Maugham who I ve never met before


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10 thoughts on “The Magician

  1. Dan Schwent Dan Schwent says:

    Arthur Burdon is due to marry his fiance, Margaret Dauncey The pair have the misfortune of meeting Oliver Haddo, a self styled magician and pompous ass When Arthur assaults Haddo, the Magician hatches a plan to ruin Arthur s life in the most insidious of waysThe Magician is a tale of revenge, seduction, and things of that nature, written by Maugham after he met Aleister Crowley It s pretty much a horror novel, honestly Oliver Haddo is a revolting character that made my skin crawl and his Arthur Burdon is due to marry his fiance, Margaret Dauncey The pair have the misfortune of meeting Oliver Haddo, a self styled magician and pompous ass When Arthur assaults Haddo, the Magician hatches a plan to ruin Arthur s life in the most insidious of waysThe Magician is a tale of revenge, seduction, and things of that nature, written by Maugham after he met Aleister Crowley It s pretty much a horror novel, honestly Oliver Haddo is a revolting character that made my skin crawl and his seduction of Margaret was a little hard to read about Arthur, Susie, and Margaret were also well drawn, flawed characters.For a novel written in 1908, The Magician was surprisingly readable compared to many books of that era The writing was lush and descriptive without being overly flowery and still felt pretty accessible Haddon s occult knowledge and abilities were also very well done, not terribly flashy and somewhat believable I have to think the way magic was depicted influence Susan Clarke s Jonathan Strange Mr Norrell.The only strike against the book that I can readily come up with is the ending I felt it was a little on the anti climatic side and kind of a downer.The Magician is a surprisingly effective horror novel for being over one hundred years old I may have to give old Maugham another shot some day soon Four out of five stars

  2. Chrissie Chrissie says:

    This reads as a Gothic horror story, and it grabbed me which is totally amazing Books of this genre are not ones that normally attract me I do not regret reading it Proof is in the fact that the last three hours of it I spent glued to my seat If Gothic horror stories are your cup of tea, grab it immediately I guarantee you will not be disappointed While I was listening, I was totally enthralled While I was listening, I thought I would give it four stars Only when completed was I release This reads as a Gothic horror story, and it grabbed me which is totally amazing Books of this genre are not ones that normally attract me I do not regret reading it Proof is in the fact that the last three hours of it I spent glued to my seat If Gothic horror stories are your cup of tea, grab it immediately I guarantee you will not be disappointed While I was listening, I was totally enthralled While I was listening, I thought I would give it four stars Only when completed was I released from its spell Only when released from its spell could I return to my senses I have given the book three stars Yes, I liked it, and yes it grabbed me and yes it gave me a scary thrill, but what did it teach me Actually, not all that much I hope from this review, you can decide if YOU should read it The setting of the novel is England and Paris, France, at the turn of the 20th century Margaret Dauncy is soon to marry her long time friend and beloved guardian Arthur Burdon, an acclaimed English surgeon He visits her in Paris while she and her friend Susie Boyd are studying art There they come in contact with Oliver Haddo, a mysterious and alluring but at the same time insidious occultist, a magician of the Black Arts All are to come under his spell Just as we readers come under the spell of the book The occult was in fashion when Maugham wrote this in London, in 1907, after a short residence in Paris living on the Left Bank The magician in the novel and the one referred to in its title was modelled on Aleister Crowley 1875 1947 , an English occultist, novelist, poet, painter and big game hunter whom Maugham had met when in Paris He had taken an immediate dislike to the man The novel is by no means a biography it is a story of fiction It is interesting to note though that Crowley, on reading the novel, recognized himself and wrote a declamatory review under the name of Oliver Haddo When the book was republished, circa fifty years after its original publication in 1908, Maugham added a foreword Entitled A Fragment of Autobiography, it explains in detail that which I have summarized in the preceding paragraph The foreword is not to be missed Both the foreword and the entire novel is in fact accessible free online here Before you grab it, read what I have to say about the audiobook.The audiobook includes the foreword It is narrated by David Rintoul His performance is fantastic We are given a show, a dramatization of the written words that is better than anything one can imagine I do not usually enjoy dramatizations, but this I loved It is superb, it cannot be improved upon Even the French is impeccably rendered Remember, much takes place in Paris Don t read the book listen to it I believe I became as enthralled as I did because I listened to David Rintoul s narration Each of W Somerset Maugham s novels are different from his others in content, theme and style Each is unique, a surprise and a delicious treat My ratings of Maugham s books Then and Now 5 starsMrs Craddock 4 starsCakes and Ale 4 starsThe Painted Veil 4 starsLiza of Lambeth 3 starsThe Razor s Edge 3 starsThe Magician 3 starsChristmas Holiday 3 starsTheatre 2 starsThe Moon and Sixpence 2 starsOf Human Bondage 2 stars

