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Summary Clea Author Lawrence Durrell

The magnificent final volume of one of the most widely acclaimed fictional masterpieces of the postwar eraFew books have been awaited as eagerly as Clea the sensuous and electrically suspenseful novel that resolves the enigmas of the Alexandria uartet Some years and one world war was after his bizarre liaisons with Melissa and Justine the Irish migr Darley becomes enmeshed with the bisexual artist Cl Over ten years ago I read the first book of the Alexandria uartet by Lawrence Durrell This summer I read books 3 4 Clea is the final book of the uartet and takes some of the characters' stories to their conclusions and reveals hidden truths of others Clea herself is of a focus and serves as Darley's connector back to Alexandria even if it has grown sordid with the warAs always the writing is astounding even if I had to look up all the French and many of the English words Durrell always manages to capture the mood of heightened importance many of the characters possess and the distinctions between people because of their backgrounds This book is a bit of a conglomoration of other texts the journal and letters of Pursewarden a satisfying letter from Leila that changes some of the previous volume the poetry of Cavafy uotes from characters in previous books of the same uartet is it pretentious for Durrell to uote himself? I don't know It adds a feeling of nostalgia but I liked those passages when I first encountered them best; they don't belong to this volume as such The city has changed but colonialism lives on as Darley and friends continue to make love and go drinking as the harbor is bombed It's uite unnerving actually how sheltered they believe themselves to be whereas Justine and Nessim are virtually in hiding and are only in the background Clea's determination to carry on despite the changes in the city and the increased danger struck a chord with me as it feels similar to our ongoing pandemic living situationsI always believed that a love of human beings would flower strongly out of a common misfortune It isn't true To be here just the two of us sitting by candle light is almost a miracle in such a world You can't blame me for trying to hoard and protect it against the intrusive world outside can you? And Darley thinks to himself from the depths of my own inner selfishness I was glad of these external pressures for they circumscribed our world perfectly penned us up closely together isolated usAnd that's the completion of a formerly unfinished series or book sets for the Reading Envy Summer Reading challenge to finish a series The Ruminator uartet Some years and one world war was after his bizarre liaisons with Melissa and Justine the Irish migr Darley becomes enmeshed with the bisexual artist Cl Over ten years ago I read the first book of the Alexandria Infamous uartet by Lawrence Durrell This summer I read books 3 4 Clea is the final book of the Comfort of a Man uartet and takes some of the characters' stories to their conclusions and reveals hidden truths of others Clea herself is of a focus and serves as Darley's connector back to Alexandria even if it has grown sordid with the warAs always the writing is astounding even if I had to look A Cowboy Christmas up all the French and many of the English words Durrell always manages to capture the mood of heightened importance many of the characters possess and the distinctions between people because of their backgrounds This book is a bit of a conglomoration of other texts the journal and letters of Pursewarden a satisfying letter from Leila that changes some of the previous volume the poetry of Cavafy Comfort of a Man uotes from characters in previous books of the same Husband From 9 To 5 uartet is it pretentious for Durrell to The Bonny Bride uote himself? I don't know It adds a feeling of nostalgia but I liked those passages when I first encountered them best; they don't belong to this volume as such The city has changed but colonialism lives on as Darley and friends continue to make love and go drinking as the harbor is bombed It's The Beleaguered Lord Bourne (Regency Trilogy, uite Bending the Rules (Sisterhood Diaries, unnerving actually how sheltered they believe themselves to be whereas Justine and Nessim are virtually in hiding and are only in the background Clea's determination to carry on despite the changes in the city and the increased danger struck a chord with me as it feels similar to our ongoing pandemic living situationsI always believed that a love of human beings would flower strongly out of a common misfortune It isn't true To be here just the two of Hope Street us sitting by candle light is almost a miracle in such a world You can't blame me for trying to hoard and protect it against the intrusive world outside can you? And Darley thinks to himself from the depths of my own inner selfishness I was glad of these external pressures for they circumscribed our world perfectly penned Burkes Christmas Surprise us A Perfect Blood (The Hollows, up closely together isolated Just Wars and Moral Victories usAnd that's the completion of a formerly Two Paradigms for Divine Healing unfinished series or book sets for the Reading Envy Summer Reading challenge to finish a series

Download ✓ PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB Ä Lawrence Durrell

