The conversation about the Alexandria Quartet has been so fascinating this month that I’m reluctant to bring it to a close. You’ve probably heard enough from me, but there’s far more to discuss in the books than the few strands I’ve hit upon. So I’m thinking it might be fun to have an open thread where we can discuss anything and everything – and without fear of spoilers for those who haven’t unearthed the final revelations in Clea.
We shall here assume that we’ve all reached the end of the books.
And there’s so much more to talk about. We’ve barely talked about Capodistria’s teeth, for instance. Or Balthazar’s hair. Or Narouz’s lip.
We haven’t talked about religion. And even though we’ve had a good look at Alexandria thanks to Michael Haag’s evocative photographs, there’s a great deal more to say about how the city acts as a character in the books – not to mention the fact that it is both real and unreal …
There’s also the thorny issue of what we make of the author behind all these divergent narratives.
Dylanwolf wrote: “But all the same I’m not sure I’d agree with Lawrence Durrell’s politics (merely on the basis of the content of these novels that is – I have no idea what his actual political views are).”
Perhaps, as BillyMills suggested, it’s best to leave the author out of it. It would possibly be a mistake to conclude anything about his politics or personal views from the books. But that in itself is something to debate.
Equally, there are many other political discussions to be had. It is worth noting that in the New York Times Miranda Seymour once characterised the quartet as “the British Empire’s last gasp”. Could we also raise the spectre of Edward Said and orientalism?
Source : guardian.co.uk