The Razor's Edge

Introduction

The Razor's Edge is a 1944 novel by W. Somerset Maugham. It tells the story of Larry Darrell, an American pilot traumatized by his experiences in World War I, who sets off in search of some transcendent meaning in his life. The story begins through the eyes of Larry's friends and acquaintances as they witness his personality change after the war. His rejection of conventional life and search for meaningful experience allows him to thrive while the more materialistic characters suffer reversals of fortune.

The novel's title comes from a translation of a verse in the Katha Upanishad, paraphrased in the book's epigraph as: "The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise say the path to Salvation is hard."[1][2]

The book has twice been adapted into film: first in 1946 starring Tyrone Power and Gene Tierney, with Herbert Marshall as Maugham and Anne Baxter as Sophie, and then a 1984 adaptation starring Bill Murray.


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