  3. Brett C Brett C says:

    This was a strange and yet entertaining story This story is not based off traditional witchcraft but getsinto the shadowy and occult black arts It started out with ordinary people with ordinary lives for the time period until the mysterious Oliver Haddo comes into their lives Doctor Arthur Burdon, a renowned English surgeon, has a normal life with plans of marrying the love of his life, Margret Things start to get weird after they encounter Oliver Haddo, a self proclaimed magician and This was a strange and yet entertaining story This story is not based off traditional witchcraft but getsinto the shadowy and occult black arts It started out with ordinary people with ordinary lives for the time period until the mysterious Oliver Haddo comes into their lives Doctor Arthur Burdon, a renowned English surgeon, has a normal life with plans of marrying the love of his life, Margret Things start to get weird after they encounter Oliver Haddo, a self proclaimed magician and occult practitioner The magician is the acquaintance of Arthur s friend, Dr Porho t who is an expert in the occult Eventually Haddo starts to infiltrate their lives to the point where lives are shattered The book has occult references, black magic rituals like necromancy, a supernatural dream sequence, and descriptive imagery that help add to the plot s gloomy atmosphere.Overall is was a decent story Background information is the author met knew occultist Aleister Crowley in real life and based the book about him Knowing myself I will reread it in a few years and I ll discover things I missed the first time I would recommend this because it entertaining Thanks

  4. Susan Susan says:

    First published in 1908, this was W Somerset Maugham s last novel for seven years, as he devoted himself to writing for the theatre The rest obviously did him good, as he returned with the classic, Of Human Bondage, but this is an interesting, and lesser known, novel It was inspired by meeting Alastair Crowley in Paris, who became the character, Oliver Haddo Crowley himself responded to Maugham s interpretation of his character with a wry magazine article, How to Write a Novel which h First published in 1908, this was W Somerset Maugham s last novel for seven years, as he devoted himself to writing for the theatre The rest obviously did him good, as he returned with the classic, Of Human Bondage, but this is an interesting, and lesser known, novel It was inspired by meeting Alastair Crowley in Paris, who became the character, Oliver Haddo Crowley himself responded to Maugham s interpretation of his character with a wry magazine article, How to Write a Novel which he signed using his fictional name.We begin with Arthur Burdon, a surgeon, who is visiting Paris to see his fianc e, Margaret He has been Margaret s guardian since she was a child and has insisted she spend the two years in Paris, studying art, with her friend, Susie Boyd, before their marriage All is light and happiness, until Arthur s friend, retired doctor and occult scholar, Dr Porhoet, introduces them to the notorious Oliver Haddo When Arthur loses his temper, Haddo takes revenge in a terrible way.This is very much a novel of two parts It begins slowly unravelling the characters, their motivations and their feelings Then, towards the end, we have a bizarre, supernatural showdown In some ways, this reminds me of, A Handful of Dust, by Evelyn Waugh, which I read recently Not in terms of the theme, but in the way the novel starts as one thing and ends as quite another I like the beginning of the novel best, with the sinister Oliver Haddo, initially being seen as something of a joke and then, gradually, revealing his powers Maugham remains one of my favourite authors and I enjoyed re reading this very much

