Book Notes: "On a Chinese Screen" by W. Somerset Maugham

On A Chinese ScreenOn A Chinese Screen by W. Somerset Maugham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was pleasing to have purchased this book in Shanghai and to have read it with the images of Shanghai and Hangzhou fresh in my mind. Maugham captures a good deal of the Chinese culture and, from what I saw of The Bund in Shanghai, the Colonial era in full swing. The work consists of 58 portraits of individuals and their idiosyncrasies and various places. At times, it is difficult to tell whether Maugham is mocking, mimicking, or satirising the various ways in which an air of cultural superiority was practised by foreigners in China. Yet it is fascinating reading, particularly in the context of just having visited Shanghai and noting the extent of its Colonial history in the face of ancient culture.

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