Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cyprus - rich grounds for inspiration

Balthazar by Lawrence Durrell, 1958 (SOLD)

We recieved this book today. Besides being blown away by the fabulous sixties design of the cover, Durrell's time spent living in Cyprus got us thinking about other authors to whom the island was either a motivational or inspirational space. Let's talk about Durrell first.
Durrell moved to Cyprus in 1952. The Durrell family's relationship with the Mediterranean was already well established from their years on Corfu (see Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals - a must-read for kids and adults alike). Durrell moved to Cyprus to write, but found himself working again for the British government in public relations. In the end, perserverance paid off. After publishing Bitter Lemons, the alternatively comic and serious, but nonetheless charming, portrayal of Cyprus and its people, Durrell started what has become known as his most famous and highest regarded work - The Alexandria Quartet, to which Balthazar (above) belongs.
"The lush and sensuous tetralogy, which consists of Justine (1957), Balthazar (1958), Mountolive (1958), and Clea (1960), is set in Alexandria, Egypt, during the 1940s. Three of the books are written in the first person, Mountolive in the third. The first three volumes describe, from different viewpoints, a series of events in Alexandria before World War II; the fourth carries the story forward into the war years. The events of the narrative are mostly seen through the eyes of one L.G. Darley, who observes the interactions of his lovers, friends, and acquaintances in Alexandria. In Justine, Darley attempts to recover from and understand his recently ended affair with Justine Hosnani. Reviewing various papers and examining his memories, he reads the events of his recent past in romantic terms. Balthazar, named for Darley's friend, a doctor and mystic, reinterprets Darley's views from a philosophical and intellectual point of view. The third novel is a straightforward narrative of events, and Clea, volume four, reveals Darley healing, maturing, and becoming capable of loving Clea Montis, a painter and the woman for whom he was destined. -- The Merriam-Webster Encylopedia of Literature ".
Buy the Alexandria Quartet - Justine, Balthazar, Mountolive, Clea - from Moufflon by either sending us an email or contacting us through our website.

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