Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Aimless Reading: The D's, Part 45 (Lawrence Durrell)


Justine
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Durrell, Lawrence
Justine


I am not sure where I bought this. Probably at East Village Books in New York. I have never read it, but I can remember why I bought it. After college I often used to wander around in bookstores trying to figure out stuff to read -- I knew what I was supposed to have read in terms of the British canon, but beyond that, I hadn't much of a clue. If I saw something often enough in bookstores I liked, I would make a mental note to read it.

I used to see the four novels of the Alexandria Quartet (this is the first) on the shelves of just about every bookstore in New York. It was always there and it was always nicely packaged and over time I began to get the notion -- purely judging by its cover -- that it was something I should read. One day I must have found it used and made the purchase. I think I may have tried to start reading it, but I never really got anywhere. I don't even know what it was about the packaging of the Quartet that made me think I should read it in the first place. Some marketing person somewhere must have been able to tap into that irrational part of my brain that told me it was important to have read this book. Like a drone, I followed the order.

From Justine

The sea is high again today, with a thrilling flush of wind. IN the midst of winter you can feel the inventions of Spring. A sky of hot nude pearl until midday, crickets in sheltered places, and now the wind unpacking the great planes, ransacking the great planes...I have escaped to this island with a few books and the child--Melissa's child. I do not know why I use the word "escape." The villagers say jokingly that only a sick man would choose such a remote place to rebuild, Well, then, I have come here to heal myself, if you like to put it that way...

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