[ilds] durrell and the duck shoot

csligh Charles-Sligh at utc.edu
Mon Sep 22 16:24:45 PDT 2008

william godshalk wrote:
> Charlie writes:
>> *No, this is not a murder-ballad, but it is that curious 
>> ending-before-the ending of /Justine/.
>> *
> Yes, it is. When I think of the ending of /Justine/, I think of the 
> duck shoot. But of course the duck shoot is far from the end of the 
> novel. Perhaps we could say that the novel ends not with a bang (so to 
> speak) but a whimper.
There it is.  What happens in Part 4 of /Justine/ works like a first run 
at the storytelling technique of /Balthazar/.  In both cases, it seems 
that Darley has chosen to go elsewhere and start something else--first, 
in Part 4 of /Justine/, to Upper Egypt; second, in /Balthazar/, to the 
Island--but he comes right back whatever the case. 

If I was going to look into the notebooks for more ready evidence for 
Michael Haag's working theories about what Durrell had in mind when he 
wrote /Justine/ versus how Durrell retrospectively played up the 
masterful preconceived architecture of the /Quartet/, I would look to 
how Part 4 sits so oddly at the end. 

Consider it this way:  Part 4 is the first run or testing ground for the 
sequel or sibling works.  Then "Justine II" grows legs and walks and 
teaches its writer to call it by the name /Balthazar/--and 
lo!--something new has been achieved.

The undertow effect--what seems like forward momentum is really sand 
sliding back from under the feet of the narrator.

So how about trying the "archaeological" technique, Bill, which I 
learned from Walter Pater and Jorge Luis Borges:

What if /Justine/ had appeared with only the Duck Shoot and its 
paragraph or two of aftermath? 

What if we readers somehow lost all the rest and that was the extant 
shape of the shard--Parts 1 - 3 alone--no workpoints or data of any 

What would be the impression created for you, Bill, if it all ended with 
the sirens of doom whooping and wailing and the query about "enough time"?

 From the opening of the book with its greasy reflection to the 
paragraph that greasily reflects that opening paragraph. . . . .  You 
can still see the vestiges of the old "Justine", the cicatrix of the old 
pattern still lingering there in the strata. . . .

What then?

I have addressed these questions to Bill because I can locate him.  But 
anyone else should feel free to try the query.


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