Clea Author Lawrence Durrell

S out the tetralogy with grace beauty and stunning impact This rich exciting fare is Durrell's finest writing style a manner of writing few living authors can eual A magnificent achievement The Detriot News The reader is carried along on a current of superbly accomplished prose as flexible and colorful as that of any contemporary writer What Durrell has given us is well worth having San Francisco Chronicle Last of the Alexandria uartet I've uoted from the other three so here's a bit of Clea A phrase of Pursewarden's came into my mind as I softly closed the door of the ward 'The richest love is that which submits to the arbitration of time' Individually any of the four is a gem Altogether the uartet is magnificent I don't love or even like Elizabeth Gilbert but I read a uote of hers a bit ago about listening in a college freshman English class to some dude saying how Harper Lee was a one hit wonder And how ludicrous that is to say about someone who wrote a definitive perhaps the definitive novel on racism in America I feel similarly about Durrell I don't care if he wrote another damn word because the uartet is a masterpiece The language is elouent the plot intricate and surprising than I could have anticipated and the total accomplishment is beautiful It's hard perhaps impossible to summarize four uniue novels succinctly let alone attempt to describe their cohesive whole But a treasure Out of Bounds (Boundaries, us is well worth having San Francisco Chronicle Last of the Alexandria Grass, Sky, Song uartet I've Otter Chaos! (Otter Chaos uoted from the other three so here's a bit of Clea A phrase of Pursewarden's came into my mind as I softly closed the door of the ward 'The richest love is that which submits to the arbitration of time' Individually any of the four is a gem Altogether the The Illusionists uartet is magnificent I don't love or even like Elizabeth Gilbert but I read a O Último Testamento (Maggie Costello, uote of hers a bit ago about listening in a college freshman English class to some dude saying how Harper Lee was a one hit wonder And how ludicrous that is to say about someone who wrote a definitive perhaps the definitive novel on racism in America I feel similarly about Durrell I don't care if he wrote another damn word because the One for My Baby uartet is a masterpiece The language is elouent the plot intricate and surprising than I could have anticipated and the total accomplishment is beautiful It's hard perhaps impossible to summarize four Paragon Walk (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, uniue novels succinctly let alone attempt to describe their cohesive whole But a treasure

Lawrence Durrell Ä 6 Free read

Ea That affair not only changes the lovers it transforms the dead as well revealing new layers of duplicity and desire perversity and pathos in Lawrence Durrell's masterly constructionA massive marvelously concrete deeply felt statement of faith His style glows with the mineral deposits of many cultures One of the most important works of our time has come to an end The New York Times Book Review Clea round After an absence of 7 years or so we return to Alexandria during the last year of WWII with the reliable Darley as narrator It seems that Durrell actually intends to give us some resolution to this multi faceted story so we revisit the same cast of characters some now dead some forever alteredit's difficult to even conjure up the first impressions I had of this exotic bunchOf course the emotional thrust of the story revolves around Clea someone that we've only met obliuely in the earlier books She is an interesting study but perhaps less interesting than when she was only a hint But then again Darley doesn't always get things right and he's not even convinced that he is a worthy writer To be honest I didn't like Durrell's last picture of Justine arguably the linchpin of these books But is this Durrell's perspective or Darley's or is Darley just a self effacing projection of Durrell? I've talked too much The ending contains a nice edge of your seat adventure and a smile on your face conclusion And of course the language is rich and sometimes surprising It's all been a rewarding journey and I will miss these friends Einsteins Generation us some resolution to this multi faceted story so we revisit the same cast of characters some now dead some forever alteredit's difficult to even conjure Electing Judges up the first impressions I had of this exotic bunchOf course the emotional thrust of the story revolves around Clea someone that we've only met obliuely in the earlier books She is an interesting study but perhaps less interesting than when she was only a hint But then again Darley doesn't always get things right and he's not even convinced that he is a worthy writer To be honest I didn't like Durrell's last picture of Justine arguably the linchpin of these books But is this Durrell's perspective or Darley's or is Darley just a self effacing projection of Durrell? I've talked too much The ending contains a nice edge of your seat adventure and a smile on your face conclusion And of course the language is rich and sometimes surprising It's all been a rewarding journey and I will miss these friends


10 thoughts on “Clea Author Lawrence Durrell

  1. says:

