I didn't feel much sympathy for any of the characters. Maugham himself came across as rather pompous and condescending. His views on women were unpleasant. There are a number of philosophical speeches that were less than interesting. The description, particularly of the people was repetitious. We're told over and over that Larry has a melodious voice. I also found the story somewhat implausible in terms of Larry's achievements with "magic" and spirituality, as well as the ease with which Maugham becomes an important confidant of these characters.