That time has come, perhaps??

Discussion in 'Hydration, Hygiene & Health' started by Fair Weather Camper, Sep 3, 2018.

  1. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    Good tip, though I read them in the wrong order. Apart from the last book they are the same period seen from different perspectives.
    Balthazar struck my sentimental heart string as I read it from the library of books my mother left in Italy when she left my father, I read it in the warm nights staying at my aunt's villa on the Salerno coast so kind of fitted the beginning of the book.
    Amazed so many people on here know the books, they seem very much of another time to me.
    WilliamC likes this.
  2. WilliamC

    WilliamC Thru Hiker

    I, too, read them in the wrong order. I started with Mountolive (bought from a kiosk in Athens and it eventually led me to live in Egypt for five years) but then read them in order. Perhaps it doesn't matter if you read Justine or Balthazar first, though I suspect Mountolive is best left until after them - it's third person narrative (IIRC) giving it a feeling of objectivity. And Clea left until last.
    Bitter Lemons includes some great comedy in Durrell's account of his experiences teaching in Cyprus.
    Perhaps that was part of the attraction to me, even back in the 80s. And there were still remnants of those days clinging on in Alexandria in places such as Pastroudis, the Trianon and the Cecil Hotel.
  3. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    I visited Alexandria for just a few hours back in 1985 - I've been promising myself a proper trip back ever since - tho' I suspect it's changed a lot since.
    It had an atmosphere quite different to the rest of Egypt - a strong "Mediteranean" influence.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
    WilliamC likes this.
  4. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    Envious of you both, especially William, 5 years must have been an experience!
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  5. Bmblbzzz

    Bmblbzzz Backpacker

    Durrell describes Balthazar as "a sibling, not a sequel, to Justine".
  6. WilliamC

    WilliamC Thru Hiker

    The first three books in the quartet cover the same time frame, so they aren't technically sequels.
    Indeed. We'd often go up for a weekend to get a change from Cairo. By coincidence, 1985 was the year I first visited Alexandria.
    It certainly was - and not just because we got married there :)
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  7. Bmblbzzz

    Bmblbzzz Backpacker

    So I picked up Justine from the library – and judging by what I've thread so far, picking her up in a library was a good beginning – and within the first couple of pages I found two sentences which really made me stop and think.
    He doesn't tell us whether meidan is a Greek or Arabic (presumably Arabic) but it clearly means an open square of some sort; exactly what is called a maidan in India (often historically used as a parade ground). And the same word occurs in Slavic languages, where it refers to a clearing in a wood. In fact, this is also related to our meadow. The puzzle is how it got into Arabic, which is not an Indo-European language? But I love these word connections. (The answer is that it was apparently a Persian word, so having linguistic roots common to Hindi, Slavic languages, etc, and cultural links to the Arab world.)

    In a book written at least ten years before I was born, how has he managed to model a character on me? :o o:

    But what really impresses me is his use of metaphor.
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  8. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Think I should re-read them ….. I think I might be old enough now to appreciate them properly :whistling:
    WilliamC likes this.
  9. Bmblbzzz

    Bmblbzzz Backpacker

    My last post was really rather a digression within a digression. Sorry for the thread derailment!
  10. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    I for one enjoyed it!

    Anyone else raise an eyebrow when he says the main character isn't autobiographical?

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