Customer Reviews for

The Razor's Edge

Average Rating 4.5
( 47 )
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(30)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

My favorite book of all times

For years, this has been the book that I buy every time I find it so I can put it on my shelf in preparation to share it with friends looking for a good book to read. This story centers around four main characters (two men and two women) coming of age during an...
For years, this has been the book that I buy every time I find it so I can put it on my shelf in preparation to share it with friends looking for a good book to read. This story centers around four main characters (two men and two women) coming of age during and immediately following WWI. All four live a comfortable lifestyle until the two men experience the unthinkable as they work as field medics, ambulance drivers. My favorite character, Larry Darryl, returns from his ambulance-driving experience uncomfortable with the luxuries to which he was previously accustomed. Soon after his return, he decides to 'loaf' despite his female admirer's chagrin. Larry takes the road less traveled by exploring the world with little to no regard to the lifestyle Americans find so enchanting prior to the Great Depression...and without judging the people who come in and out of his life sometimes at their very lowest points. His former love marries the other man in hopes of achieving the social stature she craves. I won't give any more of the story away. The reason why I love it so much is that Larry could have lived the comfortable life, but he chose to do something uncomfortable so he could really experience life and people as they are. When I feel stuck in my comfortable American notions of the way life is supposed to be, I read this book and think about the difficult path that Larry took. Unpopular, imperfect, real.

posted by Anonymous on April 1, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Recommend

A look into l930's of life of the aristocracy before and after the world market crash in Europe and the U.S. Very wordy and descriptive with a look at what is and isn't important in life. A good read after 50 years passing since first read.

posted by Bcbtree on March 24, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2007

    A good, short read worthy of minor classic status

    This book is first and foremost, British, all the while its main characters are predominately Americans. The setting is mostly based in metropolitan Cities (Chicago, Paris, London, and French Rivera) and the story comes to the reader through dialogues of its characters. We live alongside the American aristocricy in Paris, their social arenas and 'snobby' characters one main foil character to our protagonist (see below) is Elliott. Elliot the wealthy art collector who even upon death's doorstep, believes heaven will not be so unreasonable as to omit distinctions of class. Moreover the key feature of this book is that it is told in First person, Maugham himself being the narrator. This narration by its quiddity is limited. We lose the action of the events as they actually happen, if that goes then so does the experience of witnessing the story taking place (e.g. a 3rd person omniscient narrator). We are trapped into an individuals head, the narrator, and are limited to his interpretations of the events. As dead_poet above outlined very well, the substance of the plot. I will only add that the protagonist, Larry, is one of the great protagonists of all literature, especially for young people. He is unconventional among his bourgeois peers, (e.g. his behavior, ideals, and upbringing), A self proclaimed 'loafer', seeking out life's real answers to suffering, God, and purpose, he is a man truly awake and awoken by the death of a comrade in the Great War. He never seemed to be the same after that event. He didn't take on a career or college, ending up spiraling eastward ending in defaulting his fortune for freedom's sake and aspiring a coveted position as 'taxi driver'. Larry and his persona made the book, made me dare to dream for something more than the status quo career, money, religion and seek (but not reveal) hard answers to life's unanswerable questions.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2002

    I'm going to go ahead and recommend it

    The Razor's Edge came recommend to me from a source I trust. And while it hasn't made my list of greatest books written, it is a good book to read. It's tough to give a synopsis of the book, since like so many other British writers there isn't much of a plot, more of a portrait of a group within society. I guess you could say it is the story of Larry Darrell's search for God. But it only touches on spiritual matters. It doesn't go into the discussion we hope for. (If you're looking for a treatise on spirituality, read Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, Kerouac's The Dharma Bums, and Anne Rice's Tale of the Body Theif) Maugham himself is a character and narrator of the book. He sort of reminds me of Nick in The Great Gatsby, but only a little. Maugham is a part of the action, but still separate from it. What this book reminds me of is a work by Jane Austen, but written better (I'm known for my dislike of Austen's work). I don't really get into Brit lit from the 18th and 19th centuries, but this book reminds me of that period. But written in such a way I found I enjoyed it. There isn't much linear structure to the novel. A lot of the action takes place in flashback, or in stories told in flashbacks. But Maugham keeps the reader from being confused. The book reads like a book. You know how some stories draw you in, to the point where you are a part of the story? The Razor's Edge isn't like that. You always feel like you are reading a book written by the narrator or that the narrator is telling you the story. There is a distance between the reader and the narrator and the narrator and the story. I think that is what holds the book back.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2000

    Excellent Book

    It was very inspiring and a good read for anyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted October 12, 2011

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    Posted August 9, 2010

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    Posted December 4, 2011

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    Posted November 29, 2012

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    Posted October 27, 2011

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