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By (author) Lawrence Durrell
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Faber & Faber, London, United Kingdom
Published: 31st Mar 1968
Dimensions: w 140mm h 200mm
ISBN-10: 0571084281
ISBN-13: 9780571084289
Barcode No: 9780571084289

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Kirkus US
Durrell has a unique gift for the pearly sentence floating in a deep sea of philosophic melodrama. He has a kaleidoscopic mind, an eye for the perverse and exotic in the human comedy. His talents are really poetic: The Alexandria Quartet is a masterpiece of atmospheric moods and mysterious resolutions, where the ill-defined characters, hybrids out of Proust and Maugham, become fascinating through the sheer incantatory appeal of Durrell's style. Tunc, the first of a newly. projected series, relies too heavily on novelistic means: the descriptions of Athens are jaunty but matter-of-fact, the plots criss-cross round a gigantic international "firm" called Merlin (somewhat like a spectre in the Bond dream World), and the narrator, an idealistic inventor Who succumbs to materialism, affects a tinny cynicism (angry young man) in the first few chapters, then an increasingly flavorless, almost passive, rhetoric in what follows. As the controlling consciousness he neither enlivens nor adds allegorical weight. The Faustian theme is more apparent in the other characters: Iolanthe who rises from the red light district to the beautiful emptiness of Hollywood, the mephitic Julian, the degenerate clown Sipple, and the narrator's Wife, a self-torturing femme fatale and the daughter of the head of Merlin. Durrell is inventive, witty, thoughtful, giving a chic ambiguous touch and some dazzling dramatic sketches to an obviously contrived, unfelt, and fluctuating tour de force. (Kirkus Reviews)