- Paperback: 880 pages
- Publisher: Faber and Faber; New Ed edition (2 Jun. 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 057122556X
- ISBN-13: 978-0571225569
- Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 4.5 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 328,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Alexandria Quartet: Justine, Balthazar, Mountolive, Clea Paperback – 2 Jun 2005
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'Durrell was a master at creating and handling tension ... I was fascinated from the start.' -- Wilbur Smith
'One of the most important works of our time.' -- New York Times Book Review
'Intoxicating.' -- Niall Ferguson
'A formidable, glittering achievement.' --Times Literary Supplement
'The writing is nearly always superb, not only in the great passages of poetical description but also in the asides, the casual wit and brilliance of comment.' -- Philip Toynbee, Observer
'There can be no doubt of the magnitude of Durrell's achievement.' --George Steiner --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell contains the hugely celebrated books Justine, Balthazar, Mountolive and Clea. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
Durrell recommends us to read the first three books in any order or even simultaneously. Here, I feel he is unaware of a strength in his book. The first three books are layers of the same story. Of course if I'd read them backwards, I may have been similarly impressed but the structure is truly genius:
The first book is truly beautiful and wonderfully interesting but in the end rather simple. Then almost every page of the second book makes you smile at the naivety of the narrator of the first book. The third makes an abrupt change of style and suddenly the reader is laughing at his own naivety. How could we have seen the story in such a skewed way? The whole story is blown apart... and yet in an entirely cohesive way. If that sounds absurd, then read the book and appreciate what a genius the author is.
I really don't want to say much about the final book because it blew me away so much and I think it would produce the same reaction in almost anyone (this is a very, VERY highbrow book yet the end of the book excludes almost no reader). As I finished the last page my instant urge was to turn back to the first and to start this tome all over again.
It is a dense account of various intertwined lives in the city of Alexandria.Above all it's an account of Alexandria itself.With all the political changes that have gone on in Egypt in recent times it's probably a good time to read the books.A time long gone,a time for nostalgia and all beautifully written.
"Justine" is ostensibly told in the first person, although at times it reads more like a third-person narrative with an omniscient narrator, as the narrator (unnamed in this novel, but referred to as "Darley" in the later novels) reports on events he did not witness in person and displays an insight into the motives and emotions of others which he is unlikely to have possessed. We never, in fact, learn Darley's full name; it is implied at one point that his initials are "L.G.", giving him the same initials as his creator Lawrence George Durrell, but elsewhere in the text another character addresses him as "Mark", an inconsistency which is never resolved.
The main theme of "Justine" is an extension of the familiar love triangle into a love quadrilateral. Darley is a schoolmaster and struggling writer, who is involved in a love affair with Justine, a beautiful and mysterious woman married to Nessim, a wealthy Egyptian aristocrat and the narrator's friend. The fourth corner of the quadrilateral is Darley's other lover Melissa, a nightclub dancer who is possibly also a prostitute.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this 40+ years ago when still at school - it was part of my course work. Then it was an intellectual challenge for an enquiring mind. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Tony von Halstead
I first read this book around 50 years ago and loved it. I loved the apparent depth and what I saw as the poetic and evocative writing, and intriguing way it passed from the... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Hannah
It must be 50 years since I read this. A strange yet familiar odyssey of love art and politics. Do read it -it's magicalPublished 12 months ago by Dr. J. A. Rae
A magnificent work. And thank God the politically correct brigade have not yet tampered with it!Published 15 months ago by Keith
The unnamed narrator, an uptight Irish schoolteacher living on a windswept Greek island, is remembering Alexandria in the late 30s, where he got romantically involved with both a... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Bob Ventos