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Novelist Somerset Maugham exposed as cruel father in daughters' lost tapes.

Byline: ANI

London, August 30 (ANI): English novelist Somerset Maugham has been exposed as an unkind father who inflicted cruelty on his daughter, Liza, in newly discovered tapes.

The tapes that Liza made before her death in 1998 shed light on the harsh life she spent as a kid at the hands of her father and his gay lovers, including one incident in which her puppy was flung out of a moving car.

Liza's tapes were intended for a memoir, but she never wrote one.

They remained hidden until transcripts were tracked down to the south of France by Selina Hastings, who has written Maugham's first authorised biography.

The tapes paint a vivid picture of a childhood tormented by the dysfunctional relationship of her parents, Maugham and Syrie.

Although the couple married after Liza's birth, Maugham remained very distant and was far more attached to two men, Gerald Haxton, whom he met while serving as a medic during the First World War, and Alan Searle, a later companion.

Searle even tried to supplant Liza in the author's will by casting doubt on her legitimacy.

The tapes show Liza recalling how, as an eight-year-old, she went for a drive on the French Riviera, where her father spent much of his time with Haxton, a friend and her puppy.

"Suddenly, in an act of possibly drunken, seemingly inexplicable cruelty, Gerald at the wheel scooped up the dog and hurled it out of the window. I was hysterical and tried to throw myself out of the car after it, but was held back," Times Online quoted her as saying in the tapes.

Miraculously, the dog survived, and turned up several months later.

Liza even reveals in the tapes that the "violent fights" between her parents sometimes left her feeling physically sick, and that she once covered her face in greasepaint to disguise her tears.

She admits: "I had quite the reverse of a happy childhood." (ANI)

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Publication:Asian News International
Date:Aug 30, 2009
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