[ilds] suburbia and hotels and death

Michael Haag michaelhaag at btinternet.com
Sun Jul 8 07:56:08 PDT 2007

It is not me but Durrell who brings us back to suburbia, as in the line 
quoted by Charles below.  This gallery of humours is the Dome Hotel in 
Kyrenia, 'like every forgotten Victorian pension between Folkestone and 
Scarborough'.  This hotel motif appears throughout Durrell.  It is the 
cosmos within which The Black Book operates, that is the Regina Hotel, 
based on the Queens Hotel in which the Durrell family lived for a while 
in suburban South London.  In Panic Spring there is another hotel from 
which the hero sets out on his journey; that one is at Brindisi and is 
called the Hotel Superbo.  And of course there is the Cecil Hotel at 
Alexandria, where people stay and people pass and people see one 
another in mirrors; for all its seeming exoticism, the Cecil is 
described as 'moribund': 'I had first seen her, in the gaunt vestibule 
of the Cecil, in a mirror. In the vestibule of this moribund hotel the 
palms splinter and refract their motionless fronds in the gilt-edged 
mirrors' (p65).  The Dome Hotel is the location at which Durrell 
chooses to tell us that he has a stake in neither the English nor the 
Cypriot world.  But he has already used this device to show us that he 
has no stake, or is trying hard to have no stake, in this tomblike 
world -- of which in fact he was so much a part throughout his younger 
life, including his very British experience of India.  But when he 
steps outside that world, the Cypriots will try to kill him.  Bitter 


On Sunday, July 8, 2007, at 12:16  pm, slighcl wrote:
> Here is a specific sentence to consider, a sentence that I have been 
> concentrating upon while making yet another summer trip, this time 
> into the wilds of the Cumberland Plateau:
> The truth is that both the British and the Cypriot world offered one a 
> gallery of humours which could only be fully enjoyed by one who, like 
> myself, had a stake in neither.  ("Voices at the Tavern Door")
> Readers, whatever your affiliation, affection, or affectation, go to 
> work on that sentence. 
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