Bitter Lemons of Cyprus: Life on a Mediterranean Island by Lawrence Durrell

By Lawrence Durrell

One of a three-part sequence of Lawrence Durrell's writings.

In this quantity he explores the island of Cyprus, evoking the sun-drenched landscapes, stunning mild and bright blue skies of the Aegean.

In 1953, because the British Empire relaxes its grip upon the area, the island of Cyprus greenbacks for independence. a few cry for union with Athens, others for an association that might break up the island down the center, giving part to the Greeks and the remaining to the Turks. for hundreds of years, the conflict for the Mediterranean has been fought in this tiny spit of land, and now Cyprus threatens to tear itself in half.

Into this escalating clash steps Lawrence Durrell—poet, novelist, and a former British govt legit. After years serving the Crown within the Balkans, he yearns for a go back to the island way of life of his adolescence. With humor, grace, and satisfactory Greek, Durrell buys a home, secures a role, and settles in for quiet dwelling, chuffed to place up his ft until eventually the natives start to reflect on wringing his neck. greater than a go back and forth memoir, this is often a sublime photograph of island existence in a altering global.

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Sample text

As a consistent idler I decided to do nothing at all, particularly because there was in fact nothing that could be done beyond commending myself to the care of the Almighty. And so the fatal day came, in April, I believe, 1922. We all took our seats in the largest hall in the school, each on a separate bench so as to prevent cheating, and in deathly silence we were given the topic for our Polish essay. I wrote a lot and was quite pleased with myself. The real tragedy began the following day, when a sheet of paper appeared on my desk bearing a Latin text that was to be translated.

And solemn. These were the kinds of leaps I made between clownishness and gravity, between playing the fool and real suffering. And all the while I was unable to cope with the whole Polish farce, with that disequilibrium of ours. It was an ocean in which I was drowning; yet I also carried it within myself. From Rabka I made a brief excursion to Zakopane; one evening, entering Trzaska's or Karpowicz's, at a table in the depths of the restaurant I spotted a familiar face: Boy-Zeleriski! 44 Polish Memories I didn't know him personally, but I knew who he was: a writer, representing intelligence, talent, Europe.

The lady engineers and lady lawyers who visit from Poland still appear rather formal alongside the Argentinians with their easy ways, and their manner of expressing themselves is still marked by a mania for titles, though these are now bourgeois and bureaucratic rather than noble in character. When certain customs are on the wane, they succumb to a kind of sclerosis; they lose their living core, and what remains is merely the stiffness of "pure form," as Witkiewicz would have put it. Now, I found myself fascinated by this formalism.

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