He’s an exile from Nicaragua. He’s a ruffian of course and a bandit, but not a bad fellow.
—–The Man With the Scar, Somerset Maugham
Every now and then I like to share a short story that is readable online. I used to do this a month at a time every couple years ( 2013, Day One 2015, Day One 2017) and may yet this year – but for now… here’s one.
Today’s story is The Man With the Scar. You can read a PDF of it here.
I was cleaning out the files on a laptop when I stumbled across a PDF entitled The Man With the Scar. It was a short story by Somerset Maugham. Obviously, I had read it before and downloaded it, but I didn’t really remember it. I re-read it and then searched my archives to see if I had written about it before. It was mentioned here – in a review of another Somerset Maugham short story. I had forgotten how much I loved his short stories. I had read the thing in a lending library at a park downtown – Klyde Warren – the park build over a freeway.
But I had never linked to the story itself.
Which is a shame, it’s a little piece of greatness. What a horrible tale told in such high-falutin’ language. It encapsulates the insane evil that springs forth when human life is held in such little regard.
Is the Man With the Scar a hero or a villain? An evil man… maybe, or an ordinary man caught in a hopeless farrago of wickedness. He does at least take a stand… but it is such a depraved stance. He realizes that beauty has no place in his world – no place for mercy or for sacrifice.
I guess our only reaction to a story like this is to rejoice we don’t live in the same place as these characters do… or to maybe at least hope we don’t.