Cakes and Ale
By W. Somerset Maugham
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780375725029, 320pp.)
Publication Date: December 5, 2000
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Cakes and Ale is a delicious satire of London literary society between the Wars. Social climber Alroy Kear is flattered when he is selected by Edward Driffield's wife to pen the official biography of her lionized novelist husband, and determined to write a bestseller. But then Kear discovers the great novelist's voluptuous muse (and unlikely first wife), Rosie. The lively, loving heroine once gave Driffield enough material to last a lifetime, but now her memory casts an embarrissing shadow over his career and respectable image. Wise, witty, deeply satisfying, Cakes and Ale is Maugham at his best.
Novels of manners never get old. Any quick flip through one of today's celebrity magazines will prove that. From social climbers to spouse grabbers, century to century, nothing changes. Author Helen Simonson offers three novels for going beyond Jane Austen's gossip. More at NPR.org
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