[ilds] Fw: Lawrence Durrell

Richard Pine richardpin at eircom.net
Wed Aug 29 11:40:03 PDT 2007

I'd like to share a quite passionate missive from a former colleague in the Irish national broadcaster who just mailed me out of the blue - as a general reader coming, as he says, late to LD, and thru his 'travel' books, he sets a tone that I find very encourageing - and of course, the query about Sebald vis-a-vis LD.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: Kehoe Paddy 
To: richardpin at eircom.net 
Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2007 5:23 PM
Subject: Lawrence Durrell



A colleague (or former colleague) of yours here, 

Paddy Kehoe at the RTE GUIDE. 


I have recently read three of the best books I have ever read (and I have been reading quite a bit since I was 17 or so - and I am now 51) namely, Prospero's Cell, Reflections in a Marine venus and Bitter Lemons of Cyprus. 


As you can see, I have taken my time in discovering Durrell, but family holidays (twice) in Corfu over the past two summers have inevitably led me to him.


 I have yet to read the Alexandria Quartet but have just begun Tunc, which I believe I may find more challenging than the travel books(said he discreetly. Perhaps not the place to start?)


Anyway, Durrelll's wonderful blend of lore, myth, literature sources and painterly almost magical depiction of character and landscape has really impressed me, and his ability to attain a kind of somnolent tranquility in prose. 


Forever he seems to be challenging ways of seeing and reading character and scene. 


He is like a good teacher or a journalist intent on making you see something differently, but doing it without any belaboured leaning on the reader.


The final chapter in Bitter Lemons and the final chapter in Prospero's Cell really bring home his striking humanity too, akin in ways to that evoked in Forster's Passage to India. 


I do wonder too why if WG Sebald can be so fashionable (and so great too obviously)  that Lawrence Durrell isn't mentioned as much in dispatches nowadays, not that this matters very much - there is kinship there in terms of approach between both writers, though probably unwitting. They do have shared interests though, they are similar reflective spirits, going their own joyous and melancholy road. 


Is there any film of Lawrencwe Durrell that can be seen on the web? 

I do believe there are two filmed documentaries in existence. Just thought I would check. Sometime too I do want to read Bowker's or McNieve's biography. 

Anyway, do understand that I am a novice - haven't even read Gerald yet. 


I suspect, perhaps wrongly, that in the three travel books I have probably already read what I will find the most appealing in the ouevre, (which may be a hasty thing to say before I get my hands on Justine.) 


All the best to you Richard



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