Rachel's Reviews > The Razor's Edge

The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
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's review
Oct 07, 09

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Read in October, 2009

This book is, in essence, a study of man's search for happiness. Each character is vastly different, though undoubtedly justified, in his or her ideas of what will make him or her happy. Maugham does an excellent job of illustrating various outlets by which his characters find some sort of personal meaning: books, art, clothes, society, family, sex, drugs and alcohol, money, and of course, spiritual enlightenment. While Maugham (who, interestingly, serves as his own first-person narrator) must have his own opinions as to what goals are actually worthy of pursuit, he is supremely objective and makes it clear that everyone is entitled to pursue what he believes will make him most happy.

Although Maugham can do no wrong with words (seriously folks, his prose is impeccable) and there was some fascinating dialogue on religion, God, and spirituality in the last third of the novel, nothing really stuck with me. Larry, the spiritualist, was a little too mystic and dreamy for my taste, Isabel too hard-edged, Gray too nondescript (albeit intentionally) and Maugham himself a bit too saintly. Not at all an unpleasant read, I just didn't make a strong connection between the lives of the people in the novel and my own.

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