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.  🙂


Advertisements

Tatiana and Alexander, A Book Review

Tatiana and Alexander is the second novel in the Bronze Horseman trilogy.  I thought the first novel was a fantastic historical romance and couldn’t wait to feast on the second.  

The first in a nutshell:  Tatiana and her family live in 1941 Leningrad and suffer immeasurably as Hitler’s army pushes through Russia.  Alexander is an officer in the Red Army with a surprising past.  The two face many challenges and fall in love despite all of the obstacles.  {sigh}  Everything you could want in a love story!

This second installment in the trilogy is quite different than the first, as it spends a good deal of time on their lives apart from each other.  The first 150 pages or so consist of a series of flashbacks that retell the story from the first book, but from Alexander’s perspective.  I actually really enjoyed this, despite my annoyance with books that spend too much time retelling previous stories.  Because it was done in small segments (as flashbacks) and from another point of view, it flowed well.

Towards the middle of the book, it is more about their lives and struggles apart from each other.  While I appreciated the the importance of understanding them individually, I felt that this part of the book could have used a lot more editing.  It really started to drag at this point and it didn’t help that I was growing more and more annoyed with Tatiana the further I read on.   I seriously wanted to claw Tatiana’s eyes out every time she contemplated dropping her son off with the nearest stranger or putting a bullet through her head. If she even remotely believed that Alexander was dead, what reason did she have to live??  Why was their son not reason enough?!

With that said, the ending was brilliant and fulfilling and reminded me why I love this series.  My emotions were put through the wringer and I was up until 2 a.m. finishing this book because there was not going to be any sleeping until I was done 🙂

Overall, I do plan to continue the series even though I did not enjoy the second book as much as the first.  I gave it 4 out of 5 stars since I think the story was still great, just a little longish.