Literary Arcadia Literature and other things

Vanished Alexandria

The first book in the Alexandria Quartet is entitled Justine.  It is not by a Justine, but it is about her- sort of.  The narrator is an Englishman living among other expats and natives in Alexandria, Egypt between the two World Wars.

The writing is rich and descriptive; the reader wades through the prose as the characters wade through the thick, humid Alexandrian air.  This book takes some time to get through, often making its readers stop to mull over certain sentences and phrases.  But, if you have ever wanted to travel to Egypt (as I do) then Mr. Durrell’s novel is essential- to feel the scorching breeze coming in from the desert as you walk along the ancient and famed harbor, hearing the muezzin’s call to prayer in the distance; all is real and alive in Justine.

The nameless narrator is recalling, through flashbacks and scenes that jump through time and from one character to another, his affair with the glamorous and enigmatic Justine.  The story comes together slowly, like pieces of an elaborate puzzle.

Apparently the story is told from several different perspectives throughout the first three books of the Quartet and all will be revealed only after reading all of them.  This may take awhile…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Post Navigation