The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham

Title:  The Razor’s Edge
Publisher:  Penguin Group
Format:  Trade Paperback
ISBN:  0-14-001860-3
Pages:  314
Source:  Library

I’m on a roll with great books lately!  The Razor’s Edge is another fantastic classic that I plan on adding to my personal library very soon!

The book follows a group of acquaintances throughout Europe and America right after the end of WW1.  It is told in the first person by Maugham himself and after a bit of googling, I’m still not sure if this is a novelization of real people or not.
Elliott is the richer, older, more distinguished gentleman who’s sole focus in life revolves around the social scene and his place in it.  His niece, Isabel, is a pretty girl just coming into marriageable age and is in love with Larry.  Larry has recently returned from the war and seems to have no interest in going to school or going to work, which nobody can seem to understand.  There is also super-rich Gray, who is in love with Isabel and best friends with Larry.  Of course, drama ensues.
The story follows this group of friends over the course of 20 years or so and I became incredibly invested in each of these characters.  I was laughing with them, disappointed by them, and ultimately in love with each of them even if I saddened by their choices.

I’m equal parts in love with and jealous of Larry.  He traveled the world on a whim while searching for the meaning of life and I just wanted to be with him.  I mean, seriously … “loafing” in Paris??  I’m in!

Reading this alongside East of Eden was kind of mind blowing.  East of Eden is essentially one man’s journey to his belief in timshel, or the ability of free will.  All of mankind is born with good and evil inside them, but it is ultimately a choice made by every person for themselves which path they will take.  The Razor’s Edge, however, discusses the idea that we are all a product of our genes and environment.  A person is not to blame for being evil because it is either hereditary, which is not their fault, or due to their environment, which they cannot help. 

This is definitely now one of my favorite books and I expect I will re-read it many times over.  🙂


1 Comment

  1. Thank you, Michelle. I have read a number of books by Somerset Maugham but, strange to say, not The Razor's Edge. Your review will probably persuade me to rectify the situation. A friend of mine is presently going through a Somerset Maugham period, reading one book after the other, so it was, of course, interesting to stumble over your review.

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