Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Painted Veil (novel)

After watching the movie version of The Painted Veil I quickly bought the bought the Somerset Maugham novel and I gobbled it right up.

The books is so different! The first half is almost exactly the same, but the screenwriters took the characters time in the cholera town in a whole different direction. In the novel, their tense relations persist, but throughout them Kitty begins to transform and develop compassion for him. This is in part through her friendship with a English neighbor (who is important in the movie as well) and through her relationship with nuns. Unlike the movie, she never really understands the significance of her husband's work. Slowly she begin to hope for the ability to live a worthwhile life.

When tragedy strikes, she returns alone to Shanghai (Hong Kong?) and is not as changed as she hoped she was, the final ending brings her to a point where she makes a surprising loving and devoted choice. But so different, so much more grim than the movie!

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