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The Casuarina Tree - cover

The Casuarina Tree

W. Somerset Maugham

Publisher: Open Road Media

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Summary

A collection of six stories—including the acclaimed “The Outstation”—by the renowned twentieth-century author of the classic Of Human Bondage.   Set in the Federated Malay States during the 1920s, these stories portray the lives of the English living abroad and the clashes that occur with the native Malaysians—and among themselves.   In “Before the Party,” a widow who lies about the cause of her husband’s death in Borneo is confronted by her family and blithely reveals the truth of his untimely death. “P. & O.” follows a woman sailing home to England to seek a divorce; struggling with fears of aging and loneliness, she finds a way to be at peace with herself after a fellow passenger succumbs to a mysterious illness. Though in Borneo for decades, a British Resident Officer holds tightly to English customs and traditions, but his snobbery and classism come under attack when he is saddled with a boorish new assistant in “The Outstation.”   In “The Force of Circumstance,” the new marriage of a British official and his wife reaches a breaking point when she learns of his not-so-secret past in Sembulu. “The Yellow Streak” follows two British men who are swept away by a tidal bore on a river in Borneo; though they both survive, one is nearly driven to madness by his suspicions that his companion knows he left him to drown. “The Letter” opens in Singapore with a British woman accused of murder in an act of self-defense; when evidence comes to light that proves she is lying, her lawyer and her husband must face their convictions—and the woman they thought they knew . . .

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