In the next eight weeks, I am going to read again one of my favorite books, which I associate closely with Katie, W. Somerset Maugham's The Razor's Edge. It is the story of several friends' attempts to find enlightenment and meaning in life by following different paths through the 1920s and 1930s. The central character (as imagined in the 1984 film adaptation starring Bill Murray) is Lawrence "Larry" Darrell, a socialite drifter whose tragic experiences during World War I lead him on a reclusive path across the world, while reading much of what we might now find in translation in the Norton Anthology of World Literature. Here is a link about Maugham's life and here is a brief summary of the novel's plot. The title of the novel comes from Isherwood's translation of The Upanishads, by way of an interesting story:
"The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over;
thus the wise say the Path to salvation is hard."
--"Katha-Upanishad" (Chapter 3, Verse 14, 1.iii.14)
If you'd like to read along with me, I will be reading roughly a chapter a week, and writing some commentary each Friday. I'd love to hear what other people think of this book, its plot, characters, and thinking, though I guess I'm not really looking for treatises on Maugham's shortcomings as a novelist, thinker, etc. (mostly positive stuff, here). The book is unusually organized with few chapters and many sub-chapters. Roughly, I will try to read and respond to the following sections by the following dates:
Friday, May 8 - Chapters 1
Friday, May 15 - Chapter 2
Friday, May 22 - Chapter 3
Friday, May 29 - Chapter 4
Friday, June 5 - Chapter 5 (i-viii)
Friday, June 12 - Chapter 5 (viii-ix) and Chapter 6 (i-vii)
Friday, June 19 - Chapter 6 (vii-viii) and Chapter 7
Hope to hear from, and read with, any of you who are interested to do so!