[ilds] Olive Trees

Denise Tart & David Green dtart at bigpond.net.au
Sat Oct 17 18:48:45 PDT 2009

Charles wrote: I am especially impressed that Durrell can convince me of 
something by the end, and that I actually feel something bittersweet as we 
take our goodbyes of characters who may or may not be "real."  A conjurer's 
art book, indeed.


There is a pattern of Durrell's books beginning with personal journeys and 
becoming something wider and more complex. I am thinking of the three 
classic island books and also the Avignon Quintet which begins with a 
journey from Paris to Provence, a journey I imagine that Lawrence took 
several times. So we start with a stream that becomes a river that, 
sometimes, becomes a sea with many currents. I think LD was very consciously 
a conjurer (Prospero) and very good one. We are moved by the process and, if 
we were not moved by something in the end, then Durrell would be a crap 
writer and doubtless not subject to so much interest and discussion. He 
journeys, his characters journey, we journey; good writing.

But when think of that section in Prospero's Cell which I mentioned earlier, 
I am conscious of something Wildean; the dialoque not really reflecting the 
character but the author. I sometimes find LD's dialoque owing more to the 
classics than to the moderns, quite shakespearean at time - which should 
come as no surprise.


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