[ilds] Fermor and Durrell

Denise Tart & David Green dtart at bigpond.net.au
Sat Jun 14 19:00:26 PDT 2014


Cooper might suggest that  Fermor was compensating for a sense of inadequacy. But also he was a good boxer and probably enjoyed fighting. He certainly liked drinking and, as me old gaffer used to say, there is a fight in every bottle. Few writers describe themselves as they truly are, except maybe Bukowski who said his stories and poems were 90 percent true and ten percent embellishment.


Sent from my iPad

> On 15 Jun 2014, at 12:09 am, Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net> wrote:
> David, well said.  This is also my view of Durrell the man and artist.  The next thing is to ask, what was wrong with him?
> Bruce
> Sent from my iPhone
>> On Jun 13, 2014, at 8:44 PM, "Denise Tart & David Green" <dtart at bigpond.net.au> wrote:
>> I have been sitting for some time, looking at the browning leaves against the grey sky and it came to me that Leigh Fermor, who was a vast, life force character, wrote the way he was as a person; the outer man was the writing. Paddy stopped writing when he was too old to live that outer life (stay with me here). Durrell did not write the way he outwardly appeared - ebullient, life of the party etc, ladies man, but his writing comes from, as Bowker so truly states, from the darker self, a different Durrell; gothic, tunnels of darkness (think the bat cave story that Fermor relates) leading some times to sunlit uplands (the Dark Labyrinth) or often not (Av Q) - themes of suicide, wounded sex and so forth
>> the Darkness of Durrell's self hit some wives, bullied a daughter and her friends  but this does appear his fiction, carefully constructed. I see often a quiet, brooding man, at his desk at 4 am, maybe hung-over, coming to terms with the mess of life but twisting it all into a labyrinthine construct - especially in the big books, but the island ones as well in the sense that, though full of inexpressible charm, they are quiet reflective and very poetic pieces, especially Prospero's and Venus; in Cyprus of course the lemons turn bitter indeed. I understand why Lazza wanted to be remembered as a poet (well, he said this) because he is, as Shakespeare was, a poet in prose. Paddy Fermor comes across as a restless soul on good terms with himself and the world. Larry, but contrast, a boon companion but someone who never came to terms with himself (his demons if you like) and writing and Buddhism and alcohol were all ways of dealing with this.
>> I read in Artemis Cooper's biography that Fermor got involved in a great drunken brawl one Christmas in Ireland where even the women got involved. Fermor got knocked out, had his head cut open by a woman's ring fingered punch, went to hospital and in true upper class style, thought nothing of it. One cannot imagine this happening to Larry - the arm chair travel writer whose violence seems to have extended to people (women) weaker than himself.
>> None of this detracts from my view of Larry. He said he was not really a travel writer but lived in places and wrote about them. Years ago I lived in Maine USA and spent most of my time there when some thought I should be 'seeing the USA' - but I know Maine - there are streams and lakes and people and customs and ways of speaking and jokes and beers that I will never forget and also a 1968 Pontiac Catalina 6.6 litre V8 coupe convertable.
>> Cooper's book on Fermor is a good read and Larry crops up a few times.
>> David
>> 16 William Street
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