W. Somerset Maugham's short stories are his most highly regarded work, and the structure of The Moon and Sixpence reveals his preference for episodes and anecdotes. Partly inspired by the life of Gauguin and partly by Maugham's own life, the novel depicts a great artist as a driven, surly outcast, literally a leper. The characters are essentially one-dimensional and some stereotypes are quaint at best, but Maugham's sophisticated voice, spiked with barbed philosophical insights, remains amusing. Reader Neil Hunt does a good job voicing each character. The 1919 best seller may have a nostalgic appeal for older audiences, but most collections can safely give it a miss.‘Michael Barrett, San Antonio P.L.