Travel writing “as luminous as the Mediterranean air” from the acclaimed author of the Alexandria Quartet, who is featured in PBS’s The Durrells in Corfu (Time).
Born in India, acclaimed British novelist and poet Lawrence Durrell lived in Corfu as a young man, enjoying salt air, cobalt water, and an unfettered bohemian lifestyle, along with his brother, Gerald, who would also go on to be a writer and a naturalist. Their real-life family is portrayed in the PBS Masterpiece production, The Durrells in Corfu. Over the following decades, he rambled around the Mediterranean, making homes in Egypt, Cyprus, and Greece, always bringing his poet’s eye to document his experiences.
Blue Thirst: In the first of a pair of lectures, given during a 1970s visit to California, Durrell recalls his family’s time living on the Greek island of Corfu, expanding on his eloquent memoir, Prospero’s Cell. When the Second World War came to the Mediterranean, Durrell was swept into diplomatic service, an adventure he vividly recounts in his powerful second lecture.
“[Durrell’s] travel books arrive like long letters from a civilized and very funny friend.” —Time
Sicilian Carousel: For years, Durrell’s friend Martine had begged him to visit her on the sun-kissed paradise of Sicily, but it took her sudden death to finally bring him to the island’s shores. With Martine’s letters in his pocket, Durrell treks from sight to sight, dizzy with history and culture, and finds haunting echoes of his past lives in Rhodes, Cyprus, and Corfu.
“Elegant . . . wonderful.” —Time
Bitter Lemons of Cyprus: Against the backdrop of the push for independence on Cyprus in the early 1950s, the poet, novelist, and former British government official buys a house, secures a job, and settles in, yearning for a return to the island lifestyle of his youth. Winner of the Duff Cooper Prize, this memoir is an elegant picture of island life in a changing world.
“Brilliant depth of language . . . gathering slowly from the lighter delightful pages to its lost and questioning end. Never for a moment does [Durrell] lose the poet’s touch.” —The New York Times