Lawrence Durrell: The Black Book


The latest addition to my website is Lawrence Durrell‘s The Black Book. This was Durrell’s first novel, written when he was twenty-two and published in France when he was twenty-four (it was considered too obscene to be published unexpurgated in England). It has some of the hallmarks of a first novel by a twenty-two year old, in particular its over-flowery language. It tells the story of Lawrence Lucifer, Durrell’s alter ego, who has lived in a somewhat seedy residential hotel in South-East London and tells his story but also quotes from the diary of Herbert Gregory (who nicknames himself Death), who also lived there. Gregory, an intellectual who marries a poor prostitute with tuberculosis and the other residents are all examined, while Lawrence ruminates on his own life, now in Corfu, like his creator. The best that can be said is that it is an interesting failure.

2 thoughts on “Lawrence Durrell: The Black Book”

  1. Has no-one pointed out to you that The Black Book was Durrell’s THIRD novel, preceded by Pied Piper of Lovers and Panic Spring?


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