The Narrow Corner is a novel by the British writer W. Somerset Maugham, published by William Heinemann in 1932.
A quote from Meditations, iii 10, by Marcus Aurelius, introduces the work: "Short therefore, is man's life, and narrow is the corner of the earth wherein he dwells." In the story, set "a good many years ago" in what is now Indonesia, a young Australian, cruising the islands after his involvement in a murder in Sydney, has a passionate affair on an island which causes a further tragedy.
William Somerset Maugham was an English playwright, novelist, and short-story writer. He was among the most popular writers of his era and reputedly the highest-paid author during the 1930s.
Both Maugham's parents died before he was 10, and the orphaned boy was raised in Whitstable, Kent by a paternal uncle, who was emotionally cold. He did not want to become a lawyer like other men in his family, so he trained and qualified as a physician. His first novel Liza of Lambeth (1897) sold out so rapidly that Maugham gave up medicine to write full-time. In 1915 he wrote Of Human Bondage, widely considered his masterpiece.
During the First World War, he served with the Red Cross and in the ambulance corps before being recruited in 1916 into the British Secret Intelligence Service. He worked for the service in Switzerland and Russia before the October Revolution of 1917 in the Russian Empire. During and after the war, he travelled in India, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. He drew from those experiences in his later short stories and novels.