    The final part of the uartet and it’s been a wonderful journey Not uite as strong I thought as the other three It is set about seven years later Darley has been living on a Greek island looking after Melissa’s daughter with Nessim Balthasar arrives with information and writing from the late Pursewarden Many of the aps from the previous novels are filled in Darley returns to Alexandria reuniting Nessim with his daughter He bumps into Clea and begins a romantic relationship with her It is Clea and her relationship with Darley that takes centre stage The uartet seems to hang together as a result of this novel and the prose is still wonderful There were one or two ends that didn’t uite convince me Justine for instance but on the whole again Durrell has created a masterpiece Darley is as short sighted as ever when it comes to his romantic entanglements The events of the war intertwine this novel and Alexandria is in the hands of the Free French There are some neat comic touches; the late cross dressing Scobie is now an unofficial saint and has his own feast day All of the main participants take some sort of bowDurrell indulges himself in all sorts of meditations covering art the novel and creativity set within the outstanding writing and the Freudian allusions The fragments from Pursewarden add a great deal and an edge of cynicism and weirdness At the centre of it all though is the nature of love and particularly how miserable it can make you The whole thing is a look at modern civilisation and its decadence I also think Durrell is looking at the nature of truth because he looks at events from several different angles and points of view making the reader uestion their original judgement The uartet is a great achievement and the prose so beautiful it defies description I enjoyed the first three slightly than this one but they stand alone as a whole


  2. says:

    Over ten years ago I read the first book of the Alexandria uartet by Lawrence Durrell This summer I read books 3 4 Clea is the final book of the uartet and takes some of the characters' stories to their conclusions and reveals hidden truths of others Clea herself is of a focus and serves as Darley's connector back to Alexandria even if it has grown sordid with the warAs always the writing is astounding even if I had to look up all the French and many of the English words Durrell always manages to capture the mood of heightened importance many of the characters possess and the distinctions between people because of their backgrounds This book is a bit of a conglomoration of other texts the journal and letters of Pursewarden a satisfying letter from Leila that changes some of the previous volume the poetry of Cavafy uotes from characters in previous books of the same uartet is it pretentious for Durrell to uote himself? I don't know It adds a feeling of nostalgia but I liked those passages when I first encountered them best; they don't belong to this volume as such The city has changed but colonialism lives on as Darley and friends continue to make love and go drinking as the harbor is bombed It's uite unnerving actually how sheltered they believe themselves to be whereas Justine and Nessim are virtually in hiding and are only in the background Clea's determination to carry on despite the changes in the city and the increased danger struck a chord with me as it feels similar to our ongoing pandemic living situationsI always believed that a love of human beings would flower strongly out of a common misfortune It isn't true To be here just the two of us sitting by candle light is almost a miracle in such a world You can't blame me for trying to hoard and protect it against the intrusive world outside can you? And Darley thinks to himself from the depths of my own inner selfishness I was glad of these external pressures for they circumscribed our world perfectly penned us up closely together isolated usAnd that's the completion of a formerly unfinished series or book sets for the Reading Envy Summer Reading challenge to finish a series


  3. says:

    This Precious Image Mountolive the third volume in The Alexandria uartet initially alienated me but totally turned me around Clea started in the same manner but patient this time I let it work its magic It fell into place much uickly and the rewards came sooner as wellInitially I wondered whether it might be a grab bag of ideas and impressions stitched together as an afterthought to what might otherwise have constituted a trilogyEven if it had been conceived of as a trilogy Clea fits in neatly It is set some years later both during and after the war Whereas some of the relationships in the earlier volumes were still jostling around with the heat by now they have started to settle People have matured They've worked out what they're seeking after They've started to find it Some however have moved on or shuffled off this mortal coilMost importantly for the narrator Darley he's now remote enough from the original events that he has lost some of his timidness he has emerged with a perspective or at least a composite of multiple perspectives he has realised that he is ready to write about these events and he has decided what form his project should take It had been so long in forming inside me this precious imagethe old story of an artist coming of ageThe Kingdom of Your ImaginationSo just as the uartet is a story about Alexandria and its inhabitants When you are in love with one of its inhabitants a city can become the world it's also a story of an artist delving into the past and readying himself to write about itAlthough Darley feels that the whole universe had given me a nudge it's Clea who has seen what the universe had in store for him and indeed for herself As for you wise one I have a feeling that you too perhaps have stepped across the threshold into the kingdom of your imagination to take possession of it once and for allEach is now a real human being an artist at lastFinding Your Self in the World Clea is probably the densest of the four novels in terms of plot It's also the most linear to the extent that it even hints at a happy endingHowever its concerns seem to revolve around the uestions what does it mean to live? What does it mean to love? What does it mean to be an artist? What does the imagination have to do with the truth?In concepts if not necessarily language that evoke Hegel the writer Pursewarden theorises The so called act of living is really an act of the imagination The world which we always visualise as 'the outside World' yields only to self explorationThus we have to explore ourselves in order to understand the world By the same token if we explore the outside world we will also understand ourselves betterHence by understanding the city we will understand its inhabitants And vice versaPursewarden's Inkling of the TruthPursewarden often seems to be the vehicle by which Durrell allows Darley to acuire wisdom without necessarily realising the immediate or abstract significance of what is happening before his very eyes Part of the novel's metafiction involves Darley reading Pursewarden's correspondence journals and draft fiction and verse Seeing Pursewarden thus for the first time I saw that through his work he had been seeking for the very tenderness of logic itself of the Way Things Are; not the logic of syllogism or the tidemarks of the emotions but the real essence of fact finding the naked truth the Inklingthe whole pointless JokeAction and ReflectionAnother writer character Keats adds The man of action and the man of reflection are really the same man operating on two different fields But to the same endFor an artist at least you need to be both a man of action and a man of reflection Each uality informs the otherMeddling with TimePursewarden makes a similar point in relation to Proust Time is the catch Space is a concrete idea but Time is abstractIn the scar tissue of Proust's great poem you see that so clearly; his work is the great academy of the time consciousness But being unwilling to mobilise the meaning of time he was driven to fall back on memory the ancestor of hope Ah But being a Jew he had hope and with Hope comes the irresistible desire to meddleThis passage seems to imply that Proust focused on memory in the absence of action in the present Yet it also suggests that Proust was prone to hope and meddle presumably in relation to the future Perhaps then Pursewarden in contrast to Proust focuses on the present than either the past or the future The present is the only facet of Time that can be immediately influenced and mobilised by ManYet Pursewarden suggests that in trying to mobilise the progress of Time into the future this other manifestation of Man we Celts has the opposite problem to the Jewish predicament of hopefulness We Celts mate with despair out of which alone grows laughter and the desperate romance of the eternally hopeless We hunt the unattainable and for us there is only a search unendingSelective FictionsNo matter what the characters think they can achieve by acts of will a sense of determinism occasionally creeps into the novelThe past seems to shape both the present and the future It was indeed another island I suppose the past always is Here for a night and a day I lived the life of an echo thinking much about the past and about us all moving in it the 'selective fictions' which life shuffles out like a pack of cards mixing and dividing withdrawing and restoringIf at times we seem to be actors on the stage of life have our lines already been written for us? Or are our choices simply limited to the number of cards in the pack?The Seeds of Future EventsDarley looking back on events in the the past in preparation for writing about it says It is not hard writing at this remove in time to realise that it had already happened had been ordained in such a way and in no other This was so to speak only its 'coming to pass' its stage of manifestationThe seeds of future events are carried within ourselves They are implicit in us and unfold according to the laws of their own natureIt's almost as if our character determines our fate Perhaps not just our own fate but we all contribute to the passage of history which is just a record of the passage of TimeIn a beautiful musical analogy Darley writes to Clea that the individual events in our lives might plant themselves in the speculative mind like single notes of music belonging to some larger composition which I suppose one will never hearThe Poisoned Loving CupThroughout the novel various permutations and combinations share a loving cup But Darley refers to it as a poisoned loving cupObviously some lovers were never meant for each other at all However Clea is the first to appreciate that love can often be a matter of timing It doesn't help that this is love during wartime I shall see if I can't will him back again We aren't uite ripe for each other yet It will comeThe Richest LoveDurrell reserves some of his most beautiful writing for these moments of intimacy So it was that love making itself became a kind of challenge to the whirlwind outside which beat and pounded like a thunderstorm of guns and sirens igniting the pale skies of the city with the magnificence of its lightning flashes And kisses themselves became charged with the deliberate affirmation which can come only from the foreknowledge and presence of death It would have been good to die at any moment then for love and death had somewhere joined hands It was an expression of her pride too to sleep there in the crook of my arm like a wild bird exhausted by its struggles with a limed twig for all the world as if it were an ordinary summer night of peace But perhaps it should be Pursewarden who has the last word The richest love is that which submits to the arbitration of timeWe must love as if this is the only time available to us Because when all is said and done this much is trueREVIEWS OF THE ALEXANDRIA UARTETJustine Vol 1 of 4Balthazar Vol 2 of 4Mountolive Vol 3 of 4 When I read John Hawkes' The Lime Twig I didn't think to look up the literal meaning of its title This second reference impelled me to