  5. Tim Tim says:

    This is a rather strange, but fascinating little book Despite the short length 196 on my edition it feels almost like two separate books It starts off as something like a comedy of errors, then slowly becomessinister until it becomes a flat out horror novel.The story focuses on a couple that meet a claimed magician named Oliver Haddo Our magician is boastful, seemingly has a story for every scenario which will of course make him sound amazing and has a bit of a sense of humor There This is a rather strange, but fascinating little book Despite the short length 196 on my edition it feels almost like two separate books It starts off as something like a comedy of errors, then slowly becomessinister until it becomes a flat out horror novel.The story focuses on a couple that meet a claimed magician named Oliver Haddo Our magician is boastful, seemingly has a story for every scenario which will of course make him sound amazing and has a bit of a sense of humor There s a great moment where he tells a tale about how after his father passed away, he kept feeling like he was trying to tell him something After performing a ritual to see his ghost, we get the following dialogueBuy Ashantis, they are bound to go up I did as he told me but my father was always unlucky in speculation, and they went down steadily I sold out at considerable loss, and concluded that in the world beyond they are as ignorant of the tendency of the Stock Exchange as we are in this vale of sorrow At first Haddo seems rather oafish, he s portrayed comically and one might suspect that the plot would involve debunking his magic and letting science and enlightenment reign One would be wrong, as we see Haddo go from a source of comedy to a rather repulsive figure His actions are dark, and with enough implications of what is going on behind the scenes well, one might suspect that it could have been published later than 1908 The most fascinating aspect of the novel in my opinion, is actually the origin Apparently Maugham started writing it after he met Aleister Crowley who he immediately thought of as a buffoonish con man, and couldn t see how anyone could actually fall for him As he kept meeting him in social circles though and saw people s reactions to him, his character became less comedic in the book andsinister You can actually see the transition happen between chapters Crowley responded after publication by writing an article for Vanity Fair in which he accused Maugham of plagiarism While this was no doubt set off by him being annoyed at the character obviously mocking him, he does make a compelling argument The Penguin edition of the book contains some of the paragraphs the Crowley quoted Many of the paragraphs are exactly the same, except for one sentence reworded If this was published now, it would be enough to end Maugham s career Overall the book is entertaining, but it has such weird pacing and feels so strange both in a positive, and negative way that I can t really recommend it to everyone That said, I still enjoyed it, and if it sounds intriguing from the above, you ll most likely want to give it a shot 3 5

  6. Nancy Oakes Nancy Oakes says:

    The Magician has so many of those elements that send my little dark fiction reader heart racing, among them pulpy mysterious melodrama, a bit of decadence, and of course the dark forces of the occult and the supernatural At its heart though, it is a story of revenge plotted by a most sinister villain, the Magician Oliver Haddo, and the race to save young Margaret Dauncey, the woman at the center of it all for plot details etc., you can go to my reading journal The Magician has so many of those elements that send my little dark fiction reader heart racing, among them pulpy mysterious melodrama, a bit of decadence, and of course the dark forces of the occult and the supernatural At its heart though, it is a story of revenge plotted by a most sinister villain, the Magician Oliver Haddo, and the race to save young Margaret Dauncey, the woman at the center of it all for plot details etc., you can go to my reading journal was hooked right from the beginning, and later, as I realized where Maugham was taking this tale, it got eveninteresting since it wasn t at all what I expected when I started it The main question for me here was whether Haddo was a genuine magician alchemical adept or just a fast talking fake with hypnotic powers, and it was a question that kept me turning pages as the novel went on By the time I reached the ending, well, let s just say that I d made up my mind, and by then the pages were flying It s one I can definitely recommend to readers who like darker fiction that moves into the realm of the occult It s a fun read

