Hitting the Books with Gary Thorne: “The Razor’s Edge”

“The Razor’s Edge” by W. Somerset Maugham was published in 1944 and sold over 3 million copies, remaining on the best seller list for a year and a half. Many consider this to be Maugham at his best.

Maugham moved from fact to fiction in his stories effortlessly. So many of his works carry pieces of himself. That may be true for all writers, but Maugham is more forward in these presentations than most.

Razors-Edge-Cover.jpgHe wrote in 1938: “Fact and fiction are so intermingled in my work that now, looking back on it, I can hardly distinguish one from the other.” Maugham, Somerset (1938). The Summing Up. London: William Heinemann.

He went to medical school, served in the British Armed Forces in World War I in the medical field and then in the Secret Intelligence Service.

Those experiences show up in his writings.

“Liza of Lambeth,” a tale of working-class adultery and its consequences. It drew its details from Maugham’s experiences as a medical student doing midwifery work.

“Of Human Bondage” is considered to have many autobiographical elements. Maugham gave Philip Carey a club foot (rather than his stammer); the vicar of Blackstable appears derived from the vicar of Whitstable; and Carey is a medic.

In “The Razor’s Edge” we find characters defined in great depth by Maugham. Larry searches for life after a tragic death of a friend in World War I for which Larry was present. He searches the world for meaning and ends up in India, as Maugham once did, seeking eastern wisdom.

Isabell seeks the good life; Elliott wants to be worldly at any price; Sophie suffers heartbreak and surrenders to drugs and alcohol; Gray has riches and loses it in the great crash.

As their stories weave together, Maugham inserts himself as the story teller, wondering and questioning.

This is rich reading- fact and fiction woven in a delicate mix of real life through storytelling that is second to none

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” - W. Somerset Maugham

FYI ...

“Actress Sarah Jessica Parker may be best known for her roles on HBO’s ‘Sex and the City’ and ‘Divorce,’ as well as for being a fashion icon, but she’s also an avid reader and an outspoken advocate for public libraries. Now, she’s taking her love for books a step further with her own literary imprint, SJP for Hogarth, where she’s editorial director. Her imprint’s first book publishes this month, the debut novel ‘A Place for Us’ by Fatima Farheen Mirza.” - Goodreads.com

Gary Thorne is the play-by-play voice of the Orioles on MASN, and the 2018 season is his 12th with the club and 33nd covering Major League Baseball. His blog will appear regularly throughout the season. The Orioles and Sarasota County, for the 7th consecutive year, have partnered on the Big League Reader Program, which rewarded kids who read three books in February with tickets to a Grapefruit League game at Ed Smith Stadium in March. 180 children participated last year.

* Hitting the Books with Gary Thorne. © Copyright 2018 Gary F. Thorne. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Gary F. Thorne and MASNsports.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

blog comments powered by Disqus