Friday, September 10, 2010

Opening Sentence of the Day: The Razor's Edge

"I have never begun a novel with more misgiving."

The Razor's Edge by Somerset Maugham.

I am on a bit of a Maugham jag because I am working my way through the short stories.  I always thought that I had read this book before, but I got over half-way through it this time before anything was familiar.  It all seemed new to me until I remembered the scene with Sophie in the Parisian nightclub -- I always remember that scene because her eyebrows were mascaraed. Her eyebrows.


  1. The Razor's Edge is still on my TBR list. I've owned a copy for-ev-er. Just don't seem to get to it.

    Here's my opener:

  2. Bev -- I am always skittish of Razor's Edge because I think it is a boring book about a WWI veteran's search for inner peace and enlightenment. Not that such a search is boring -- for the person doing the searching. But not a page turner.

    But Larry's search for inner peace is only one part of the book and is woven into a great story about Chicago millionaires, 1920s Paris society, art collecting, and life on the Riviera. There are half a dozen interesting characters and a lot going on. It is a super book.

  3. Hi! Just wanted to say thanks for the follow on Twitter and that I LOVE your lists. :) I too am a compulsive "list" reader, and so I'm glad to know I'm not the only one. I also like your blog's focus on classic literature, much of which I find is lost in the blogosphere. I read a lot of classics as well over at my blog, Paperback Fool ( I think you'd like it. :)

  4. Laura -- Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. I will come over and check out your blog. I have been making an effort to find blogs that focus more on classics. I'm not one for paranormal, teen-age, shape-shifting, historical puzzle solvers. :)

  5. When I think of this book the scene in the nightclub is my most vivid memory, but I don't remember the mascara. Usually I forget the main plot of a book but remember some random detail like that. Glad I'm not the only one!

  6. That's an interesting opening. Doesn't get much more self-referential than that!

  7. I've seen both movies, but have never read the novel. Surely that thing about the mascared that a screw up instead of eyelashes???

  8. Shelley -- It is always the details that stick, that's for sure. I am really bad about remembering character names, though. That's a detail I never retain.

    Michael -- There is a big metafictional aspect, since Maugham the novelist is the narrator, but the story is fiction. It's pretty cool.

    Bybee -- That's why it always sticks in my brain! He specifically says that both her eyelashes and eyebrows were mascaraed. I guess she used mascara instead of an eyebrow pencil. The point was that she was very made-up, and that eyebrow detail sure drove home the point.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...