  7. Trevor Trevor says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here I m becoming increasingly fond of Maugham There is something about the self deprecation of the English that is so utterly appealing It is worth even just reading the Fragment of Autobiography that precedes the text and can be read here for a taste of his tone Bits of this made me laugh out loud Take I was looked upon as a promising young writer and, I think I may say it without vanity, was accepted as a member of the intelligentsia, an honoura I m becoming increasingly fond of Maugham There is something about the self deprecation of the English that is so utterly appealing It is worth even just reading the Fragment of Autobiography that precedes the text and can be read here for a taste of his tone Bits of this made me laugh out loud Take I was looked upon as a promising young writer and, I think I may say it without vanity, was accepted as a member of the intelligentsia, an honourable condition which, some years later, when I became a popular writer of light comedies, I lost and have never since regained Isn t that gorgeous I think this book could so easily have been much better than it ended up, but I still enjoyed it immensely and if I think that I would have written it differently, that in itself is fairly high praise for a book to have me considering how I would re construct it shows how interested in its themes and concerns I was.The antagonist in this story is based on Aleister Crowley someone who has an important role to play in Of Human Bondage too He is a real person and sounds like quite a character As you can see, I m working on my understatement.I kept thinking of Alan Bennett at the start of this book and his wonderful monologue, A Lady of Letters where she says that in a book if someone says they are terribly alone and without love in their life and feel that nothing is ever going to change, that is a sure sign that things are about to completely change for them and happiness is about to come streaming into their life, whereas in life if you say that you are alone it is very likely that that is how your life will remain A truth I mor less working on proving at the moment.So at the start of this novel when the happy loving couple are gazing into each other s eyes and say that they could not behappy and Suzie says of Margaret that she must be careful as she could make Arthurunhappy than anyone else in the world, well, it is pretty obvious where this story is going Not that I mind that A storm is not made less frightening by our hearing it rumble in the distance as it approaches I m going to have to spoil this book for you now Haddo, the character based on Crowley, is a fat magician Years ago I was thinking of having a car sticker made up that said, Necromancers Raise Hell I thought it was very funny, but a dear friend of mine pointed out that what I take to be funny, many people take to be deadly serious Haddo is that sort of magician.Where Haddo is full of himself and terribly proud, Arthur is a doctor who is the essence of rationality and who is madly in love with Margaret Margaret is in Paris having a bit of a holiday before marrying Arthur She would rather have just married Arthur, but he insisted she have a bit of a holiday beforehand She is accompanied by Suzie, who also falls in love with Arthur on first seeing him Haddo, the magician, is fat and a revolting pig of a man, a fact that Arthur points out repeatedly at the start of the novel No one is completely good, but Haddo is as near to completely evil as one could reasonably expect to get away with in a novel.The turning point of the novel is an altercation in which Haddo is humiliated by Arthur it is clear that Haddo plots to revenge himself on Arthur and he does thisthan completely by stealing Margaret from him Worse for Arthur, she goes from being a pure and sweet innocent to a debauched harlot if one who remains a virgin can really be a harlot There is no doubt that Haddo is both a cad and a bounder how is it possible that either of those words could have been lost to the lexicon Or Blackguard pronounced blag ard as if the language wasn t suffering enough with the loss of Zounds But the book makes it clear that her conversion is due to Haddo s black magic You see, I d not have had it so I would have left that unclear I d have played with the desire of innocent young women to be debauched under the power of mystical men muchBut I guess the book is also a product of its time and for a lady to make such a descent, well, black magic is the only possible explanation.But how muchpsychologically interesting this book could so easily have been All the same, it reminds me of Of Human Bondage in another sense too in that idea of Maugham s that there is no hope for a balance of love Do you know that Joe Jackson song Be My Number Two A song my daughter Maddy hatesthan any other Won t you be my number two, me and number one are through There won t be that much to do, just smile when I feel blue Repeatedly he makes Suzie all too aware of her role as number two, the person who everyone can see is in love with Arthur and who must do what she can to re unite him with his true love Oh, love is a terrible and strange thing.There are problems with this novel, as Maugham himself says, The style is lush and turgid, not at all the sort of style I approve of now, but perhaps not unsuited to the subject and there are a great manyadverbs and adjectives than I should use today All the same, there are moments when the writing is breathtaking The scene in the middle of the storm towards the end where Margaret returns is a fantastic piece of writing I mean, just look at this Without a pause between, as quickly as a stone falls to the ground, the din which was all about them ceased There was no gradual diminution But at one moment there was a roaring hurricane and at the next a silence so complete that it might have been the silence of death The other piece of writing that stood out was the whole scene between Haddo and Margaret in her apartment with him basically magically seducing her The image of the burning water is etched into my memory now though mostly the idea of him contemplating the end of the world as being in his power really stole my imagination at this point And as can be said of so much of female sexuality from this era if not all eras the loss of control is to be blamed elsewhere This is also true in this scene But Haddo s final words are When you want me you will find me And you know what, I don t think I could get someone out of my mind who said that to me as they left either.Margaret s last evening with Arthur shows just how cruel passion can be Margaret s whipping him into a sexual frenzy that can never be satisfied, and the irony of this scene is fully known to the reader is a remarkable scene, all theremarkable by the limits placed on Maugham s ability to saythan is within the bounds of decency That kiss is as painful as any I ve ever experienced in life So, even though there were things about this book I didn t particularly like and things I d have done differently I really did enjoy it and thought the bits that were good were very, very good

