[ilds] Bitter Lemons pp 21 and 35

Michael Haag michaelhaag at btinternet.com
Sat Jul 7 05:38:33 PDT 2007

A couple of things that have caught my eye in these opening pages of 
Bitter Lemons (page numbers refer to the earlier hardback and paperback 
editions, not the newest small format mass paperback):

1) p21, Towards an Eastern Landfall: 'I picked Mrs Lewis off an 
overturned bookstall in Trieste.  There had been a riot after a 
bomb-throwing, and I was hurrying back to my hotel from the 
observation-ward of the hospital'.

A remarkably packed sentence, full of biographical hintings about which 
one could write a book.  Madness past and future, and the sensible Mrs 

2) p35, Voices at the Tavern Door: 'But are these choking suburbanisms 
with which we seem infused when we are abroad any worse than the 
tireless dissimulation and insincerity of the Mediterranean way of 
life?  I doubt it'.

Again Durrell not quite repudiating the very type of Englishness he 
usually so loathes.  No doubt, he says, a few lines above this, Malta 
and Gibraltar have similar colonies; though it is also the suburbanism 
of South London where Durrell grew up, and the suburbanism of much of 
British Indian life.  Here Durrell is being tender enough towards it, 
and towards his British readers, as we face the outrages and madness 
and the bitter lemons that lie ahead.


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