I've only just discovered the wonders of W. Somerset Maugham. This was the first of his works that I have ever read, and it was an absolute pleasure. There are other reviewers on these pages who are more knowledgeable and better critics than I, so I am just going to tell you how much I enjoyed this particular compilation. Every story was a treasure. Every single character was so well drawn, that for the first time in a long time I found myself empathising with these people, loving them, hating them, lamenting for them and genuinely caring about what happened to them.
Every story started off in a fairly prosaic, nondescript fashion. But every story had me hooked by at least the first page. Sometimes they unfolded as funny stories, other were tales about how an individual's world had changed catastrophically. I never got bored, and the writing was never predictable, Maugham always had a surprisingly poetical observation to make that would send me into raptures. This is truly a writer of sensitivity and talent. I can honestly say that I have been searching for a writer of this calibre for a long time. If you care anything at all about the amazing stories that ordinary, little people have, then read this book and Maugham's other works. He truly is a master.