  4. says:

    Will review tomorrow


  5. says:

    In this final volume of the Alexandria uartet Durrell returns to Darley’s active narrative Darley has now departed his Aegean island and returned to Alexandria resuming his story there during World War II when the city is held by the Free French and is periodically being bombed by the Italians Some of his old friends have died but their stories are very much alive and inform the plot Others have aged but take up their friendships with him He and Clea the enigmatic painter become lovers and the first third of this novel is told through their conversations with each other We learn that Nessim and his family are impoverished Nessim himself now an ambulance driver having lost an eye and a finger Justine and he live together in bitterness and she has become hardened and unattractive The writing is lyrical and beautiful almost impossible to describe Alexandria itself is as much a state of mind as a geographical locationThe middle portion of the novel is an extended portion of the deceased Pursewarden’s journal a portion addressed to Darley himself that Darley is given by Clea to read In it Pursewarden a novelist of great accomplishment philosophizes about art and literature the role and the life of a writer and the function of art in the world One wonders if this is meant to expound Durrell’s own views At the very least the thoughtful reader will take away these insights and hypotheses and use them in his own critical reading of literature Among other things Pursewarden in this extended reflection on the nature and meaning of art raises an insight that rings true at least to me He states that art is the product of the working of the imagination and religion is the function of art being taken too literally That is consistent with my own conviction that religion is metaphor the error being that people fail to realize this and then force the metaphor to be “factual” The last third of the novel traces the fates and trajectories of the lives of the main characters most of whom at the end of the War leave Alexandria for lives in Europe What is difficult for me to convey is the beauty of Durrell’s prose his sensitivity to place and nuance his insights into human personalities and their motivations and intuitive knowings This fourth volume of the uartet contains some of the loveliest and most poignant love prose that I have ever read the relationship of Clea and Darley with all of its moods and fluctuations being painted with exuisite delicacy very movingThe Alexandria uartet is one of the most beautiful and haunting works of fiction that I have encountered It must be read in the proper seuence without much spacing between the novels because it truly is one continuous story somewhat arbitrarily divided into four parts Durrell has created a world that is unforgettable characters that are uniue and vivid and a story of great psychological depth and variety His prose is unimaginably lovely


  6. says:

    After an absence of 7 years or so we return to Alexandria during the last year of WWII with the reliable Darley as narrator It seems that Durrell actually intends to give us some resolution to this multi faceted story so we revisit the same cast of characters some now dead some forever alteredit's difficult to even conjure up the first impressions I had of this exotic bunchOf course the emotional thrust of the story revolves around Clea someone that we've only met obliuely in the earlier books She is an interesting study but perhaps less interesting than when she was only a hint But then again Darley doesn't always get things right and he's not even convinced that he is a worthy writer To be honest I didn't like Durrell's last picture of Justine arguably the linchpin of these books But is this Durrell's perspective or Darley's or is Darley just a self effacing projection of Durrell? I've talked too much The ending contains a nice edge of your seat adventure and a smile on your face conclusion And of course the language is rich and sometimes surprising It's all been a rewarding journey and I will miss these friends


  7. says:

    Last of the Alexandria uartet I've uoted from the other three so here's a bit of Clea A phrase of Pursewarden's came into my mind as I softly closed the door of the ward 'The richest love is that which submits to the arbitration of time' Individually any of the four is a gem Altogether the uartet is magnificent I don't love or even like Elizabeth Gilbert but I read a uote of hers a bit ago about listening in a college freshman English class to some dude saying how Harper Lee was a one hit wonder And how ludicrous that is to say about someone who wrote a definitive perhaps the definitive novel on racism in America I feel similarly about Durrell I don't care if he wrote another damn word because the uartet is a masterpiece The language is elouent the plot intricate and surprising than I could have anticipated and the total accomplishment is beautiful It's hard perhaps impossible to summarize four uniue novels succinctly let alone attempt to describe their cohesive whole But a treasure


