The Hero

The Hero

By

4.5
(2 Reviews)
The Hero by W. Somerset Maugham

Published:

1901

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3,786

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The Hero

By

4.5
(2 Reviews)

Book Excerpt

wound partly healed, scarring over; and he began to take an interest in the affairs of the life surrounding him. He could read his paper without every word stabbing him by some chance association; and there is nothing like the daily and thorough perusal of a newspaper for dulling a man's brain. He pottered about his garden gossiping with the gardener; made little alterations in the house--bricks and mortar are like an anodyne; he collected stamps; played bezique with his wife; and finally, in his mild, gentle way, found peace of mind.

But when James passed brilliantly out of Sandhurst, the thought seized him that the good name which he valued so highly might be retrieved. Colonel Parsons had shrunk from telling the youth anything of the catastrophe which had driven him from the service; but now he forced himself to give an exact account thereof. His wife sat by, listening with pain in her eyes, for she knew what torture it was to revive that half-forgotten story.

"I thought you had better hear

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After 5 years in India and fighting in the Boer War, the son of a disgraced army colonel returns home to his village with the Victoria Cross. He is appalled by the bigotry and narrowness of mind of his fiancée, his parents, and the townspeople.
A minor novel by Maugham with a fairly simple plot, told from the hero's point of view. Not the kind of book that endeared him to British rustics.
If you can transport yourself back to a time when rigid notions of duty, piety and honour held sway in the general population, but were just beginning to crack, you will really enjoy this book. It's about a war hero returning from the Boer war around 1901 and finding he is now out of sympathy with the values and views of his much-loved but conventional parents. Worse, he no longer wants to marry his fiancée of five years standing. The book is in a sense prophetic, since it foreshadows the much greater seismic shifts in society that would be caused by the horrors of the First World War.
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