Thursday, 20 May 2010

Ah King - W. Somerset Maugham



 Ah King (London: Heinemann, 1933)

Ah King is a collection of six short stories and the title is not an exclamation. As Maugham explained in the preface, Ah King was a Chinese boy that he had as a servant to look after him during his trip to Borneo, Indo-China and Siam. It is to be a commemoration for the emotion that Ah King, who otherwise was placid and indifferent, showed when they were to part. The stories were set in places in which the two travelled together.

The six stories are:

  • Footprints in the Jungle
  • The Door of Opportunity
  • The Vessel of Wrath
  • The Book-Bag
  • The Back of Beyond
  • Neil MacAdam

The copy that I owned is a stated first UK edition without dust jacket. The first American edition is published by Doubleday in the same year. The price for both collections are cheap and easily available, some of which have the original dust jackets. There are several signed copies in the market from US$1650 onwards. For modern copies and paperbacks, Search Amazon.com for ah king maugham

3 comments :

  1. My absolute favorite book by Maugham - well at least as of yet. The most finely-crafted stories I've ever read. I got my Heinemann first with original dust jacket (watch out for dust-jacket facsimiles) for around $60. I also like the Viking reprint from 1977 in brown binding - they did a fine job. [I'll soon be reading "Of Human Bondage" for the first time since 23 years ago. (I began re-reading it once at some point in between but abandoned it.) So it may oust "Ah King" as my top favorite. Or not.]

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    Replies
    1. I haven't read this one for quite some time as a whole. Great stories.

      Funny, I am reading Of Human Bondage. I find it an effective antidote to depression. How about Cakes and Ale?

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  2. Cakes and Ale is on my list to read again. I read it first about 10 years ago. I remember laughing several times while reading it.

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