  8. says:

    Sadly I have come to the end of The Alexandria uartet It has been a revelatory reading experience and I now see why this dated collection is still read praised even lovedI found Clea the weakest of the four perhaps because Durrell is winding down as is the historic city of Alexandria These days it is considered an unsafe location for tourists During the time covered by Clea the British Empire's heyday is coming to a close In his inimitable way Durrell infuses all of this into a sad farewellClea who had always been a shadowy presence in the earlier novels now has her day She is an artist a painter Of all the women in the uartet she comes across as the most well balanced; a sort of Earth Mother figure and the feminist of the bunch The nararator whom I assume is Durrell himself finally has a love affair with her He is older and wiser now but Clea is wiser stillThe EndThe Books of the Alexandria uartetJustine Balthazar Mountolive Clea


  9. says:

    Clea is the fourth and final installment of Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria uartet If you have not already done so you should read the others—in seuence—before starting this one I toyed with the notion of reading these out of order myself but in the end I'm glad I stuck with the way Durrell presented them And if you thought perhaps Durrell would run out of material after writing three other books on the same subjects uite the contrary; there are many revelations here events not visible from the perspectives of the earlier books and some shocking turns that—retroactively—force significant reassessments of his subjectsClea herself of course is the beautiful blonde artist whose entanglement with the dark and lovely Justine added some salacious interest to Justine and who created the portrait of Justine that gives the narrator Darley such comfort in his island exile we've met her before briefly but despite having been given a few of the best lines in the earlier books Clea's been very much a peripheral character up till now And—unlike Justine and Mountolive—Clea takes her time appearing on the stage even in her namesake bookBalthazar also delayed his appearance but unlike his analytical other directed presence in Balthazar once Clea does come under our direct gaze she is fully present Her opinions and desires consume both Darley's full attention and our ownClea is to a greater extent than its predecessors explicitly about the interplay between men and women and it is the only volume of the four to contain passages that I would consider purely and unself consciously erotic In returning to a tight focus on Darley and one woman from a mature or at least experienced perspective Durrell does something uite opposite to the prospect Pursewarden deplores so loudly—in no way does he put a tea cosy over reality p137—o felicitous phraseWhere Clea isn't about Darley and Clea in fact it's primarily about Pursewarden—the fragile brilliant author whose notebook My Conversations with Brother Ass makes up a big chunk of this book's middle third Pursewarden's thoughts and by that we must mean Durrell's own could make a whole book of aphorisms in and of themselvesThe imperatives from which there is no escape are Laugh till it hurts and hurt till you laugh—Pursewarden p138And the intriguing notionI mean wasn't the idea of the individual soul grafted on to us by the Greeks in the wild hope that by its sheer beauty it would take—as we say of vaccination?—Pursewarden p148But then also this bit of weirdnessFor culture means sex the root knowledge and where the faculty is derailed or crippled its derivatives like religion come up dwarfed or contorted—instead of the emblematic mystic rose you get Judaic cauliflowers like Mormons or Vegetarians instead of artists you get cry babies instead of philosophy semantics—Pursewarden p141Am I disloyal in wanting to read Pursewarden's idealized and cynical books—the missing fifth element of the uartet presented here only in fragments—perhaps even than Darley's own memoir? No for Darley as a surrogate for Durrell though far from being his wish fulfillment Mary Sue admits that he himself would rather read Pursewarden's prose Darley says after his reading of Brother Ass has endedAnd realizing this I was suddenly afflicted by a great melancholy and despair at recognising the completely limited nature of my own powers hedged about as they were by the limitations of an intelligence too powerful for itself and lacking in sheer word magic in propulsion in passion to achieve this other world of artistic fulfilment—Darley p177Not that Darley is any generally reliable or truthful in this novel—with the reader or with himself—than he is in Justine He congratulates himself on p56 upon his insight into Woman the fecund passivity with which like the moon she borrows her second hand light from the male sun forsooth uite possibly Durrell himself did not feel this way but even so there is not in Darley's phrase the slightest hint that he's aware of how ridiculous this denial of independent agency might appear to half of the human raceAnd yet elsewhere observations such as this ring true to mewomen instinctively like a man with plenty of female in him; there they suspect is the only sort of lover who can sufficiently identify himself with them to deliver them of being just women catalysts strops oil stones—Clea p108The covers of this particular edition I must admit are not all that great I like the narrow font and the whimsical placement of each title on its respective cover And the photographs are good enough evocative of Egypt without being too specific as to place or time But those images do not evoke for me any sense of Durrell's four novels as a unified work nor do they imply—as I think they should—the explicitly four dimensional aspects of the uartet For Durrell's project is nothing less than the construction of a multidimensional perspective on a single series of events a science fiction in his own words based on a view of space time as a unified continuumThis view jibes so well with my own opinions about how the universe works that I have a hard time being objective about it but I do believe that Durrell succeeded admirably From the myopic focus of Justine peering through the space between two lovers lying eye to eye to the horizontal separation in Balthazar with its idyllic island exile to the aloof view from above in Mountolive and now in Clea Durrell returns to Alexandria and to a tighter focus on two lovers but views them from the irremediable perspective of timeThat recurring word irremediable seems to set the key note—the events of the earlier books have receded inexorably into the past The advent of World War II as well—long looming in the other books—affects both the tone and the view of Clea's AlexandriaIt had come so softly towards us over the waters this war; gradually as clouds which uietly fill in a horizon from end to end But as yet it had not broken Only the rumour of it gripped the heart with conflicting hopes and fears At first it had seemed to portend the end of the so called civilised world but this hope soon proved vain No it was to be as always simply the end of kindness and safety and moderate ways; the end of the artist's hopes of nonchalance of joy Apart from this everything else about the human condition would be confirmed and emphasised; perhaps even a certain truthfulness had already begun to emerge from behind appearances for death heightens every tension and permits us fewer of the half truths by which we normally live—p21If I were designing new covers for these volumes they would each show the same scene through the four panes of a single window in Alexandria One pane would be dedicated to each volume but each volume's pane would be in color for that book only and each pane would be zoomed in differently close focus for Justine; in the middle distance for Balthazar; a wide angle view for Mountolive and for Clea a cracked and long neglected glass filmed over with brown dustThis world represents the promise of a uniue happiness which we are not well enough euipped to grasp—Balthazar p23Taken as a whole—and perhaps that is how I should have read the Alexandria uartet anyway as a single omnibus volume such editions do exist though that is not the one that came to my hand—the uartet is much than the sum of its parts It can be difficult to read and in some instances difficult to forgive; its creator and its time are not our own But it is a landmark work of 20th Century literature and I am very glad to have read it


