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Liza of Lambeth

W. Somerset Maugham

Book Overview: 

Liza of Lambeth focuses on the challenges of life facing Liza, an 18 year old factory girl who lives in the poverty of the slums of 1890s London. The main plot is driven by Liza's affections and the consequences these have for her. Based on W Somerset Maugham's experiences as a visiting trainee Doctor at the time, the book is an insight into working class life at the time and was his debut, the success of which led to him pursuing his vocation not as a Doctor, but instead a novelist.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .She did not trouble to put on a hat, but just walked out as she was, and accompanied Sally to the public-house which was getting up the expedition.

Although there was still nearly half an hour to wait, the brake was drawn up before the main entrance; it was large and long, with seats arranged crosswise, so that four people could sit on each; and it was drawn by two powerful horses, whose harness the coachman was now examining. Sally was [28] not the first on the scene, for already half a dozen people had taken their places, but Harry had not yet arrived. The two girls stood by the public-door, looking at the preparations. Huge baskets full of food were brought out and stowed away; cases of beer were hoisted up and put in every possible place—under the seats, under the driver's legs, and even beneath the brake. As more people came up, Sally began to get excited about Harry's non-appearance.

'I say, I wish 'e'd come!' she said. ''E is lite.'

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Community Reviews

Liza Of Lambeth (1897) is perhaps Maugham's only novel which I don't have the heart to revisit. Not because it is poor, but because it is so chillingly tragic. It isn't as if his other novels are all light and sunshine. Maugham in fact always had a great eye for human tragedy and unfailingly took up

Not quite my cup of tea but made me interested in a new to me author so it's somewhat of a winner read.

Liza is a blossoming teenage girl with a tough mother, who lives in a tough neighbourhood. A young boy by the name of Tom fancies her, but she’s more attracted to the burly and rougher, Jim, an older man, married with kids. Somerset Maugham’s first novel (from 1897) was written when he was still a m


"- Mas a culpa não foi dele - acudiu Sally, entre soluços. - Foi apenas porque bebeu um copo a mais. Quando não bebe, é muito bom.
- Um copo a mais! Esse grande animal! Eu é que lhe dava uma lição, se fosse homem!
- Desculpa-me, Jim, mas fui ver a Sally, e o marido tinha-lhe batido,

This is Somerset Maugham’s first published story (a short novel or novelette) – and it shows. The only real character is Liza, the others are caricatures and not well-rounded. Liza is a rambunctious and lively teenage girl of eighteen – and that in itself is a departure from some of the stereotypes

I liked this book so I am giving it three stars. Please do not think a three star book is not worth reading! Give it a chance; it takes a while to get pulled in.

One can look at this book in two ways.

You can look at the plot and see what happens. There are three, let’s say four, central characters. L

Read: July 2017
Rating: 4/5 stars

W. Somerset Maugham's first novel follows eighteen year old Liza, a factory worker in the poor South London district of Lambeth. The novel is written in the Cockney colloquial dialect, which makes it a little difficult to follow initially. Maugham tackles a lot of soc

I am reading first novels from some of my favorite authors and Somerset Maugham was on my list.
Having read Of Human Bondage this year, it was fresh in my mind and I could not help compare Liza and Mildred. Mildred was such a despicable character whereas Liza had a good heart but it sent her in the w

This story is set in Lambeth, a working class neighborhood in London, around the end of the 19th century. Liza Kemp is an 18 year old factory worker, living with her sickly mother. Liza is a very outgoing and likeable girl, a favorite with the boys, especially young Tom who is in love with her. But

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