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The Razor's Edge Paperback – September 9, 2003
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“[Maugham’s] excessively rare gift of story-telling . . . is almost the equal of imagination itself.” –The Sunday Times (London)
“It is very difficult for a writer of my generation, if he is honest, to pretend indifference to the work of Somerset Maugham. . . . He was always so entirely there.” –Gore Vidal
“Maugham remains the consummate craftsman. . . . [His writing is] so compact, so economical, so closely motivated, so skillfully written, that it rivets attention from the first page to last.” –Saturday Review of Literature
From the Publisher
Top Customer Reviews
“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.
This narrative technique succeeds wonderfully in the masterful hands of author W. Somerset Maugham, best known for Of Human Bondage. Rather than simply lay out the details of Larry's explorations and development, which, being spiritual and internal, would be rather dull to watch, Maugham illuminates Larry by dissecting the contrasting behavior of his associates.
Maugham lavishes narrative care and attention less on the figure of Larry the seeker, but on his ground, those who embraced the life of conventional society without a thought for spirituality. Maugham shows us several possible outcomes of such an unexamined life, from the indulgent businessman to the fragile social climber to the dissolute substance abuser. The contrasts are presented realistically and without sermon yet are no less stark for their subtlety. These characters are a rare delight: fictional creations with genuine life, who make choices, have unpredictable effects on one another, and grow as the novel develops.Read more ›
What makes "The Razor's Edge" a classic is that you as a reader get to decide for yourself the wisdom of each character's decisions. Somerset Maugham definitely focuses a lot on wealthy, class-oriented Eliot, who seems to be closest in personality to the author himself; but it's obvious too, that a character like Larry was both scarry and intriguing to him. At times it seems like Maugham is mocking Larry, but in others there is a begrudging respect and admiration for him. This ambiguity creates a unique reading experience, especially for those who've read a biography of Maugham (I recommend Ted Morgan's biography).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of my favorite books EVER and inspiration for a character in a novel I wrote. Can't praise this book enough.Published 1 day ago by L. B. Diamond
This is one of the great books of world literature. Its value is well documented. I have nothing to add to what far better critics than myself have written about it. Read it.Published 4 days ago by Gerry
This is a classic story told by a world-renowned author. Who knows whether it is a "true" story or not. It is True, no matter what. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Michael Flanagan
An interesting story. Kept my interest throughout. The depiction of Larry and his philosophy very refreshing and well drawn.
Can't stop reading whenever Maugham is writing. The author-as-character is common, but he positions himself as character-narrator well. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Susan Nuccio
This book is not a great start for Maugham. Of Human Bondage or Pacific Stories might be much better. However it is just as good as the others, perhaps the masterpiece of Maugham. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Somerset Maugham is a highly regarded writer. I read Painted Veil several years ago - I do not recommend it for anyone seeking a literary experience. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kaui