Brad Lyerla's Reviews > The Razor's Edge

The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
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Oct 06, 2010

really liked it

My youngest daughter came home from college the other day with this book under her arm. I grabbed it and expected it to be great.

It almost met my expectations. Maugham's theme is to explore how the things we want most shape our lives. He sums it up in the final paragraph. Elliot valued social standing above all else. Isabel, a rich husband. Gray, to be one of the guys in business. Suzanne, security. Sophie, death. Larry, spiritual happiness.

One surprise to me is that none of Maugham's characters chose love. Though, perhaps, Sophie did only to have her husband and young child cruelly snatched away in a senseless automobile accident pushing her into self-destruction.

All in all, the book is very satisfying and the characters are drawn out thoughtfully and without predictability.

When the book was done, my favorite character was Elliott. He is an arch snob and highly affected -- sometimes to the point of absurdity. But I liked him. Among several surprises in the book, this may have been the biggest for me
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Quotes Brad Liked

W. Somerset Maugham
“You know, the Philistines have long since discarded the rack and stake as a means of suppressing the opinions they feared: they've discovered a much more deadly weapon of destruction -- the wisecrack.”
W. Somerset Maugham, The Razor's Edge


Reading Progress

03/12 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Mark maybe love is hopeless. Larry studied, Isabel played, Elliot mingled. They all succeeded but Sophie.


Basheer well said


Mark I happened to be awake just now as this came in. My thought is that somebody's "famous author" pedigree doesn't earn them special stature in lecturing everybody about love. It's a complicated thing, and WSM took a hard path in life. So we shouldn't necessarily take his word for it.


Mary Love was the object I thought was missing from the book too. True selfless love of course, but I think all the characters had some of it only they never pursued love or talked of it. I agree Sophie may have had that love, she gave her whole life to it, that is her husband and child but when they were gone she the baby with the bath water so to speak. She threw out love with what she loved. The greatest tragedy of the book is that she didn't marry Larry who saw she had a greatness of spirit, a greatness for love , I think he would have gone further spiritually if he had married her. Only Sophie had become so weak and battered and had lost her faith in love, she in a way gave up hope in love, love did not give up hope in her.


Brad Lyerla Mary, very beautifully said.


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