20 July 2013

Judith; Lawrence Durrell

JudithJudith by Lawrence Durrell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Years ago (about 20, now that I think about it), a colleague recommended Justine, the first of the Alexandria Quartet by Durrell. I read it... and at that point I was a "clean plate" reader, so I slogged through the first 50 pages... the first 100 pages... but somewhere in the 150 range, I got it. Then I raced through to the end and grabbed the next three books. So when I saw Judith at BEA, I was thrilled.

Durrell was not Jewish, so that he was able to really convey the energy and conflict of life in was then Palestine under the British Mandate is pretty amazing. The people here are human: filled with failings, a sense of purpose, broken, driven, etc.. The only one we meet who isn't well rounded is Doud, but perhaps that might have changed. This isn't a truly complete book, in that Durrell didn't finish it. The impetus was his screenplay(s) for Hollywood, one of which turned into a movie starring Sophia Loren; this is a blend of that one and his original idea. There are some awkward word choices (the refrectory is always referred to as "gaunt") and phrasings, but I'm sure that had he edited this, it would have been up to his usual standard.

Copy provided by publisher.

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