Alexandria Quartet: a lion in the family

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Durrell

I think some people discover Lawrence Durrell having read My Family and Other Animals when small… and so can’t quite forget the satirical portrait by his brother. Interesting that My Family and Other Animals was published in 1956, just before Lawrence (below, centre) produced his best work and secured the literary world’s respect and recognition.

Durrell family

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2 thoughts on “Alexandria Quartet: a lion in the family

  1. But what do you think of the books? I read then when I was thirteen and I thought that they were the best thing I’d ever read: really deep and fine writing. I suspect that they are best read when you are that age. I attempted Durrell’s Avignon Quintet not long ago and I thought that it was too silly for words and enormously self-satisfied – and I was entirely up for Albigensian secrets and ancient conspiracies: it wasn’t that
    .
    Incidentally, you showed the very elegant hardback volumes for the Quartet but the Faber paperbacks looked pretty cool too.

    • I’m a quarter into Justine so too soon to say… I’ve been looking forward to it for a while. A few years back I read a few in a row: Black Book (which reminded me of Patrick Hamilton through quite an affected filter but worthwhile), Prospero’s Cell (very enjoyable) and The Dark Labyrinth (I thought this was excellent – captures that particular eeriness of ancient myth in bright sunlight, I’m sure it influenced John Fowles for The Magus, and just generally plenty to think about – fascinating without being self-consciously obscured). I then went onto Monsieur, Prince of Darkness, and stalled quite quickly… one of those books that just died in the pile because it felt like the effort of sorting through someone else’s letters in impossible handwriting, if that makes sense, and while probably rewarding I’d outgrown the obligation (something I felt with Fowles’ Daniel Martin though no-one agrees with me!). I like some of his poems very much.

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