Sean Gainford's Reviews > The Alexandria Quartet

The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell
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's review
Aug 11, 2009

did not like it

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 the great winepress of love; those who emerged from it were the sick men, the solitaries, the prophets - I mean all who have bee deeply wounded in the sex.'

'Empty cadences of sea-water licking its own wounds, sulking along the mouths of the delta, boiling upon those deserted beaches - empty, forever empty under the gulls: white scribble on the grey, munched by clouds. If there are ever sails here they die before the land shadows them. Wreckage washed up on the pediments of islands, the last crust, eroded by the weather, stuck in the blue maw of water ... gone!'

'Our common actions in reality are simply the sackcloth covering which hides the cloth-of-gold - the meaning of the pattern. For us artists there waits the joyous compromise through art with all that wounded or defeated us in daily life; in this way, not to invade destiny, as the ordinary people try to do, but to fulfil it in its true potential - the imagination.'

'Days became simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time, of acting, of living out the topical ... a tide of meaningless affairs nosing along the dead level of things, entering no climate, leading us nowhere, demanding of us nothing save the impossible - that we should be. Justine would say that we had been trapped in the projection of a will too powerful and too deliberate to be human - the gravitational field which Alexandria threw down about those it had chosen as its exemplars ...'

This book goes on and on like this. Supposedly this Lawrence Durrell fellow was not a very good poet. So it seems like he wrote a novel instead, however this was only a disguise, for he has infiltrated his bad poetry into his novel. Then readers would be tricked, thinking they were reading a novel but really they were just reading his bad poetry again. I'm not fooled though. I see his bad poetry, and now see his bad prose.

I refuse to read more then twenty pages of this book, and even that was too much.

A pretentious piece of work.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
August 1, 2009 – Finished Reading
August 11, 2009 – Shelved

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Garrick Well I think you have it wrong you see Durrell as the Narrator but it is more disingenuous Voice who is setting a disagreeably decadent and romantic portrait.So that the reader having fallen for the fate of the characters might find him out as outrageously pretentiously literary as novelist.But as has own character a bit of romantic Sap and naive at every turn.It perhaps tries to do to much, but maybe I am not prepared to do so much.I disagree with you.

Garrick He is disingenuous and he says I am disingenuous and because its so elaborate about a characters opinion and a young author at that.

message 3: by Megan (new)

Megan This. I fond the flowery prose very irritating. I'm sure they are great books, but I couldn't get over the annoying, flowery prose.

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