Balthazar: A Novel

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Dutton, 1958 - Fiction - 250 pages
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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DinadansFriend - LibraryThing

The Alexandria quartet is a wonderful short course in the ways in which a writer can play with all the conventions of the narrative art. "Balthazar" was my second encounter with the set, and really ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jonfaith - LibraryThing

I am just a refugee from the long slow toothache of English life. It is terrible to love life so much you can hardly breathe! A fattened, more comprehensive and weezing approach will occur when I finish the Quartet. Read full review

Contents

I
13
II
24
III
45
Copyright

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About the author (1958)

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.

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