WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY PAUL THEROUX
Somerset Maugham's success as a writer enabled him to indulge his adventurous love of travel, and he recorded the sights and sounds of his wide-ranging journeys with an urbane, wry style all his own. The Gentleman in the Parlour is an account of the author's trip through what was then Burma and Siam, ending in Haiphong, Vietnam. Whether by river to Mandalay, on horse through the mountains and forests of the Shan States to Bangkok, or onwards by sea, Maugham's vivid descriptions bring a lost world to life.
"There enough raw material to sate his imagination and the journey itself takes on the contours of a story worth recording. Among the coolly-observed descriptions of ruined pagodas there's the added treat of Maugham's catty thoughts on his craft"
"Maugham's finest travel book...As the urbane novelist wends his way through tropic climes, he reads Proust under the mosquito netting, listens to stories of passion and madness from British colonials gone to seed, and bears up under the merciless sun, sipping at a gin and bitters and laying out a hand of solitaire"
"An elegant writer's notebook, imaginative, crammed with impressions and ideas received simply and directly, without the filtering screens of literariness or Englishness... he writes with majestic plainness"
"A delightful book - It contains vivid travel impressions, some autobiographical confidences, and the plots for a dozen novels"