The Razor's Edge ( Read ) by W. Somerset Maugham

SUMMARY The Razor's Edge

Life is missing one vital ingredient for he has no sense of purpose During his service on the front in WWI he saw good friends die Now he does not understand why the world can be so violent and cruel Leaving it behind he travels throughout Europe and Asia Books like this that I ve read so long ago in my past come back even now to haunt me like the lilting plaintive refrain of an old Beatles Love songBut I only started it in the mid seventies Even back then working in soulless offices I needed to replenish my heart in long lingering draughts So how did I do thatIf you guessed by hanging around bookstores you nailed it There was a Centretown bookshop of irregular modern architectural design right at the hub of the nearby city my wonderful Dad used to cuss and call it Confusion Suare a hub which would have been ironically termed the heart of the cityCause it wasn t Postmodern cities are uite heartless as their great refabricator Henri Lefebvre used to sayNo the heart of the city was its bookstores this one Classics my fave chain back then and WH Smith Coles Prospero and later Chapters all within that two or three block epicentreBooks as I say replenish my heart Always have ever since that halcyon summer s day in 1956 when I took up Jules Verne after digesting my Dick Jane book in Grade One and finally discovering readingSince that time books always seem to remind me of my Grandmother whose literary spending habits were downright prodigal And she got it from her hubby my bibliophile Viennese GranddadAnd of course they both passed that on to Mom the village librarian and her beloved childrenMom and Dad had obliuely introduced me to Maugham in 1957 I remember and it was in the form of the then popular Mr Maugham Himself a late life anthology in bite sized chunks of reading Mom was a great admirer of his booksAnd no of course I didn t actually Read Maugham back then though my parents extolled his sophistication to the skiesAnd THIS book the Razor s Edge I never finished until I was 56 I had just finished The Moon and Sixpence which had left a foul taste on my mouth but no I wasn t about to give up so easily because my parents swore by Maugham s geniusAnd I remembered The Razor s Edge GLARING down at me from the top of my piano unfinished in 76 Read me Read me it had seemed to scream outAnd so now 30 years after that having been burnt out in retirement and being now browned off by my own disaster summed up in The Moon and Sixpence I picked it upAnd I remembered then that in my twenties I had thought its hero Larry was me Larry the Good self I had almost lost along the way At least that self was burned by years of passive though conscientious objection to the Fire at the centre of our timesAnd I remembered that I DESPISED myself in my naive twenties for my passive betrayal of that selfWell THIS time I loved the book It was so ME it wasn t funnyFor I was by now relearning my own version of the razor s edge my own straight and narrow path through the fire and had been learning it since the nineties Just like LarryNow looking back 15 years later I see the book started an amazing process of Platonic recollection in my soulRemembering all my lost beginnings and roads not taken and straight paths discarded out of hand early on And Virtues shrugged off as uncoolA process that made me come to gradually understand through Larry my OWN SPIRITUAL ODYSSEY Its shaky conception andIts happy Peace filled conclusionWhere I am NOWThank Heaven and many thanks to you Larry also

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The Razor's Edge

The Razor's Edge is a true masterpiece that is among the finest novels ever written about the search for awakening and the meaning of life With a loving girlfriend and the promise of a good career Larry Darrell seems to have everything he could want Yet his In all big cities there are self contained groups that exist without intercommunication small worlds within a greater world that lead their lives their members dependent upon one another for companionship as though they inhabited islands separated from each other by an unnavigable strait Of no city in my experience is this true than of Paris 4 stars I liked this book a lot Much than Maugham s Of Human Bondage but not uite as much as The Painted Veil The first person minor perspective works really well here Maugham inserts himself into the story but mostly exists as an observer and messenger retelling the tales passed to him by Elliott Larry Isabel and others I think this is one of the most interesting narrative structures we are still a part of the story not looking down on it but we are also an outsider peering in It seems to be exactly the right amount of proximity and distance to suit meI also like Maugham best when he is fondly mocking human nature Elliott has to be the most lovable snob I ve ever had the pleasure of encountering It is he that introduces the narrator to young couple Larry and Isabel and he isn t shy about his views on their impending marriage In France the only civilized country Elliott says Isabel would have the sense to marry Gray instead and take Larry as a lover Who could deny that Elliott that arch snob was also the kindest most considerate and generous of men The story is about the journey of all these characters as they each pursue their own personal goals Elliott s goal being social eminence Isabel s wealth and comfort and Larry s perhaps most interesting of all enlightenment and self understanding Larry is a fascinating character a First World War veteran who comes back changed but instead of responding to his brush with death by breaking down he becomes curious about the world and people He begins to care little for money and possessions much to the chagrin of the affluent Americans around him His need for understanding takes him across the world finally landing him in India Non Western philosophy features a lot in Maugham s work and here Brahmanism offers Larry a new perspectiveMaugham s narration is chock full of witty remarks that are genuinely very funny and have withstood the test of time As usual art and literature feature heavily as do snobbery social interactions and character drama It s almost soapy except it s a little too sophisticated for that But only a little And you call yourself an English gentlemen she exclaimed savagely No that s a thing I ve never done in all my life I think I like Maugham so much because he s not particularly moralistic and any character presenting themselves as holier than thou often gets a dressing down His characters are alcoholics and prostitutes they behave jealously and uestion religion This is another reason I like Larry For all his pursuit of understanding and rejection of material things he remains non judgmental of other characters I ll be back for of Maugham I ve heard The Moon and Sixpence is another good oneBlog Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube

W. Somerset Maugham â 1 CHARACTERS

To search for something meaningful His journey takes him to the Tibetan mountains where he undergoes a spiritual enlightenment When he returns home he is an enigma to his friends but seems perfectly content with himselfNarrated by Frank Muller 9 cds105 hour Rating 425 of fiveThe Publisher Says Intimate acuaintances but less than friends they meet and part in postwar London and Paris Elliot the arch snob but also the kindest of men Isabel considered to be entertaining gracious and tactful Gray the uintessence of the Regular Guy Suzanne shrewd roving and friendly Sophie lost wanton with a vicious attractiveness about her and finally Larry so hard and so trustful lost in the world s confusion Their story one of Somerset Maugham s best encompasses the pain passion and poignancy of life itselfMy Review It is pleasant to give yourself over to the care of a master or mistress of craft The Razor s Edge is masterful It is an expression of the mastery Maugham earned through many long years of novel writing and mostly successful critical reception of his work that this book which came almost forty years into a career of than sixty years feels as fresh as his first great novel Of Human Bondage 1915 It deals as is the case with so many writers oeuvres with many of the same themes and issues as the first book and most of his subseuent workA critic reviewing The Razor s Edge today would likely fault the author for choosing to write the story from his own first person point of view The fashion today is for first person narratives it s true but Maugham uses a narrative devicethe story told to the narrator by othersvery much out of fashion in today s world It is accused perhaps with justice of taking the forward thrust out of a story It makes the reader a follower a passive observer of the story instead of giving the presently fashionable sense of watching the story unfold before the reader s eyes In a world that craves The Real World and Survivor the techniue of the cicerone leading the reader around the story feels artificial and affected That is too bad The Razor s Edge is a pleasant journey in the company of interesting people It s not a fast lane zoom like Less Than Zero in a car full of noisy meretricious mercenary monkey boys It is a subtler pleasure a trip akin to touring the blue roads of the American countryside than that superhighway journey


10 thoughts on “The Razor's Edge

  1. says:

    In all big cities there are self contained groups that exist without intercommunication small worlds within a greater world that lead

  2. says:

    570 From 1001 Books The Razor’s Edge – William Somerset MaughamThe Razor's Edge is a novel by W Somerset Maugham The book was first publis

  3. says:

    The best novel I've read since joining Goodreads might be The Razor's Edge the 20th century bestseller by prolific British playwright and author W Somerset Maugham Published in the US in 1944 a bit of my euphoria has to do with the book; much of my intoxication has to do with the time in my life which I read this particular book In 2016 I came into a creative stride writing first drafts of a short story and a novella and completing the gro

  4. says:

    In 1919 war hero Larry Laurence Darrell returns to his hometown of Chicago wounded twice the brave aviator has a deeper injury which changes him considerably A comrade saved his life but lost his over France dying on the cold ground Isabel Bradley Larry's faithful fiancee notices the alterationWhen his best friend Gay Maturin gets his milli

  5. says:

    Books like this that I’ve read so long ago in my past come back even now to haunt me like the lilting plaintive refrain of an old Beatles Love songBut I only started it in the mid seventies Even back then working in soulless offices I needed to replenish my heart in long lingering draughts So how did I do thatIf you gue

  6. says:

    This has to be the most endearing and accessible of Maugham's books With the right smattering of philosophy and literary techniues to keep one challenged tooIt has been one of the defining books in my life

  7. says:

    “ Its a toss up when you decide to leave the beaten track Many are called few are chosen” A classic which is really worth reading The author narrates the tale of a man who is in search of the true meanings of life by turning do

  8. says:

    Tracing the intimate lives of representative British and American upper class The Razor's Edge set in Chicago largely in Paris and also India was one of the first Western novels to explore non Western solutions to

  9. says:

    Rating 425 of fiveThe Publisher Says Intimate acuaintances but less than friends they meet and part in postwar London and Paris Elliot the arch snob but also the kindest of men; Isabel considered to be entertaining gracious and tactful; Gray the uintessence of the Regular Guy; Suzanne shrewd roving and friendly; Sophie lost wanton with a vicious attractiveness about her; and finally Larry so hard and so trustful lost in

  10. says:

    One of Maugham's three major novels TIME That's high praise coming from TIME magazine This MUST be goodI’m sure some of you are familiar wi

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