June 25, 2012

Durrell Revival?

Peter Pomerantsev in Newsweek has an article on Lawrence Durrell, arguing that he's "the most important 20th-century novelist for a 21st-century reader." Is this the beginning of a Durrell revival? Hope so. Here's more:

"The city at the center of his masterpiece, The Alexandria Quartet, is the prototype of the global village, of the smudged meta-city we increasingly inhabit. Published between 1957 and 1960, the Quartet is a series of interlinked novels set in Alexandria preceding and during World War II, but it’s uncanny how its political disorder anticipates our own. The Alexandria of the Quartet is run with an ever-weaker hand by Western powers losing their will to rule, and is ever-more dominated by ambitious but corrupt emerging nations, influenced by deracinated tycoon financiers, stirred on the streets by Islamic “nightmare-mystics, shooting out the thunderbolts of hypnotic personality.” The state of Israel, off-stage but central to the plot, divides loyalties to the point of death and tragedy. The Quartet is an exceptional political thriller: imagine John Grisham rewritten by Joyce."

He concludes: "The world is finally catching up with Lawrence Durrell. We are all Alexandrians now."


  1. AnonymousJuly 04, 2012

    yes, this makes me want to read it. I have to admit that I haven't read any Lawrence Durrell. To me, he is still Gerry Durrell's older eccentric brother:) I grew up reading Gerald Durrell's zoological novels, and especially loved his series of books describing his teenage years on Corfu, with his family.

  2. Oh, I think you'd adore Justine, Elizaveta. Gerald Durrell's books are entertaining, but Larry was a vastly better writer.