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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

A slight but evocative novella which vividly depicts inner-city London at the close of the Victorian era. Dickensian in characterisation - but never sentimental - Maugham places himself at the centre of a rumbustious and brazen community, depicting with tenderness both its brutality and warmth.



"- 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,

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