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Customer Review

261 of 275 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Stuff, August 17, 2001
This review is from: The Razor's Edge (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics) (Paperback)
William Somerset Maugham is considered one of the best authors of the 20th century. After reading this book, I can understand why. His grasp of the human condition is simply phenomenal. He is one of those rare authors that can make his characters leap off the page and become living, breathing creatures. The introduction to this Penguin edition spends much time trying to place the fictional characters into the context of Maugham’s life. I’m sure the characters in this story are somewhat based on real people, as any author worth his salt always draws on real experience to create a story. Personally, I couldn’t care less if these characters were based on real people, as it wouldn’t make them any less interesting to me.
“The Razor’s Edge” really has a simple message. It asks us to reflect on how we lead our lives. Do we follow the masses or seek inner fulfillment? Is it right or wrong to drop out of society and follow our inner selves? Maugham makes us ponder these questions as he introduces us to his characters ... When I think of the overall plot of the book, even after reading it, it doesn’t really seem that interesting. But when I think all of the little things within the book, I realize how excellent the novel is. Read this book, even if it is the only Maugham book you ever read (which is a pretty pretentious statement on my part, as this is the only one I’ve read). The prose is excellent, and the psychological insights are really amazing. Recommended.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 13, 2006 8:53:22 PM PST
Jeffrey, if this is the only Maugham book you've read, I highly recommend reading The Moon and Sixpence, which is his best work IMO.

Posted on Jul 14, 2007 8:25:53 AM PDT
Please try the short stories. They are amazing.

Posted on Feb 18, 2008 10:51:48 PM PST
Along with this book and Moon and Sixpence, I would also recommend Of Human Bondage.

Posted on Sep 14, 2014 4:51:40 AM PDT
TREX says:
Mr Leach (we'll pretend that this is your name anyway),

I do indeed believe that this could well have been the only Maugham novel that you have ever read.
In fact I believe that it may well have been the only novel by any author that you may have read.
For nothing else because all those 1,236 Amazon product reviews would have hardly afforded you the time to do so and still enjoy some sort of relaxation -- perhaps on a more modest scale than Maugham's de luxe diversions.

Posted on Sep 25, 2015 3:28:52 PM PDT
This wonderful story came to me because my father loved to read Maugham, (Dad born in 1914) and this is practically the only thing by the author I've read, other than short stories. I'm afraid I won't be as satisfied by his other books, or touched as much. I've been unable to find a copy in the local library but now it's available on Kindle--great. It's a hard story to explain but you've done a good job. I feel as if Larry Darrell's story is always being repeated many times over, he's easy to recognize.
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