Monday 13 August 2018

Book Review: The Razor's Edge by W. Somserset Maugham (Modern Classic)

Title: The Razor's Edge
Author: W. Somerset Maugham

Publication Date: 2000 (1944)
Modern Classics
Bought Copy


Larry Darrell is a young American in search of the absolute. The progress of this spiritual odyssey involves him with some of Maugham's most brillant characters - his fiancee Isabel, whose choice between love and wealth have lifelong repercussions, and Elliot Templeton, her uncle, a classic expatriate American snob. The most ambitious of Maugham's novels, this is also one in which Maugham himself plays a considerable part as he wanders in and out of the story, to observe his characters struggling with their fates.

This is only the second Maugham novel I have read (the first being Of Human Bondage), but it certainly inspires me to seek out more. I loved the way the story was told as the author relating events he witnessed, or about which he had heard accounts, weaving an intriguing life story for Larry Darrell. The book is full of glorious character studies, and it posits questions about religion, society, and how to find purpose in life. While I maybe didn't take to it quite so deeply as I did to Of Human Bondage, The Razor's Edge was, nonetheless, a beautiful, thought-provoking read, that held my attention from start to finish, and delivered a few surprises along the way. Plus, I cannot neglect to mention that Maugham's prose is exquisitely crafted. 4.5 stars.

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