Rodriqueze's Reviews > The Razor's Edge

The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
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U 50x66
's review
Nov 28, 2011

really liked it

Although this book contains a great deal of reflection on modern religion, and contrasts Eastern and Western orthodoxies about the nature of God/the universe, and of course touches on various aspects of Catholicism along the way, I found that I could not add it to my unofficial "the Catholic Church does not come off well in this book" collection. Sadly, there are no scenes of Larry Darrell fighting off murderous members of the Swiss Guard in a desperate and bloody halberd duel. Well, to be fair, Maugham probably would have had to write an entirely different book to incorporate a boilerplate evil-Catholic-global-conspiracy angle. However, he could have easily incorporated the usual depictions of the Church as grossly ineffective, full of hypocrites, etc. But he didn't, and I respect that. Instead he presents the Church the same way he presents every other aspect of this book, in a very clear-eyed, honest way.
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Maugham states at the outset that this novel doesn't have much of a plot, or an ending, and instead is simply an account of the brief life intersections between himself and the remarkable Larry Darrell, and he follows through on that. But in the end, it really doesn't matter that the book has little plot (and, I must stress again, zero halberd duels). The characters are all so infused with life and spirit, and so real, that Larry's remarkable nature is completely believable and at the same time deeply thought-provoking. The book was a quick read but even over a longer stretch it would have been well worth the time to take it all in.

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