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(Alexandria Quartet #2)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  2,668 ratings  ·  205 reviews
Balthazar, is the second volume of Durrell's The Alexandria Quartet, set in Alexandria, Egypt, during the 1940s. The events of each lush and sensuous novel are seen through the eyes of the central character L.G. Darley, who observes the interactions of his lovers, friends, and acquaintances. Balthazar, named for Darley's friend, a doctor and mystic, interprets Darley's vie ...more
Paperback, 280 pages
Published February 19th 2002 by Sudamericana (first published 1958)
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4.14  · 
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 ·  2,668 ratings  ·  205 reviews

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Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Desde la posición privilegiada de esta isla lo veo todo en su duplicidad, veo con nuevos ojos cómo se intercalan los hechos y la fantasía, –y al releer, al trabajar nuevamente la realidad a la luz de todo lo que ahora sé, me sorprende comprobar que incluso mis sentimientos han cambiado, han madurado, se han ahondado. Quizá la destrucción de mi Alejandría particular era necesaria ("ese objeto que es toda verdadera obra de arte nunca muestra una superficie plana"); quizá en el fondo de todo esto
Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-durrells
The second book in the Alexandria Quartet, still seen through the central character the writer Darley. He is now living on a remote Greek island a few years after the events of the first novel. Durrell’s narrative and descriptive powers create an atmosphere you can almost touch and smell. Balthazar arrives with some notes/descriptions/ information about the events of Justine which sort of fill in gaps, create new perspectives, answer some puzzles and create new puzzles. The bulk of the novel is ...more
Ian "Marvin" Graye
First Impression Followed by a Second

Initially, I suspected that this second volume of "The Alexandria Quartet" might be inferior to the first.

However, having finished it, I don't really think of it as a wholly different work. Its very nature and purpose is to tweek "Justine". It's both supplementary and complementary.

What emerges (in the mind of the reader) isn't so much a second distinct work, but a compound of the two. My memory of the first is now irreversibly altered by the experience
"Our view of reality is conditioned by our position in space and time — not by our personalities as we like to think."
- Lawrence Durrell, Balthazar


In Durrell's second book of the Alexandria Quartet, Durrell has added another voice, another perspective to the events of the first novel. He is giving the story depth. He is destroying of the private Alexandria of Darley, and now expanding the story to include perspectives from Balthazar. Darley has sent Balthazar the manuscript for Book 1, and Book
Jun 17, 2014 rated it liked it
الجزء الثانى من رباعية الاسكندريه.
أفضل من الجزء الأول بكل تأكيد, والتركيز على المدينه نفسها أعلى من الجزء الأول
اللغه رغم ترجمتها جيده
والاحداث والتفاصيل لم تختلف طبيعتها كثيرا عن الجزء الأول.
شخصيات العمل متطورة جدا وأفضل مافى الروايه والتطور الأكثر وضوحا عن لجزء الأول
فى المجمل عمل جيد ضمن رباعية روائيه قد تكون من أعظم ما قرأت
Czarny Pies
Oct 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Readers in Gnosticism and Kabbalism.
Shelves: english-lit
The Alexandra Quartet is not a set of four novels but rather a composition for four voices.
At the centre of this movement is Balthazar who is described as a "homosexual goat"by Durrell. Balthazar is the leader of the gnostic-kabbal that many of the key characters belong to. "Indulge but refine was Balthazar's very alexandrian doctrine. Balthazar understood that it was in the nature of Alexandrians to seek a reconciliation between extreme sensuality and extreme asceticism which was why they were
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second novel of four in Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet. I am glad that I read it, for it clarifies much that was enigmatic in the first novel, Justine, and it raises my estimation of the latter. Again the narrator is the author, Darley, now removed from Alexandria and living on an isolated Greek island with a small girl child, the daughter of his dead former lover, the tubercular prostitute Melissa. The little girl, who plays no part in the present narrative, is also the daughter of Ne ...more
Jan 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-india, 5e
"A única maneira de permanecermos fiéis ao tempo — escreve Baltasar — consiste em intercalar as realidades, porque em cada ponto do Tempo as possibilidades são infinitas na sua multiplicidade. Viver é escolher. Reservar perpetuamente o nosso juízo, escolher perpetuamente."

Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ono što mi je malo škripalo kod Baltazara je narativa, ili radije, njena neubedljivost. Darelova ideja primene relativiteta (mada malo laička) na strukturu kvarteta jeste zanimljiva – na neki način svaki potonji deo je ponovo čitanje jednog istog romana, ali sa različitim predznanjem – ali istovremeno unosi i sumnju u autentičnost pisanja, posebno kada karakteristično prvo lice iz Justine neretko zameni trećim licem nekog tamo nezanimljivog lika (npr. Nesimov brat). Dodaj na to što sam očekivao ...more
Jul 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, own

I'm beginning to think Durrell is one of the great writers of the 20th century. Really, the writing is just incredible. Like music on the page. ("An Arab woman makes my bed, beating the pillows till they fluff out like the white of egg under a whisk...") "Baroque," I think George Steiner called it. Durrell said that the second two novels in the quartet weren't sequels, because that indicates a relationship in time; rather, they are siblings. (The fourth novel, he says, is a legitimate sequel.) Y
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This is a review of the audiobook, which I received in exchange for an honest review from Brilliance Audio.

I originally read the second book of the Alexandria Quartet in 2009, and stopped without finishing the quartet. My goal is to get through all four books this year, but it is definitely slower going since I'm using the audio version. Narrator Jack Klaff makes great efforts to distinguish between characters but sometimes that makes me really hate the time we spend with some of them. Scobie wi
Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am just a refugee from the long slow toothache of English life. It is terrible to love life so much you can hardly breathe!

A fattened, more comprehensive and weezing approach will occur when I finish the Quartet.
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spectacular. These books are structured in such a complex way that as you peel away each layer you learn more about the whole. I'm going to be sad when I finish this quartet.
Sinem A.
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Bir yapıyı yavaş yavaş kurmak gibi ya da iyice derine dalmak gibi.. kalan iki kitabı da okumak isteği...
Roger Brunyate
May 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa
From Another Angle

Balthazar, the second novel in Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet, is a less daunting proposition than its predecessor, Justine. The author points out that the first three novels (these two plus Mountolive ) all overlap in time, looking at the same events from different perspectives; only the fourth book, Clea, is a true sequel. Nonetheless, it is essential to read Justine first; the greater clarity and expansiveness of Balthazar is possible only because the reader already
Nate D
Durrell occupies a strange position at the fulcrum of modernity. His style is often baroque and prone to exoticism (at first, he evokes 19th century British colonial literature above all else), but this volume, the second of his best known Alexandria Quartet, reveals more modern preoccupations besides. A perceptive character observes modern art's debt to theoretical physics, and so it is: the novel's tangle of disinterested and capricious love affairs (modern and age-old) shift and squirm in (qu ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Sep 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is the second book in Durrell's Alexandria Quartet, and I can't imagine reading it without reading Justine first. Even having read Justine not too long ago, I kept feeling a need to go back and re-read to try to fit Balthazar into the context of the first novel.

Interesting, new angles and information, and a demonstration of how perspective changes a story!
Mairita (Marii grāmatplaukts)
3,5 zvaigznes. Kāds pārsteigums - otrā kvarteta daļa ir krietni baudāmāka par pirmo, lai gan tieši šai anotācijā tiek uzsvērts filozofiskums.
"Baltazars" ir pilns ar noslēpumiem, daži tiek atklāti, ir vairāki līķi un pirmās daļas notikumi parādās citā gaismā. Aizraujoši! Neliku 4 zvaigznes tikai ar cerību, ka nākamā daļa ir vēl labāka.

Description: Balthazar, is the second volume of Durrell's The Alexandria Quartet, set in Alexandria, Egypt, during the 1940s. The events of each lush and sensuous novel are seen through the eyes of the central character L.G. Darley, who observes the interactions of his lovers, friends, and acquaintances. Balthazar, named for Darley's friend, a doctor and mystic, interprets Darley's views from a philosophical and intellectual viewpoint.

Dedication: To My Mother: these memorials to a forgotten cit
Simon Mcleish
Feb 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in June 2005.

The introduction to this novel, the second in the Alexandria Quartet, briefly explains one of the structural ideas behind the novels. I'm not sure of the extent to which this is meant to be tongue in cheek, because it is the sort of idea often found in satires of intellectual writers who don't understand much science. The explanation given for a quartet of novels the first three of which cover the same events from different perspectives is that t
Dec 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
What is Balthazar? It is certainly impossible to read without first devouring its 'sibling' Justine. The entire concept is that Balthazar - a supporting character from that book - read that book (the narrator Darley's memoirs) and is offering an annotation of them from a different point-of-view.

You could perhaps describe this book as a story about character, not plot, but that would be deceptive: the characters are the plot. The journeys they make, the changes of motivation and destination, the
Sep 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Simply the saddest, most beautiful re-telling of the events covered in Justine, yet with a richness that enhances the previous book and surpasses it.

It's full of charm and musings on love, loss, life and the familiar yet painful uncovering of news that you didn't want to hear. All the while it adds a depth and complexity to the overall narrative (of the Quartet) that builds an excitement about the coming two volumes.

