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The Razor's Edge (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics) Paperback – Mar 27 1992


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reprint edition (March 27 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140185232
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140185232
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #822,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

“[Maugham is] a great artist . . . a genius.” –Theodore Dreiser

“[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 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Val Boroda on March 8 2010
Format: Paperback
Surprisingly simple yet deep novel displaying some of the finest skills of the revered Mr. Maugham. He attempts to objectively recount the life events of a seemingly ordinary person - Larry Darrell, who, having passed through some mind-transforming experiences during the war, is seeking god. "You are a very religious man who doesn't believe in God", tells him a wise Christian monk. His quest is granted with an experience powerful enough to motivate the reader into self-reflection and - possibly - changing a few takes on day-to-day life.
The novel reads extremely easy, with enough twists of the plot to maintain the reader's interest until the very end. Several twists embedded by the author in his 3-D, life-size characters amazed me beyond belief.
Another thing I feel compelled to praise the author for is his "neutrality", or non-judgmental attitude to life and people.
And lastly, the English language "The Razor's Edge" is written with is simply exquisite.

P.S. I had recommended this book to a friend of mine, and she just came back to tell me how breathtakingly great it was!
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By bernie TOP 100 REVIEWER on Sept. 1 2010
Format: Hardcover
Yet the writing is so full that we can feel part of this other world.

I came to this story by the back door. My first introduction to Somerset Maugham was through the movie "The Razor's Edge" (1946) staring Tyrone Power as Larry Darrell. I have no idea as to how much it was adapted from the book. Then in 1984 we watched Bill Murray as Larry Darrell. This film lost what magic the 1946 film had. So it was time to read the book. Yes I know very few films can do more than present the essence of a book. Turns out that even the older film wrote Summerset out of some of the scenes.

Larry is back from the war (WWI). As with many of us he is left with nagging questions about why one person lives and another must die. This problem leads Larry to search for the answers. He turns down opportunities and takes up a lifestyle to help him find answers. This story is told or narrated by Somerset Maugham himself. In the book Somerset takes more of an active part in the story. Larry came as close as any of us to the answer he seeks and we leave him much the same way one enters and leaves your life.
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By bernie TOP 100 REVIEWER on June 25 2007
Format: Paperback
Yet the writing is so full that we can feel part of this other world.

I came to this story by the back door. My first introduction to Somerset Maugham was through the movie "The Razor's Edge" (1946) staring Tyrone Power as Larry Darrell. I have no idea as to how much it was adapted from the book. Then in 1984 we watched Bill Murray as Larry Darrell. This film lost what magic the 1946 film had. So it was time to read the book. Yes I know very few films can do more than present the essence of a book. Turns out that even the older film wrote Summerset out of some of the scenes.

Larry is back from the war (WWI). As with many of us he is left with nagging questions about why one person lives and another must die. This problem leads Larry to search for the answers. He turns down opportunities and takes up a lifestyle to help him find answers. This story is told or narrated by Somerset Maugham himself. In the book Somerset takes more of an active part in the story. Larry come as close as any of us to the answer he seeks and we leave him much the same way one enters and leaves your life.
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Format: Paperback
The Razor's Edge is a tale of one man (Larry) who was born and brought up in US, spend many years in Europe, first flying aircrafts in WW I and later living an idiosyncratic existence where he searched for purpose and ambition through books, languages and labor. He later travels to India, and finds solace in the Hindu philosophy, where he also learns how to medidate and be at peace with oneself and the world. Maugham writes a very accurate and engaging account of Hinduism.

The novel explores the relationship of various people. The author as a part of story travels in and out of the life of Larry and his friends, and through several conversations that occur intermittenly recreates the story of Larry, Isabel, Gray, Elliot and Sophie. Isabel loves Larry, but Larry's insistance on choosing to loaf and search for the meaning of life and his purpose (and hence living a poor life) and marries Gray, the multimillionaire. Without divulging much details of the story, one can say that the author does a good job in making his characters real and interesting, and presents through them an array of human emotions.
The Razor's edge is also a social commentary, and Maugham opens a window into the lifes and times of early twentieth century Upper classes, their constant striving for popularity and for materialistic pleasures, their hopes, and failings. The story is written in a sentiment and style that makes this discussion and critique on classes as invisible score playing somewhere in background.
In modern context of the philosophy of science, as say Capra in his Tao of Physics points out, or read Complexity by Waldrop, Eastern and especially Indian ageold wisdom and philosophy resonantes with the new contexts and paradigms in science.
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Format: Paperback
Rarely can a book truly pull you in from the moment you commence reading. Well, The Razor's Edge is the exception to the rule. It is not only the mark of a good book, but a sublime storyteller. The incredible combination of an extraordinary melange of remarkably eclectic and certifiably unforgettable characters, a masterfully woven premise of singular quality, as well as a suave and melodious prose that virtually flows off of the page all emanate early and often from Maugham's pen in The Razor's Edge.
While much has been made of the inscrutable idealist Larry Darrell, I found myself equally fascinated by the beautiful, yet cold and predictable Isabel, the banality of everyman Gray, the irrepressible flair of Elliott Templeton, the vague goings-on of Maugham, and, last but not least, the expressly antithetical, yet similarly intriguing, tales of Suzanne Bouvier and Sophie Macdonald. What makes The Razor's Edge so engrossingly captivating is the dichotomy of Maugham employing himself as the first person narrator and the irrefutable fact that the book draws from a vast multitude of his personal experiences -- both of which add immensely to the verisimilitude of the experience. In short, it has the feel of a memoir of sorts -- a true testament to Maugham's genius.
"He's the idealist, he's the dreamer of a beautiful dream, and even if the dream doesn't come true, it's rather thrilling to have dreamt it." - Maugham
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