The Alexandria Quartet

The Alexandria Quartet Lawrence Durrell s series of four novels set in Alexandria Egypt during the s The lush and sensuous series consists of Justine Balthazar Mountolive Clea Justine Balthazar and

  • Title: The Alexandria Quartet
  • Author: Lawrence Durrell
  • ISBN: 9780140153170
  • Page: 186
  • Format: Paperback
  • Lawrence Durrell s series of four novels set in Alexandria, Egypt during the 1940s The lush and sensuous series consists of Justine 1957 Balthazar 1958 Mountolive 1958 Clea 1960.Justine, Balthazar and Mountolive use varied viewpoints to relate a series of events in Alexandria before World War II In Clea, the story continues into the years during the war One L.G DarLawrence Durrell s series of four novels set in Alexandria, Egypt during the 1940s The lush and sensuous series consists of Justine 1957 Balthazar 1958 Mountolive 1958 Clea 1960.Justine, Balthazar and Mountolive use varied viewpoints to relate a series of events in Alexandria before World War II In Clea, the story continues into the years during the war One L.G Darley is the primary observer of the events, which include events in the lives of those he loves and those he knows In Justine, Darley attempts to recover from and put into perspective his recently ended affair with a woman Balthazar reinterprets the romantic perspective he placed on the affair and its aftermath in Justine, in philosophical and intellectual terms Mountolive tells a story minus interpretation, and Clea reveals Darley s healing, and coming to love another woman.

    One thought on “The Alexandria Quartet”

    1. In terms of literary achievment, I have never ever ever read any book (or, technically, four books) that surpass The Alexandria Quartet. These are my favorite books. Period.Durrell was a master of atmosphere and voice, and if you can make it through "Justine", narrated by the story's centerpiece, the exiled Irish school teacher, Darley, you will be greatly rewarded. Darley speaks in long-winded (though often lovely) prose and is clearly self-absorbed and emotionally near-sighted. But it's fascin [...]

    2. "I supposeat if you wished somehow to incorporate all I am telling you into your own Justine manuscript now, that you would find yourself with a curious sort of book - the story would be told, so to speak, in layersa series of novels with 'sliding panels'"Balthazar, p. 338JustineA rhythmic, rolling book, without too much plot to speak of. However as a novel it works brilliantly as a sort of literary expose` about human relationships and love. If there is one thing you can take away from reading [...]

    3. Lawrence Durrell, to me, has to be the most celebrated English novelist of the 20th century. I’ve read all of his books but "The Alexandria Quartet" is unquestionably his most brilliant work in the period just before the Second World War in Alexandria.It was originally four novels: Justine, Balthazar, Mountolive and Clea and they have been combined into this work. I read this book about twenty years ago and I look at it from time to time just to read the exquisite style. I still love it. I thi [...]

    4. "Zeus gets Hera on her backBut finds that she has lost the knack.Extenuated by excessesShe is unable, she confesses.Nothing daunted Zeus, who wise isTries a dozen good disguises.Eagle, ram, and bull and bearQuickly answer Hera's prayer.One knows a God should be prolix,But think of all those different ******! "The recent violence against Coptics in Egypt, claimed by many to be the worst the country has seen in at least 300 years, adds a further layer of resonance and relevance to this extraordin [...]

    5. Looking over the reviews of this tetralogy, I find almost everyone gave it either five stars with the note that it's the greatest work they have ever read and that it changed their lives, to one or two stars marked by utter impatience. I can identify with both. There are breathtakingly beautiful descriptions of every aspect of nature, light, desert, sea, wildlife; and repeated descriptions of the lovely, decadent, and deadly city of Alexandria. Durrell makes you feel the heat, smell the fragran [...]

    6. I received The Alexandria Quartet as a Christmas gift from a dear person, and I was in the mood for reading series. Although I haven’t had much time for reading, this books had a hypnotic quality to them that sucked me in deep in the Durrell’s world, city of Alexandria. There are so many great quotes from this books that I not going to quote anything, because I can’t decide on one of just a few. The writing was magical, poetic, mystical, deep, talking about core and the essence of humans, [...]

    7. I realized then the truth about all love: that it is an absolute which takes all or forfeits all. The other feelings, compassion, tenderness and so on, exist only on the periphery and belong on the constructions of society and habit.My gratitude for M.J. Nicholls remains at the fore of this celebration. It wasn't he that steered me to this massive work. I am honestly unable to gather any of MJNs inferences in the direction of Durrell. It was more Nicholls' esprit, that laudable expansion on what [...]

