Larry Darrell is a young American in search of the absolute. The progress of his spiritual odyssey involves him with some of Maugham's most brilliant characters - his fiancée Isabel whose choice between love and wealth have lifelong repercussions, and Elliott Templeton, her uncle, a classic expatriate American snob. Maugham himself wanders in and out of the story, to observe his characters struggling with their fates.
“[Maugham is] a great artist . . . a genius.” –Theodore Dreiser
“[Maugham’s] excessively rare gift of story-telling . . . is almost the equal of imagination itself.” –The Sunday Times (London)
“It is very difficult for a writer of my generation, if he is honest, to pretend indifference to the work of Somerset Maugham. . . . He was always so entirely there.” –Gore Vidal
“Maugham remains the consummate craftsman. . . . [His writing is] so compact, so economical, so closely motivated, so skillfully written, that it rivets attention from the first page to last.” –Saturday Review of Literature