The Alexandria Quartet, By Lawrence Durrell

Lawrence of Alexandria ... not to be confused with other authors

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The Independent Culture

The centenary of Lawrence Durrell's birth is being somewhat overshadowed by the bicentenary of a certain other writer this year.

Dickens was bound to put him in the shade, which is a pity. These four volumes, based on Durrell's life when he left Corfu for wartime Egypt, are rich to the point of excess. His writing style is unfashionably florid for these more pared-back times, but his depiction of a dying relationship, between the English author L G Darley and his paramour, the enigmatic Justine, is quite brilliant in its intimacy and honesty. The heat and mess of Alexandria drenches the pages of his stream-of-consciousness. Not an easy read but an essential one.