"Larry Darrell is a young American in search of the absolute. The progress of his spiritual odyssey involves him with some of Maugham's most brilliant characters - his fiancée Isabel, whose choice between love and wealth has lifelong repercussions, and Elliott Templeton, her uncle, a classic expatriate snob. The most ambitious of Maugham's novels, this is also one in which Maugham himself plays a part, as he wanders in and out of the story, observing his characters struggling with their fates."
W. Somerset Maugham's 1944 novel The Razor's Edge is to be our CBG book for May. It is said to be one of his finest books, and "one of the most interesting". Selina Hastings in her biography The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham goes on, "In it he engages with the three topics which always most fascinated him, sexual passion, the mores of society and the nature of goodness, in this case as illustrated by the division between the material and spiritual worlds .... From publication the book made an enormous impact. There were many adulatory reviews - 'sheer delight' said Cyril Connolly, 'Mr. Maugham's best novel since Cakes and Ale' - and sales were immense."
There are two film versions, the first (1946) starring Tyrone Power and the second (1984) with Bill Murray. I shall read the book first - I've posted the opening passage here, by the way - and then perhaps watch one or other of them.
There is still plenty of time to read Elizabeth von Arnim's The Enchanted April for discussion from Saturday, 27th. April (I've just finished my re-read and it did not disappoint), and then we'll go on to talk about The Razor's Edge from Saturday, 25th. May. Everyone is most welcome to join in whether you've read along with us before or have just found us, and the book itself should be easy enough to find in various formats and in libraries as well as shops. This will be my first Maugham and I'm greatly looking forward to it; I hope that it will be a welcome re-read for some and a new discovery for others, but above all an enjoyable and interesting book for anyone who picks it up.