    8. Even though it took me ages to finish this massive read, the eloquence and the elegancy of the prose blew me away. I absolutely adored the fact that the plot was non linear,at least during the first 3 books, whilst the landscape descriptions were mesmerizing and haunting.This is definitely an unparallel piece of art, full of philosophical reflections and beautifully written passages about love.Yes, one day I found myself writing down with trembling fingers the four words (four letters! four face [...]

    9. Being a serial book-adulterer I have fallen into and wandered out of love with an amoral number of books - but I remain forever in thrall to the Alexandria Quartet.Of course, I may change my mind in ten years. Let's just wait and see.

    10. While I was reading Les Trois Mousquetaires last week, I wondered a couple of times if it had served as partial inspiration for The Alexandria Quartet. One of the cleverest things about the Dumas novel is the way he reinterprets early 17th century French history as really being about the romantic lives of Anne of Austria, on the large scene, and D'Artagnan, on the small one - a sort of Sherlock Holmes/Basil the Great Mouse Detective deal. Here, Durrell takes the idea a step further. The first th [...]

    11. Probably one of the most spectacular things I've read in a long time. The writing is exquisite: ornate and sweeping. The characters are cast from all corners of Egyptian society, bringing high and low together in a sensuous jumble. The shifting narrative means that as you go through the series you get more and more perspective on the characters and essential plot points. Initial impressions are upended and all wrong. More and more illusions are shattered and you're left with something painful, b [...]

    12. Star RatingI read "Justine" many years ago and have just read the whole "Quartet".I've reviewed the individual works separately at the links below. I rated "Mountolive" five stars and the others four.I rated "Mountolive" higher, because of the roundabout journey it took me on. I've rated the "Quartet" as a whole five stars. My rationale is that the sum is greater than its parts (which could almost be one of its themes).However, there is a good chance that I will some day increase the four star r [...]

    13. This cursed city of ours, Alexandria, to which we most belong when we most hate it.1. Justine: youtube/watch?v=51OB2Y2. Balthazar: youtube/watch?v=NqGQIO3. Mountolive: youtube/watch?v=FYaRpB4. Clea: youtube/watch?v=68u9VwPočelo je nezanimljivo, sa puno ’veznih’ peripetija. Toliko da sam tokom čitanja u sebi pakosno recitovala Harmsa: Jednog dana se mlada osoba oklizne, padne u otvor od kanalizacije i slomi kičmu. I kad se potpuno oporavila, iznenada se prehladi i umre. Onda mladić, zalju [...]

    14. I've just reread the Quartet after a forty year interval during which I've enjoyed hundreds of books, and in recent years, written fiction of my own. I was once overwhelmed by Durrell’s descriptive power and humbled by his explosive creativity. As I returned to exotic Alexandria, I wondered if I would once again be transfixed by the same kaleidoscope of words that had once rotated my view of love and life. Four volumes later the answer is YES. Although my understandings have evolved, these boo [...]

    15. A magnificent work, tightly constructed it is impossible to consider these four volumes independently. Though published separately, they form a whole. I had thought about reading this since I was 20, when I had read what Henry Miller had to say about Durrell. Of course, I would not have understood, nor been able to read this at that age.The volume has flaws, to be sure it is not easy to read. There are artifices in the plot. The language is often bizarre and deliberately artificial and yet, and [...]

    16. Writing a review of something I read more than thirty years ago is difficult but I suspect reviewing Durrell's Quartet is difficult at any time. I remember being confused by much of it but feeling compelled to read the four separate novels nonetheless. What remains in my memory today is the heady atmosphere of heat, intrigue, Cadafy's poetry and the mysterious city of Alexandria which Durrell captured in his own idiosyncratic way. The characters and their doings are long forgotten.I don't think [...]

    17. “The oranges were more plentiful than usual that year. They glowed in their arbors of burnished green leaf like lanterns flickering up there among the sunny woods.” These are the first two sentences in the last volume (Clea) of The Alexandria Quartet. It has to be in the top ten or top five greatest books I have ever read. I knew one day I would have to read it but I had no idea what an amazing read it would be. At first, one almost thinks that Durrell is just showing off: great sentences co [...]

