[ilds] She was reading Justine that spring

slighcl slighcl at wfu.edu
Wed Apr 30 09:28:46 PDT 2008

Olga Broumas
[excerpted from /Black Holes/, /Black Stockings/ (1985)]


She was reading /Justine  /that spring, and slowly, as she began to
stop fantasizing the manner in which her success would come to
her, understood Durrell marking insecurity a haunting quality.
Slowly because unpracticed; carefully, in that she saw how even a
great artist who postulates a narrator different from himself
reveals a political faux pas; she knew Justine had been overly
prized for her shrewdness---not by possessing it but by manip-
ulating her lack. She was becoming the woman she wanted to
know. Was proud; did not cling to it. Braided in the Swedish
style her hair revealed a specific great beauty; circled by thick
coils, she became surprisingly boyish; was not, was languid and
controlled; passionate slowly like her reading, thorough, light.
Under the fig tree, which gave out onto a ridge of pine and
olive, you photographed her self-consciousness and then, finally,
directly, her gaze, large, Mediterranean dark, blue. Without
birds, without their whistling over the music of the creek, though
she laughed like a flute none would have caught it, clung to it,
played it back much later in other southern but never so fair, fair
even but never so perfumed, countries.


Charles L. Sligh
Department of English
Wake Forest University
slighcl at wfu.edu

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