Now I've finished the second book of the Quartet on my second reading I'm overj
أحمد أشــرف

"إني أرى بعينين جديدتين، من هذا الموقع المتميز للجزيرة، كل الأشياء في ثنائياتها، من تداخل الحقيقة بالوهم. تنتابني الدهشة ونا أعيد قراءة الحقيقية و إعادة صياغتها في ضوء كل ما أعرفه الآن.إن مشاعري ذاتها قد نمت و تبدلت بل و عمقت. إذن ربما كان تدمير إسكندريتي ضروريا ( إن العمل الفني الأصيل لا يبدي أبدا وجها مستويا). و ربما طمرت بذرة الحقيقة و مادتها فرقدت هناك في باطن كل هذا كحق من حقوق الزمن و هي ان استطعت أن أتوافق معها،ستقودني ق قليلا إلى ما هو حقا بحثا عن ذاتي كما يجب أن تكون."

الجزء الثاني يتفوق
Jun 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
إن صعوبة الإبحار في جوستين من شدة التعري النفسي تجعلك تتحسس أقدام عينيك و رأسك وأنت تولج لنص أخر له علاقة بشكل أو بأخر بنفس النص

يبدو النص أسهل في التنقل بين سطوره ولكن بعد تمعن تكتشف أنه ليس سهلا و لكنها روحك التي تعودت أسلوب الترجمة و التتشبيهات الشعرية القاسية. إن روعة هذه الرباعية في رأيي ليس أن اسمها رباعية الإسكندرية و تحمل منها و تصفها و ذلك لأنها تصف الإسكندرية بعين غير مصرية فربما لا نجد بين السطور سوى بعض اأسماء الأحياء التي نعرفها أما روح الإسكندرية التي تحوطنا ....حقيقة لم أجدها ...إن
Jun 19, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lily by: Summer I was 21
Shelves: read-2014
Not tonight. This second book in The Alexandria Quartet has to "soak" for awhile in this read of it again after many years. It didn't feel to me as if Balthazar tore apart the story of Justine with his "Interlinear" as much as the story suggests -- more just added depth and perspective to what was a perhaps a naive, infatuated, self-serving view. Stories of colorful and enigmatic secondary characters emerged here. Strangely, not sure I have a clear understanding of who Balthazar is as a char ...more
May 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: readers of 20th century literary fiction

This is the second volume of Lawrence Durrell's "Alexandria Quartet." He calls it not a sequel to Justine but a sibling. Balthazar was the mystic philosopher in Justine who brought many of the characters together in regular meetings for study of the Cabal and other writings.

In this version of the story, most of which is a letter from Balthazar to the writer of both novels, new light is shed on the relationships between the characters. I found it more readable and engaging than Justine. Durrel
Oct 03, 2013 added it
Shelves: british-fiction
I read Justine ages ago, like when I was 17, so I can't really comment on the comparison between it and Balthazar, but the book has a great many of the things I remember liking about Lawrence Durrell: his strong sense of place, and his writing style that reminds me of a lemon custard left out on an afternoon terrace, washed down with the last remnants of a gin and tonic that's now mostly ice melt.

Delicate, impressionistic, nearly plotless, and with a weird-as-hell carnival scene towards the end,
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No solo es una vuelta a la tuerca y una realidad alternativa y a la vez paralela de Justine, es un libro mucho más hermoso y entretenido que Justine. Se aclaran varios puntos oscuros de Justine, pero a la vez se abren otros. Las descripción de la ciudad, la atmósfera, el dibujo de los personajes es realmente fenomenal. Vale mucho la pena leerlo. Es increible que alguna vez el ser humano vivio de una forma y un lugar tan fascinante.
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If it's beautifully written misogyny does it become art?
I liked the first two volumes of the Alexandria quartet very much, and for two reasons. The characters are to me extremely interesting, and the setting of Alexandria is both exotic and romantic.
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Goodreads Librari...: Alternate book cover 10 17 Aug 07, 2014 03:47PM  

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Lawrence George 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 prolific career also included the groundbreaking Avignon Quintet, whose ...more

Other books in the series

Alexandria Quartet (4 books)
  • Justine (The Alexandria Quartet #1)
  • Mountolive (The Alexandria Quartet #3)
  • Clea (The Alexandria Quartet #4)
“Odd, isn't it? He really was the right man for her in a sort of way; but then as you know, it is a law of love that the so-called 'right' person always comes to soon or too late.” 44 likes
“Very few people realise that sex is a psychic and not a physical act. The clumsy coupling of human beings is simply a biological paraphrase of this truth - a primitive method of introducing minds to each other, engaging them. But most people are stuck in the physical aspect, unaware of the poetic rapport which it so clumsily tries to teach.” 35 likes
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