Summary è The Razor's Edge 106

Characters The Razor's Edge

Summary è The Razor's Edge 106 Ý Larry Darrell is a young American in search of the absolute The progress of this spiritual odyssey involves him with some of Maugham's most brillant characters his fiancee Isabel whose choice between love and wealth have lifelong repercussions and Elliot Templeton her uncle a classic expatriate American snob The most M's novels this is also one in which Maugham himself plays a considerable part as he wanders in and out of the story to observe his characters struggling with their fate. Rating 425 of fiveThe Publisher Says Intimate acuaintances but less than friends they meet and part in postwar London and Paris Elliot the arch snob but also the kindest of men; Isabel considered to be entertaining gracious and tactful; Gray the uintessence of the Regular Guy; Suzanne shrewd roving and friendly; Sophie lost wanton with a vicious attractiveness about her; and finally Larry so hard and so trustful lost in the world's confusion Their story one of Somerset Maugham's best encompasses the pain passion and poignancy of life itselfMy Review It is pleasant to give yourself over to the care of a master or mistress of craft The Razor’s Edge is masterful It is an expression of the mastery Maugham earned through many long years of novel writing and mostly successful critical reception of his work that this book which came almost forty years into a career of than sixty years feels as fresh as his first great novel Of Human Bondage 1915 It deals as is the case with so many writers’ oeuvres with many of the same themes and issues as the first book and most of his subseuent workA critic reviewing The Razor’s Edge today would likely fault the author for choosing to write the story from his own first person point of view The fashion today is for first person narratives it’s true but Maugham uses a narrative devicethe story told to the narrator by othersvery much out of fashion in today’s world It is accused perhaps with justice of taking the forward thrust out of a story It makes the reader a follower a passive observer of the story instead of giving the presently fashionable sense of watching the story unfold before the reader’s eyes In a world that craves “The Real World” and “Survivor” the techniue of the cicerone leading the reader around the story feels artificial and affected That is too bad The Razor’s Edge is a pleasant journey in the company of interesting people It’s not a fast lane zoom like Less Than Zero in a car full of noisy meretricious mercenary monkey boys It is a subtler pleasure a trip akin to touring the blue roads of the American countryside than that superhighway journey