  8. Anushree Rastogi Anushree Rastogi says:

    Maugham s novel The Magician is an aesthetic disaster From the fumbling realism at the beginning of the novel to the childishly Gothic fable that it turns into, the book seems to lack structure, design and well developed characters Maugham himself, on reading the book later, described it aslush and turgidCluttered with adjectives, the writing, bordering on being kitschy, does little to gloss over a story that is formulaic and shallow The plot is facile and it is no surprise that it was m Maugham s novel The Magician is an aesthetic disaster From the fumbling realism at the beginning of the novel to the childishly Gothic fable that it turns into, the book seems to lack structure, design and well developed characters Maugham himself, on reading the book later, described it aslush and turgidCluttered with adjectives, the writing, bordering on being kitschy, does little to gloss over a story that is formulaic and shallow The plot is facile and it is no surprise that it was met with derision from literary circles.The plot in one sentence is that this novel s eponymous antihero, Oliver Haddo, bewitches the young beauty Margaret Dauncey into marrying him to avenge his public humiliation at the hands of Arthur Bourdon, Margaret s fiance What Maugham seems to be doing in the magician is playing a bullying schoolboy, ridiculing Aleister Crowley, self publicist, occulist and an acquaintance of Maugham s on whom the sordid character of Oliver Haddo is based The ostensibly fantastic story seems to draw inspiration from the spectacularly disastrous marriage of Crowley to Rose Edith Kelly, who was later institutionalized for alcoholic dementia Crowley, a square and plump man, slightly round in the face is caricatured into an man a with avast bulk and a savage, sensual face Crowley, however, would not let this pass What followed was a war of words, Crowley wrote a critique of the book, under the pen name of Olive Haddo, which was published in the Vanity Fair Magazine He would later summarize this review in his Confessions 1929 Maugham had taken some of the most private and personal incidents of my life, my marriage my magical opinions, ambitions and exploits and so on He had added a number of the many absurd legends of which I was the central figure He had patched all these together by innumerable strips of paper clipped from the books which I had told Gerald to buy I had never supposed that plagiarism could have been so varied, extensive and shameless Maugham, for his part, denied having read the review, adding his own bit of sizzling sarcasm, saying,I daresay it was a pretty piece of vituperation, but probably, like his poems, intolerably verbose The characters seems schmaltzy and uni dimensional The heroine Margaret is effectively a child and Arthur and Susie supervise her existence, the former paying her bills and the latter choosing her clothes Margaret s empty life and feeble character leave her hopelessly vulnerable to Haddo s attack upon her psyche Unable to concede the fact that someone like Margaret Rose would accede to Haddo Crowley s proposal of marriage out of he own free will, Maugham lavishes upon him magical powers which he ruthlessly uses to make her marry him The righteous surgeon Arthur Burdon is an ambassador from our purely rational world who finds himself trapped in a novel where the supernatural is possible His staid attempts at upholding sanity in a world which seems to be caught in a Gothic vortex are pitiable He is doomed to irrationally insist upon the rational in the face of all incoming evidence We may suspect that Haddo is squandering his infernal genius upon a man who is too daft to appreciate it Susie Boyd isevolved that the rest, but Maugham diagnoses her as plain, a condition as apparently debilitating as leprosy, for herown stock of enthusiasms was run low .Arthur is not handsome and he has a large nose, but he can compensate for this plainness with his masculine character Maugham repeatedly dwells on Haddo s obesity with appalling vapidity and insolenceshe saw that in the last six months he was grown much balder and the shiny whiteness of his naked crown contrasted oddly with the redness of his face He was stouter, too, and the fat hung in heavy folds under his chin his paunch was preposterous The vivacity of his movements made his huge corpulence subtly alarming He was growing indeed strangely terrible in appearance His eyes had still that fixed, parallel look, but there was in them now at times a ferocious gleam He even makes a Yo Mama s so fat joke in his own inimitable style Margaret visits Haddo s mother in a lunatic asylum and findsa woman of revolting, excessive corpulence,weltering in brown flannel Crowley s own mother was a devout evangelist and he had fallen out with her fairly early in life Singling out Crowley s disaffection from his mother for mockery seems, in some scintillantly, malicious way, to get to the bottom of his devilry In 1956, Maugham s publishers reissued the novel and Maugham added an explanatoryFragment of AutobiographyWhat would be truly interesting would be to read Crowley s review alongside Maugham sFragment,to know the two different sides of the story But history is written by the victors and The Magician is today rememberedas a roman clef about Crowley than as the starting point of a spectacularly juvenile altercation that threatened to drown Maugham s career in the infamy of plagiarism Crowley died in squalor in 1947 whilst Maugham lived on, sunning himself in the south of France.For a book based on magic, the writing is horribly lacking in any of Maugham s literary wizardry Disappointed

