Justine - Lawrence Durrell

I read this book towards the tail of last year, and originally planned to review all four books in the Alexandria Quartet at once. However, my reading's slowed down massively, so I thought I'd do each book separately, otherwise you'd be waiting forever. As a hint at how slowly I've been going, my reading was partly inspired by my trip to Egypt - in early 2004! So, a year and a half after a day-trip to Alexandria, I get to read one of its more famous pieces of literature.

So, well, it's a good book. Unsurprisingly. It's one of these books about people and their relationships and love and stuff, and so misses the kind of thing I normally read, but works well despite that. Lawrence Durrell being who he is, there's a certain feeling of smug navel-gazing going on. The characters are generally into their literature, and it does feel like he's showing off. Having said that, it's mostly very readable.

More specifically, I spent the start being drawn in, but partly just getting used to the book. It's slowly paced and fairly introspective there. The middle section drags on, and left me close to dropping the thing, but it really picks up towards the end, and concludes most effectively. It's almost as if he's dragging out non-events, then cramming in the events, creating something that's a bit of an exercise in suspense.

Posted 2006-02-02.