The Dark Labyrinth: A Novel
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Dark Labyrinth: A Novel

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  268 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Who will survive the Labyrinth of Crete?

A group of English cruise-ship tourists debark to visit the isle of Crete’s famed labyrinth, the City in the Rock. The motley gathering includes a painter, a poet, a soldier, an elderly married couple, a medium, a convalescent girl, and the mysterious Lord Gracean. The group is prepared for a trifling day of sightseeing and maybe eve...more
ebook, 244 pages
Published June 12th 2012 by Open Road Media (first published January 1st 1961)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 477)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
This is the best book no one's ever heard of. It's really had to find, and I can't understand why, because Lawrence Durrell's a pretty popular author. This was the first book I read by him and still my favorite, about a group of people who get separated from each other exploring these caves in Greece, and what happens to all of them, inside and out. Really creative, and I don't think he ever got this good again.
I've read this book multiple times. It's one of my favorite of all times. Every character in this novel has finds their own version of salvation, only to find it's also their own hell. Some survive, some don't.

"Be specific. Be very specific." --The Safety of Objects
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in October 2005.

In all of Lawrence Durrell's novels, the author combines an apparently realistic story with psychological and spiritual allegroy, so that nothing necessarily means what it appears to signify on the surface. (I wouldn't class them as fully allegorical, because I can't come up with a meaning beyond the surface one for some aspects of each novel.) In The Dark Labyrinth, his first novel, the scaffolding which makes this structure work is much more...more
'The Dark Labyrinth' (1947) is Lawrence Durrell's fourth novel and his first after the early masterpiece 'The Black Book' (1938). Originally published as 'Cefalu' in the UK, it was republished in the US under an alternate title to capitalize on the success of 'The Alexandria Quartet.'

'The Dark Labyrinth' finds Durrell attempting a more conventional style after the experimental prose poetry of 'Black Book,' an approach reintroduced in more measured fashion with 'Justine' in 1957. 'The Dark Labyri...more
When a group of first class passengers on a cruise disembark at Crete for a guided tour of a labyrinthine cave system at Cefalu, they are trapped by a rock-fall, with only Lord Graecan being on the right side of the rocks to make his way back out and raise the alarm. The back stories of the passengers (many of whom already knew each other) and how each of them reacts when facing death in the labyrinth, make for a fascinating story.

There are sub-plots about the mysterious Axelos, who lives in a h...more
A captivating Mediterranean novel,full of atmosphere and the vivid first-hand experience is the description about the landscape and people of which Durrell was a master. It is set on Crete just after WW2, an odd assortment of English travellers come ashore from a cruise ship to explore the island and in particular to examine a dangerous local labyrinth. They include a lot of eccentric people each on his or her own mission. To some extent the book is half mystery/suspense romantic and a psycholo...more

Durrell is one of my fav authors and I love to read his books when I travel to his locations. This is one of his most accessible books but still retains that sort of magical allegorical quality. Wonderful!
Finally, I finished!!! Maybe it was me, but this is one of the hardest to finish... I had no desire to read it...I find characters, although described in detail and some deeply analyzed, false, lifeless, like puppets moving around in the hand of various puppet masters. The end was somehow saving the book, but...really why do you need 200 pages for 50 beautiful ones? Mythology? There is only a tint of it...and not even really used, or analyzed, just some pretext, as if the action is in Greece the...more
Edward Butler
Proclus said that "It is customary for theologians to put Crete in the place of the Intelligible," (In Tim. I, 118); so too Durrell. A jewel of a novel, a petite masterwork of high modernism. It's as though Agatha Christie wrote an alchemical text.
I've reread this and appreciate now much more the subtlety of Durrell's characterisation which transforms a potential Cretan version of the 'Poseidon Adventure' into an intricately crafted social commentary with beautiful description and observation
I liked most the mythical land found by the main character after passing through the labyrinth. We all would like to found such a place sometimes in our lives.
My copy of this book is in romanian.
Durrell writes an intriguing story set during WWII as some tourists get trapped on the isle of Crete. Their labyrinth becomes the plot of the story. Enjoyable read.
Unusual but beautifully written, I didn't really get into this book until the last third. But that part was stunning. I'll certainly read more Durrell.
Stephen Hawks
This is one of Durrell's early books. It is good story telling.
Madalina marked it as to-read
Jul 20, 2014
Annalise is currently reading it
Jul 17, 2014
Thomas -
Thomas - marked it as to-read
Jul 08, 2014
Ivana Lepojev
Ivana Lepojev is currently reading it
Jul 08, 2014
Valerie Cheston
Valerie Cheston marked it as to-read
Jul 07, 2014
ioana. marked it as to-read
Jul 04, 2014
Jana marked it as to-read
Jun 29, 2014
mirole marked it as to-read
Jun 26, 2014
Meganmaria marked it as to-read
Jun 22, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 15 16 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Les Liaisons Dangereuses
  • More Pricks Than Kicks
  • American Ghosts & Old World Wonders
  • Studies in Hysteria
  • The Waterfall
  • The Zigzag Way
  • The Rains Came
  • A Singular Man
  • The Long Day Wanes: A Malayan Trilogy
  • Fair Stood the Wind for France
  • Lifeboat No. 8: An Untold Tale of Love, Loss, and Surviving the Titanic
  • Towards the End of the Morning
  • Axolotl Roadkill
  • The Comforters
  • The Prayer of the Night Shepherd (Merrily Watkins, #6)
  • The Colossus of Maroussi
  • How to Do Things with Words (William James Lectures)
  • Selected Poems
Born in Jalandhar, British India, in 1912 to Indian-born British colonials, Lawrence Durrell was a critically hailed and beloved novelist, poet, humorist, and travel writer best known for the Alexandria Quartet novels, which were ranked by the Modern Library as among the greatest works of English literature in the twentieth century. A passionate and dedicated writer from an early age, Durrell’s pr...more
More about Lawrence Durrell...
The Alexandria Quartet  (The Alexandria Quartet #1-4) Justine (The Alexandria Quartet, #1) Balthazar (The Alexandria Quartet, #2) Mountolive (The Alexandria Quartet, #3) Clea (The Alexandria Quartet, #4)

Share This Book