Skip to main content

Book Review- The Rajor's Edge by Somerset Maugham



No one, I repeat, no one writes about the agony of youth as honestly and as brilliantly as Somerset Maugham. It is not easy for a writer to resist falling into the traps of idealism, realism, some -ism or other, and obstinately and courageously decide to tell a story as it is. The Razor's Edge is one such brutally honest story, which touches your heart with the strength of simplicity. It does not ask you to stand on the toes to watch the horizons, it sits you down holding your hands and tells the story of a difficult youth, wretched but hopeful youth.

The story spans almost the entire life of Philip, the club-footed protagonist, beginning from a melancholic childhood, following it through with a stubbornly, lonely youth till eventually he finds a resolution in the person of Sally. There is no melodrama, he narrates without any attempt to dramatize, or moralize. Maugham is a writer's writer and that shines through the simplicity with which he tells the story. There is immense beauty in truth which does not need any ornaments. You notice you are holding in your hands something divine, but not ostentatious, when the book opens with "The day broke gray and dull. The clouds hung heavily, and there was a rawness in the air that suggested snow." The words carry such expressions as if they hold your hand and guide you into a different world where not only you see the clouds, but also feel a slight cold.
 
The author writes about the sadness of a child who has lost her mother, without any sense of drama, as he talks of the child "deprived of the only love in the world that is quite unselfish." There are no heavy sounding words trying to extract your tears, but you find your eyes nevertheless when you read that "he wept as though his heart would break." and it isn't only Philip whose heart breaks. The affable and simple hearted Mrs Carey seems like those homely women which we encounter everyday, who find happiness in the well-being of their families and better-halves.
Maugham is a brave writer without any bravado when he writes regarding Philip who thought that, "his prayers were more acceptable to God if he said them in his nightshirt than if he waited till he was dressed." and referred to a God 'who appreciated the discomfort of his worshipers'; That was more iconoclastic than Nietzsche in a sense that it is so sweetly wrapped in a story well told and seriously felt. 
 
Maugham plans not to become a philosopher, he enormously enjoys the multiple vantage points which being a story-teller offers him. The book is densely interspersed with deep philosophy, but what makes it great is that unlike a purely philosophical tome, this is not monolithic in view. The honesty is sometimes shockingly brutal, when Philip grows up in the middle of schoolboys cruel treatment of his physical deformity and becomes a young man searching for the meaning of life and love, both at the same time. It is shocking but in the hearts of our heart, we know it is true, kids can sometime be cruel, even more than adults.
 
It takes a rare innocence to delve into such human shortcoming. The death of Fannie Price is a touching episode, Philip's first real brush with death. It is sad and heart wrenching to find someone dying of starvation, so sad that even her being a failed and incompetent artist does not matter. That is followed by Phillip's woeful perusal of Mildred, a cold and scheming woman. One really wishes to hold Philip back and shake him by his shoulder as he again and again sets himself up to be betrayed by the woman. He eventually ends up starving and homeless, before rescued by the Athelny family which eventually also end up offering him love in the form of Sally, thus ending his life long search and yearning eventually.
 
You live your life one more time as you read this amazing book and that is the beauty of this book, it feels like it is your own life journal.
 
Rating- Not to be missed, you will discover the meaning of life together with Phillip.
 
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

कांग्रेस संत समागम - Congress Sant Samagam

आज रात्रि जब प्रात:काल डिम्पल बाबा जागे, उनका हृदय नई ऊर्जा से प्रकाशमान था। कल ही काँग्रेस कार्यकारिणी ने उनकी तुलना किसी अचार से की थी और ध्वनिमत से सनातन धर्म का रक्षक बताया था। डिम्पल बाबा के बताया गया था कि अचार बनने के बाद हिंदू धर्म ध्वजा की रक्षा का दायित्व उन पर बैठता है। बाबा को खुद को पिकल कहा जाना पसंद तो नहीं आया था और वह जानना चाहते को अति उत्सुक थे कि ये हिंदू पिकल का इतना सम्मान क्यों करते हैं। हालाँकि डिम्पल बाबा के उत्साह का सबसे बड़ा कारण यह था कि ब्रह्मऋषि डिम्पल घोषित होने का बाद वह सामाजिक मर्यादाओं से इतर हो गए थे, और बक़ौल बाल ऋषि पूनावाला उन्हें भाँग गाँजा की निर्बाध व्यवस्था का अधिकार था। बालऋषि के अनुसार- राहुल जी इज जस्ट लाईक दैट डूड फ्राम माऊँटेन- शिव। सोच कर ही महर्षि डिम्पल के शरीर मे फुरेरियाँ उठी। नानी ने जब पवित्र वेटिकन के जल से ब्लेसित किया था तब उन्हें कहाँ भान होगा कि एक दिन उनका पौत्र हिंदू धर्म की दिशा तय करेगा। 
बहरहाल नव-नियुक्त ब्रह्मऋषि डिम्पल बाबा ने, घड़ी को देखा। बारह बज गए थे और प्रात: सूर्य वंदना का समय था। रोलेक्स राजर्षि को भी अब पहुँच…

लँगड का एमाराई

(Hindi Satire, inspired by immortal writing of late  Shri Shrilal Shukl and his legendary Novel- Rag Darbari)


लंगडवा एम आर आई करवाने का सोच रहा था। फिर सोचा पता नहीं मशीन कहाँ कहाँ से जुड़ी होगी।

खन्ना मास्टर लंगडवा के उहापोह को बड़े ध्यान से देख रहे थे। ग़रीब का कष्ट अमीर को सदा ही ध्यानाकर्षक लगता है। उसी में उसकी आत्मा का उद्धार और राजनीति का चमत्कार छुपा होता है। खन्ना मास्टर जवान और जोशीले थे। चमकीली वास्केट पहनते थे, और गंजहा की जगह ख़ुद को गंजावाला कहलाना पसंद करते थे।

गंजावाला अपना चश्मा लहराते बालों में धकेल कर, मनुहार के लहजे में बोले - “जाओ हो, काहे घबराते हो? कब तक वैद जी के पीछे घूमते रहेगे? क़स्बा क्लीनिक जा कर एमाराई करा लो।”

“हमको थोड़ा डर लग रहा है।”

लंगडवा गंजावाला के उत्साह से भयभीत हो गया। अमीर आदमी ग़रीब के सुख में अचानक रुचि लेने लगे तो अक्सर ग़रीब के लिए भय और भ्रम का कारण होता है। एक राजकुमार पहले उत्साहित हुए थे तो जवाँ मर्द कंबल और ट्राजिस्टर प्राप्त कर के लौटे थे। उसके बाद उनके घर कभी किलकारियाँ नही सुनाई पड़ी , बस मुफ़्त के रेडियो में बिनाका गीत माला सुनाई पड़ती…

Women in Vedas - The Fake Story of Sati Pratha

Biggest problem which Hinduism faces when it is being evaluated through the western prism of Abrahamic faith . I was watching a speech by Sadhguru where he mentioned a very critical defining feature of Hinduism. He says, unlike Western faiths, Hinduism did not place anyone at a pedestal where questions would not reach. Forget the Prophets and Masters, even Gods were received with affection and a list of questions. Nothing was ever beyond debate in Hinduism, not even Gods. This very nature of Hinduism has often been cause of concern and confusion for Western thinkers, troubled by a religion, which is seeped so deep into our culture of exploration of truth through investigation and examination. When the western scholars approach the Vedic Indian wisdom, oftentimes their approach itself is based on the assumption that they are approaching a civilization, a religion which is inferior to theirs. This makes it hard for them to accept a society which was an intellectually flourishing society…