  9. Laura Laura says:

    Free download available at Project GutenbergAn astonishing gothic story written by Somerset Maugham.Location 122 Dr Porh et knew that a diversity of interests, though it adds charm to a man s personality, tends to weaken him.Location 140 One of my cherished ideas is that it is impossible to love without imagination.Location 277 She had learnt long ago that common sense, intelligence, good nature, and strenght of character were unimportant in comparison with a pretty face.Location 384 I shall not Free download available at Project GutenbergAn astonishing gothic story written by Somerset Maugham.Location 122 Dr Porh et knew that a diversity of interests, though it adds charm to a man s personality, tends to weaken him.Location 140 One of my cherished ideas is that it is impossible to love without imagination.Location 277 She had learnt long ago that common sense, intelligence, good nature, and strenght of character were unimportant in comparison with a pretty face.Location 384 I shall not have lived in vain if I teach you in time to realize the rapier of irony iseffective an instrument than the bludgeon of insolence.Location 480 Yet magic is nothan the art of employing consciously invisble means to porduce visible effects Will, love, and imagination are magic powers that everyone possesses and whoever knows how to develop them to their fullest extent is a magician Magic has but one dogma, namely, that the seen is the measure of the unseen.Location 504 You should be aware that science, dealing only with the general, leaves out of consideration the individual cases that contradict the enormous majority.Location 741 Man can know nothing, for his senses are his only means of knowledge, and they can give no certainty There is only one subject upon which the individual can speak with authority, and that is his own mind, but even here he is surrounded with darkness.Location 1002 We should look for knowledge where we may expect tp find it, and why should a man be despised who goes in search of it Location 1053 Fools and sots aim at happiness, but men aim only at power The magus, the sorcerer, the alchemist, are seized with fascination of the unknown and they desire a greatness that is inaccessible to mankind.5 The Razor s Edge5 Of Human Bondage4 The Painted Veil4 The Narrow Corner4 The Moon And Sixpence3 Liza of Lambeth3 Ashenden3 The MagicianTR Cakes and AleTR The Circle A Comedy in Three Acts

  10. Roman Clodia Roman Clodia says:

    Well, this is a departure from the Somerset Maugham I mfamiliar with a Gothic fantasia set in Paris, this falls neatly into two halves The first drags a bit and we re not quite sure where the plot is going, but once Oliver Haddo, the eponymous magician and all round grossly repulsive figure, has been insulted and sets out on a plan for revenge that also neatly provides the material for his horrible experiments, the pages race by A bit Dracula with the uses made of female sexuality, and Well, this is a departure from the Somerset Maugham I mfamiliar with a Gothic fantasia set in Paris, this falls neatly into two halves The first drags a bit and we re not quite sure where the plot is going, but once Oliver Haddo, the eponymous magician and all round grossly repulsive figure, has been insulted and sets out on a plan for revenge that also neatly provides the material for his horrible experiments, the pages race by A bit Dracula with the uses made of female sexuality, and the knowing Van Helsing alike occultist friend, there are some extraordinary moments the esoteric seduction scene which recalls the parade of the Romans in the underworld scene of The Aeneid or the procession in Doctor Faustus the storm towards the end, even the horrors of Haddo s laboratory While this starts off feeling like a book which is exposing black magic as a fraudulent act, by the end it turns into something quite different Interesting, rather racy in parts for a novel published in the 1900s, and a definite departure from the realism of Of Human Bondage, this is a Maugham who I ve never met before

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