The Lawrence Durrell Travel ReaderPosted: May 11, 2016
I read Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet during my Claremont cockroach days of the mid-1970s. It is a beautifully written set of four novels that tells the same story from four different perspectives. Around that same time I read a bit of Durrell’s other work, but not much. When I saw that this book was briefly on sale for $1.99 it was a no-brainer, especially since I was between books at the time.
Durrell was stationed in Alexandria with the British army at the end of World War II. From there he was sent to the island of Corfu as a press officer. After that he lived on various islands in the Mediterranean while with the military and then as a civilian. This book is a compilation drawn from various autobiographical books of his experiences on those islands, as well as a few essays written much later. The book is organized by geographical location, with sections on Corfu, Rhodes, Cyprus, and Sicily.
Durrell does a great job of providing a vivid picture of the people and landscape of the islands. For the most part it’s not travel writing because he is writing about the places he lived. But enjoyable writing it is, and if you enjoy travel writing you will enjoy Durrell’s “place” writing, as he calls it.