The stories in this collection move from Malaya to America and England, and include some of Maugham's most famous tales; 'Flotsam and Jetsam', the story of an old woman trapped for years in a loveless marriage in the remote rubber plantations; 'The Man with the Scar', and notably the opening story 'The Vessel of Wrath', a tale of the unexpected love that grows between a devout missionary nurse and a drunken reprobate. In this second volume of his collected stories, Maugham illustrates his characteristic wry perception of human foibles and his genius for evoking compelling drama from an acute sense of time and place.
William Somerset Maugham was born in 1874 and lived in Paris until he was ten. He spent some time at St. Thomas's Hospital with the idea of practising medicine, but the success of his first novel, Liza of Lambeth, published in 1897, won him over to letters. Of Human Bondage, the first of his masterpieces, came out in 1915 and with the publication in 1919 of The Moon and Sixpence his reputation as a novelist was established. His fame as a short story writer began with The Trembling of a Leaf, subtitled Little Stories of the South Sea Islands, in 1921, after which he published more than ten collections. In 1927 Somerset Maugham settled in the South of France and lived there until his death in 1965.