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Summary

“How can I be reasonable? To me our love was everything and you were my whole life. It is not very pleasant to realize that to you it was only an episode.”

The Painted Veil is the story of Kitty Garstin, a young socialite who amuses herself with the pursuit of various men until settling into a marriage with a physician, who takes her to Hong Kong to begin his work. Shortly after they move, Kitty meets the charming, yet distasteful, Charlie Townsend, and begins a passionate affair that lasts several years without notice from her husband.

As most passionate affairs do, this one ends in a dramatic fashion, and Kitty is whisked away to mainland China with her husband as he is sent to help the cholera outbreak. While her husband works tirelessly to cure the spreading disease, Kitty discovers that she is pregnant–and that Charlie is likely the father. This discovery begins a transformation in Kitty, as she realizes that she desires to be authentic to herself and to others, rather than being deceptive any longer. This, however, is the beginning of long series of tragedies for Kitty, tragedies that will force her into maturing and living for the service of others.

The Painted Veil is an examination of the importance of authenticity–to one’s self, and to the people held dearly in one’s life. The further Kitty gets wrapped up in the lies she tells herself and others, the more lost she is–and it is only through honesty and self-reflection that she is once more able to find herself and find a path to follow.

Public Domain (P)2021 InAudio

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Shame about the computerised style narration

Wonderfully relevant and beautifully written.
This book will transport you to a whole different world with Maugham captivating descriptions and sensitive observations.