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The Razor's Edge
ISBN 0385043791 / 9780385043793 / 0-385-04379-1
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With this book Maugham skilfully dramatizes a philosophical treatise on the clash of Eastern spirituality and Western culture into one man's relentless journey towards enlightenment and the repercussions of such an action on the loves and lives of others. Hidden beneath the exquisite prose, a lesson in self-determination and self-development slowly unravels and reveals itself amidst a beautifully balanced cast of players and the customs, prejudices, and decadence of the day. Although by no means the first to anticipate the growing influence of Eastern Culture on Europe and America, Maugham-who drifts through the story as a unassuming narrator-produces a work that proved perceptive to the point of prophetic and predated the Beats who were to popularize the phenomenon by over a decade. [via]