When I heard about Maughan, he always seemed like one of those semi-comprehensible pretentious authors, whose readership stemmed more from "intellectual" duty than genuine appreciation.
I was surprised when I discovered Maughan is not just an easygoing author, his prose is descriptive and almost poetic at times. He is everything but pretentious. His style is objective.
I had the feeling I was reading an ancient classic, one of those XIX century novels with a delicious observation sense about characters. I know it might seem like a critic, as I'm saying he is behind his time, but in that case it's not.
As this novel was written in the mid-century, of course we have to forgive a little misogynistic folly, and as an atheist I really couldn't care less about the discussion as to why evil exists if God is inherently good, but in the end it stands as a sharp influence of writing.