Balthazar (Alexandria Quartet)

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9780140153217: Balthazar (Alexandria Quartet)

The dazzling second volume of The Alexandria Quartet—an enthralling and deeply disturbing work of gorgeous surfaces and endless deceptions.

In Alexandra, in the years before the Second World War, an exiled Irish schoolteacher seeks to unravel his sexual obsession with two women: the tubercular café dancer, Melissa, and Justine, the alluring Jewish wife of a wealthy Coptic Christian. What emerges in his sessions with the psychiatrist Balthazar, however, is something far more complex—and unfathomably more sinister—than neurosis. Lawrence Durrell’s kaleidoscopic narrative ushers us into a world in which no perception is reliable—and love itself is always an act of treachery.

“Durrell is one of the very best novelists of our time. . . . He has a sensuous, vigorous style that I have not found equaled by any other novelist today. . . . A spontaneous, resourceful new beauty that any sensitive reader will almost certainly love.”—The New York Book Review

“It is difficult to sum up Balthazar; it will not be contained. It spills or slips away like smoke. The sheer writing is superb. . . . A wonderful book, a book to read many times.”—The Houston Post

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About the Author:

Lawrence Durrell was born in 1912 in India. He attended the Jesuit College at Darjeeling and St. Edmund's School, Canterbury. His first literary work, The Black Book, appeared in Paris in 1938. His first collection of poems, A Private Country, was published in 1943, followed by the three Island books: Prospero's Cell; Reflections on a Marine Venus, about Rhodes; and Bitter Lemons, his account of life in Cyprus. Durrell's wartime sojourn in Egypt led to his masterpiece, The Alexandria Quartet, which he completed in southern France, where he settled permanently in 1957. Between the quartet and The Avignon Quintet he wrote the two-decker Tunc and Nunquam. His oeuvre includes plays, a book of criticism, translations, travel writing, and humorous stories about the diplomatic corps. Caesar's Vast Ghost, his reflections on the history and culture of Provence, including a late flowering of poems, was published a few days before his death in Sommières in 1990.

From AudioFile:

[Editor's Note: The following is a combined review with JUSTINE, MOUNTOLIVE, and CLEA.]--The four linked novels that comprise English author Lawrence Durrell's masterpiece, THE ALEXANDRIA QUARTET, are set in Alexandria, Egypt, around the time of WWII. The four novels explore the city's polyglot society, full of intrigue, mystery, and sensuality, telling essentially the same story from different points of view. JUSTINE focuses on the beautiful Jewish wife of a wealthy Copt. Her story is told by Darley, her English lover. In BALTHAZAR, Darley reconsiders and retells the story he told in Justine, using information from a mysterious new character, Balthazar. In MOUNTOLIVE, as war begins to loom, British Ambassador David Mountolive enters the intrigues of the interwoven community of characters. In CLEA, Darley returns to a war-fevered Alexandria as the stories of the many characters move toward conclusion. Narrator Nigel Anthony provides a brilliant reading, keeping the variety of voices--English, French, Egyptian--distinct throughout. He offers a one-man play, conveying the passions, disappointments, and triumphs of the complex cast. The classical music interludes that delineate sections of this beautifully produced and packaged set help transport the listener to back- streets of Alexandria. R.E.K. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 1991. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reissue. Language: English . Brand New Book. The dazzling second volume of The Alexandria Quartet - and enthralling and deeply disturbing work of gorgeous surfaces and endless deceptions.In Alexandria in the years before the Second World War, an exiled Irish school teacher seeks to unravel his sexual obsession with two women: the tubercular cafe dancer, Melissa, and Justine, the alluring Jewish wife of a wealthy Coptic Christian. What emerges in his sessions with the psychiatrist Balthazar, however, is something far more complex - and unfathomably more sinister - than neurosis. Lawrence Durrell s kaleidoscopic narrative ushers us into a world in which no perception is reliable - and love itself is always an act of treachery. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780140153217

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 1991. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reissue. Language: English . Brand New Book. The dazzling second volume of The Alexandria Quartet - and enthralling and deeply disturbing work of gorgeous surfaces and endless deceptions.In Alexandria in the years before the Second World War, an exiled Irish school teacher seeks to unravel his sexual obsession with two women: the tubercular cafe dancer, Melissa, and Justine, the alluring Jewish wife of a wealthy Coptic Christian. What emerges in his sessions with the psychiatrist Balthazar, however, is something far more complex - and unfathomably more sinister - than neurosis. Lawrence Durrell s kaleidoscopic narrative ushers us into a world in which no perception is reliable - and love itself is always an act of treachery. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780140153217

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