    18. There are some stories to which one should return at intervals. I got my first taste of Durrell when I was twenty or so: I'd just described my view of the Manhattan skyline at night, and my (older, better-read) paramour (who may have had ulterior motives) said, "My God, you sound just like Durrell." I dove in and these books changed me. Just as our reflections on still water bear remarkable fidelity to us but break apart when the water roils, the Quartet reveals that what we know (or think we lo [...]

    19. Alexandria between the wars. I don't think there will ever be a more sensual, lyrical, painterly writer than Durrell, nor a more exquisitely delineated labyrinthine, incestuous, brilliant, tangled society than that of his Alexandria, Egypt. A single page contains more beauty than is in the entire New York Times Bestseller list combined. If I could have written any book, I think it would have been these four interwoven masterpieces.

    20. What is he talking about?'But there are more than five sexes and only demotic Greek seems to distinguish among them. The sexual provender which lies to hand is staggering in its variety and profusion. You would never mistake it for a happy place. The symbolic lovers of the free Hellenic world are replaced here by something different, something subtly androgynous, inverted upon itself. The Orient cannot rejoice in the sweet anarchy of the body - for it has outstripped the body [:] Alexandria was [...]

    21. Multiple, very poetical at times, iterations on the relationships of a tight-knit group of people, the way they use/abuse and exploit each other.Going at it from multiple POVs. Multiple cameras in action.Also, dissecting the inter-community, inter-cultural relationships at the time, in Alexandria.Revealing the truth, if there's one:-), gradually, onion-style. Inthat dismissal of the absolute, very post-modernist.I took a break after "Justine." "Balthazar" seems easier this timearound, and certai [...]

    22. Beautiful, eloquent, haunting, airy, meditative, suave, cosmopolitan, transcendent, poetic, romantic, pessimistic, ruminative, opaque, mournful, tender, modern, erotic, imaginative, masterful, magnificent!

    23. Představte si, že by postavy z knih stárly. Valná většina literatury 20. století by dnes byla záležitostí starobních důchodců. Malý princ s šedivými kučerami by se belhal po poušti s vypelichaným exemplářem lišky, Florentino Ariza z Lásky za časů cholery by to už musel mít za sebou a možná že i Oskar Matzerath by za ty roky o pár centimetrů povyrostl a do svého bubínku by už nemlátil s takovou vervou. S tím vším bych se ještě nějak smířil, ale kdyby ze [...]

    24. This is bad writing dressed up as lamb. It's pompous and pseudo psychological nonsense is funny and grating. The long winded images and metaphors are a lesson in what not to do.

    25. With its non-linear structure, sensuous prose, and cast of characters buffeted and beleaguered by love, this tetralogy is one of the masterworks of the twentieth century, and remains the finest work of literature to emerge from Alexandria.Durrell jotted notes toward his "Alexandria novel" in the tower of the Ambron Villa, but began writing Justine, which he initially called his "Book of the Dead," in Cyprus in 1953. Soon after their arrival in Cyprus, Eve Cohen, Durrell's second wife, became dep [...]

    26. In a way, this review of Durrell’s masterpiece has been lurking in the shadows of my mind for decades. Three of the volumes have been sitting on my bookshelf for thirty years patiently waiting (daring?) for me to turn back the pages and begin again. Would they be as powerful and evocative as the first time? Would they propel me back in time to the girl I was on the bus traveling from Oaxaca to Mexico City trying to read Justine through tears shed for a just lost love? (Belated apologies to the [...]

    27. The author of the first book, Justine, has fallen in love with the titular character- who is another man’s wife- and writes a book about it. Pre WW2 Alexandria and the group of expats, outcasts, and diplomats living or posted there are seen through the author's eyes as the affair with Justine heats up, stutters and starts, and falters. In Balthazar, comments and notes from a bit-player in the first novel cast a different, darker light onto the events relayed in the first book and introduce ele [...]

    28. I've loved Durrell's "Alexandria Quartet" since I was first an undergraduate. I don't recall how I heard of it, but I had all four volumes in mass amrket paperbacks with elegantly sexy and vaguely Art Nouveau covers and sat in my rooms at university just being amazed at what Durrell could do with language--- and discovering C.P. Cavafy's poetry via Durrell. I've re-read the Quartet three of four times since then, and every time it's a new Alexandria, a new story. Part of that is that I'm older, [...]

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