W. Somerset Maugham Ý 6 Summary

Larry Darrell is a young American in search of the absolute The progress of this spiritual odyssey involves him with some of Maugham's most brillant characters his fianc. The best novel I've read since joining Goodreads might be The Razor's Edge the 20th century bestseller by prolific British playwright and author W Somerset Maugham Published in the US in 1944 a bit of my euphoria has to do with the book; much of my intoxication has to do with the time in my life which I read this particular book In 2016 I came into a creative stride writing first drafts of a short story and a novella and completing the groundwork for the final draft of a novel I started smoking a pipe I'm learning to play chess I started a new job which will finance A B and C pipe smoking and chess playing being modest luxuries but my new salary being modest as well I'm reading close to fifty novels a year and feel as if I've developed a palate for vivid storytelling well developed characters and disarming dialogue Amid a lot of desire and confusion The Razor's Edge put a customs stamp on these passages in my life It's the story of six characters not including Maugham who includes himself as a seventh character and our reliable narrator who progress from acuaintances to friends to intimates in all the aspects that matter in the end Like compelling characters in all great dramas or all chess pieces each has a measurable affect on the other while at their core remain true to their disparate natures to the endThe story begins in Chicago immediately following the First World War in 1919 and concludes in Paris immediately before the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 The worlds that Maugham explores are not geopolitical so much as they are spiritual His six unforgettable characters might as well be on an island together Stopping in Chicago on his way to the Far East Maugham crosses paths with Elliott Templeton an acuaintance of fifteen years an American living abroad whose expertise as a broker in fine art has allowed him to ingratiate himself in English and French high society where the elegant bachelor lives and breathes for event planning and cultivating social relationships They were afraid he was a snob And of course he was He was a colossal snob He was a snob without shame He would put up with any affront he would ignore any rebuff he would swallow any rudeness to get asked to a party he wanted to go to or make a connection with some crusty old dowager of great name He was indefatigable When he had fixed his eye on his prey he hunted it with the persistence of a botanist who will expose himself to dangers of flood earthuake fever and hostile natives to find an orchid of peculiar rarityElliott is in Chicago visiting his sister when he invites Maugham to a luncheon at her home on Lake Shore Drive There the Englishman meets Elliott's niece Isabel Bradley a tall radiant twenty year old of natural elegance who makes uite an impression on Maugham He also meets Isabel's boyfriend Laurence Darrell a pleasant looking but shy boy who goes by Larry and impresses the narrator with how effortlessly he seems to take part in conversations without ever uttering a word It is later revealed that Larry was an aviator in the war and has recently returned from Europe To the mounting insecurity of Isabel's mother and uncle the boy has turned down offers for workAccepting a dinner invitation from Elliott at his sister's the following evening Maugham is seated next to a drab seventeen year old girl whose shyness belies shrewdness and intelligence; the playwright gets her to open up by asking her who everyone else at the table is and much later in the book will come to know this doomed girl as Sophie Macdonald She introduces Maugham to Gray Maturin son of a millionaire investment banker in Chicago who is as virile and strong as Larry is puny and unassuming The worst kept secret in the room is that Gray is enad with Isabel but won't dare make an advance or stand a chance as long as Larry is in the picture Uncle Elliott is of the opinion that Larry won't amount to much and that his niece would be advantaged marrying a man of position and fortune He tells his sister that if the young people had the civility of the French Isabel would marry Gray and take Larry as her lover while Gray offered himself as benefactor to a prominent actress and everyone could be happy Maugham holds a higher impression of Larry and finding him in a library reading Principles of Psychology learns the veteran has rejected college as summarily as he has a career Larry challenges the Englishman's assertion that university would prepare him to make fewer mistakes by stating that making mistakes is how he might learn something I was butting into an affair that was no concern of mine but I had a notion that just because I was a stranger from a foreign country Larry was not disinclined to talk to me about itWell you know when people are no good at anything else they become writers I said with a chuckleI have no talentThen what do you want to doHe gave me his radiant fascinating smileLoaf he saidI had to laughIsabel lures Larry on a picnic where she reads him the riot act She loves him but believes that a man must work as a matter of self respect Larry tells Isabel that he loves her too but that money just doesn't interest him Being a pilot gave him time to think and watching his friend in the air corps sacrifice himself for Larry has led him to the choice of leaving America and searching for his own answers Larry visited Paris several times on leave and knowing no one there finds the city as good a place as any to begin his sabbatical Giving himself a year or two at the most he compels Isabel to wait for him The following year Maugham is in Montparnasse when he spots Larry sitting by himself at a café He's elusive with the Englishman except to tell him that he's looking forward to spending time with Isabel when she visits with her mother next spring Reunited with his fiancée Larry tells her that he's been reading attending lectures and studying Greek He wants to know whether God is or is not Money still doesn't interest him he's given no thought of returning to Chicago and when he asks Isabel to marry him and live with him in Paris the couple mutually choose to end their engagement remaining friends insteadIntersecting Elliott or Isabel or Larry over the years in his travels across France through the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression and the march toward world war Maugham chronicles Elliott's strive for social imminence Isabel's desire for fortune and community and Larry's pursuit of happiness a journey which takes the loafer to a coal mine in France a Benedictine monastery in Germany and an Ashrama in India Maugham introduces one unforgettable character Suzanne Rouvier mutual friend of the narrator and of Larry who came to Montmartre from the countryside without a penny but realized her facility as a model and artist's muse For by now she knew her value She liked the artistic life it amused her to pose and after the day's work was over she found it pleasant to go to the café and sit with painters their wives and mistresses while they discussed art reviled dealers and told bawdy stories On this occasion having seen the break coming she had made her plans She picked out a young man who was unattached and who she thought had talent She chose her opportunity when he was alone at the café explained the circumstances and without further preamble suggested they should live togetherI'm twenty and a good housekeeper I'll save you money there and I'll save you the expense of a model Look at your shirt it's a disgrace and your studio is a mess You need a woman to look after youHe knew she was a good sort He was amused at her proposal and she saw he was inclined to acceptI feel the same way about The Razor's Edge that millions feel about The Lord of the Rings Maugham's narration is as imaginative incisive and delectable as Tolkien's his dialogue as fanciful and his ability to create worlds within words as ingenious but rather than transport the reader on a physical journey through an outer world sets out across the landscape of the soul The trick of the novel is that rather than come off as preachy with counterfeit messages like Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist the book is character driven and the only philosophy in it is what the author observes from the characters and their decisions It's a real storyCasting himself as a relatively successful playwright and author who is neither owner or worker and whose gift is listening unobtrusively to either social class Maugham's storytelling is boozy with passion and wit There were moments when his male gaze over Isabel raised my eyebrow but overwhelmingly the writing felt as contemporary or vital as any written in recent years Humor tension and sensuality were eually strong throughout My travels have not been anywhere near as extension as the author's but I have met people a little like each of his six major characters Their desires and limitations all felt palpable and after finishing the book I'm a lot less apt to judge themTwo of my favorite sub genres or topics are The Open Road and The Bum My favorite author John Steinbeck's work is strong with the allure of both of these and so is The Razor's Edge I like to think that most people fantasize about walking away from the daily grind to see the world reading learning another language or just staring at the clouds This has a greater hold on me than dragons or orcs and Maugham took me from the world of business and politics off the beaten path to the world of faith with a masterful facility that will be with me for a while In my mind Larry Isabel and Suzanne are still out there somewhere and so is this perfect book It is very difficult to know people and I don't think one can ever really know any but one's own countrymen For men and women are not only themselves; they are also the region in which they are born the city apartment or the farm in which they learnt to walk the games they played as children the old wives' tales they overheard the food they ate the schools they attended the sports they followed the poets they read and the God they believed in It is all these things that have made them what they are and these are the things that you can't come to know by hearsay you can only know them if you have lived themMaugham's work has lent itself well to film or television and The Razor's Edge has been adapted to screen twice In 1946 20th Century Fox mounted a production starring Tyrone Power as Larry Gene Tierney as Isabel Clifton Webb as Elliott and winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress Anne Baxter as Sophie In 1984 Columbia Pictures produced a little seen remake starring Bill Murray as Larry Catherine Hicks as Isabel Denholm Elliott as Elliott and Theresa Russell as Sophie Murray who's always entertained an aloof professional manner went on a loafing like hiatus as a film leading man for four years following the release of the picture

Read & download ☆ PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB Ý W. Somerset Maugham

The Razor's EdgeEe Isabel whose choice between love and wealth have lifelong repercussions and Elliot Templeton her uncle a classic expatriate American snob The most ambitious of Maugha. This has to be the most endearing and accessible of Maugham's books With the right smattering of philosophy and literary techniues to keep one challenged tooIt has been one of the defining books in my life