  10. says:

    To finally have finished the fourth in this amazing uartet of books feels like a journey of sorts I have really adored being emersed in the lives of this group of individuals thrown together through public and political life in a backdrop of exotic Egyptian locations and traditions starting in the romantic 1930's through to wartime The contrast between the British characters Mountolive Darley Pursewarden and others many eccentric tales there to the Egyptian wealthy socialites wealthy landowners and dignitaries such as Justine and Nessim; characters they grow to know love and interact with was interestingly portrayed This book follows the pattern of the previous three in that many passages branch off to tell stories of each of the characters often not related to the flow of the plot but which fill out your knowledge of their complete selves and how they fit into the seuence of events You can then look at each of them in a different way when reading of the their progression and how their lives intertwine often with tragic and unpredictable outcomes Much of the book is concerned with the tangled sexual and artistic lives of the characters and their passionate affairs with each other At the close the feeling of time having passed and events having changed their futures and impressions of each other are felt as they move on to the next phases of their lives The near catastrophic climax of this 4th part dramatically unfolded in unexpected ways the culmination of the narrator's Darley time before returning to Europe Seeing this through to the end has highlighted that each individual book is only a step towards this point another aspect of the story sometimes told by other characters like links in a chain the end of the whole read and I think you have to plough all 4 to appreciate the work in its entirety Ploughing through it is a good way to describe it as it hasn't been an easy read overall often very dense in parts I really think you would either love or hate it however above all it is the writing and the way in which Durrell paints his evocative sensual world of Alexandria in that glorious era is the overriding joy and reward of these books The writing is breathtaking throughout and it has been an immensely enjoyable and challenging reading experience for me over this summer one which I think will be hard to follow and one I may well repeat in the future