Set amid the corrupt glamour and multiplying intrigues of Alexandria, Egypt, in the 1930s and 1940s, the novels of Durrell's Alexandria Quartet (of which this is the first) follow the shifting alliances - sexual, cultural, and political - of a group of quite varied characters.
In Justine, an English schoolmaster and struggling writer falls in love with a beautiful and mysterious Jewish woman who is married to a wealthy Egyptian.
Listen to all four novels in The Alexandria Quartet.
©1957 Lawrence Durrell (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
"[Justine] demands comparison with the very best novels of our century." (The New York Times Book Review)
No. Sadly, I didn't care for the reader. I wish for every reader of great literary fiction to revel in his prose.
Justine is one of four sibling novels in The Alexandria Quartet. All are worth a read, as are his other works.
The narrator is an excellent reader of poetry. But for a novel, his eloquence was a distraction. I found it impossible to listen to. I would really like to listen to this novel, but with a straightforward reading. I know that Durrell's work is great literature, but I don't need every other word to be pronounced with deliberate poignance.
Impossible to pick from one sentence more beautiful than another, but here's one:
“These are the moments which are not calculable, and cannot be assessed in words; they live on in the solution of memory, like wonderful creatures, unique of their own kind, dredged up from the floors of some unexplored ocean.”
...by the reader. The Alexandria Quartet is a fascinating series of novels, and could have been a delightful listen. But the reader is simply atrocious -- affects such mannered voices for all characters that he spoils the prose. For instance, the voice of beautiful, young Justine sounds like an eighty-year-old woman who has smoked all her life. It would be wonderful if Audible would get these books by another reader.
The dramatization (i.e. the narrator doing 'voices') is so extremely melodramatic ??and annoying that it distracts from the story. ??This is a great book, I cannot recommend this audio version solely because of the narration. ??I hope Audible obtains a different unabridged version of this book with a different narrator.??
This is a review of the audio book and not the book
itself. For a review of the book I recommend
'Amazon' book reviews.
Having read the book a couple of times, building an
image in my own mind of the voices of the
character's, I believe the narrator Jack Klaff does
a wonderful job of a very difficult project. It must
be remembered that in Justine, Scobie, Mellisa,
Balthazar, Pursewarden, and Clea, Mr Kalff is
interpreting the voices of some of the 20th
century's greatest fictional characters. Expecting
one man to get all of them exactly how you think
they would have spoken is impossible. Well done, a
brilliant audio book.
I loved these books when I first read them almost 20 years ago. I was going to re-read them, but couldn't quite get going, so why not listen to them. Then Audible didn't have them available for a long time. When I finally got them, I was really excited to relive the atmosphere in these books with the luxury of having someone read them to me! Maybe that was the problem.
The voice is so dreary and posh, not what I had felt when I read the books. The writing of Durell is already quite self-loving and indulgent and this reading just made the whole thing even more so. Jack Klaff also made Melisa sound like and old, ugly, bearded Egyptian woman, which was very off-putting.
Sorry, but I can not recommend these long awaited audiobooks of the Alexandria Quartet.
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