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Re-reading Lawrence Durrell

Bondi Beach

From a reader's review of the Alexandria Quartet:

"Style: Durrell is a wonderful wordsmith. Some of his sentences will stay with you for a long time. And he paints vivid word pictures of Alexandria. But that is also a problem: he paints, and paints, and paints. (Emphasis added.) After a while, even readers who much prefer character-driven fiction to slam-bang potboilers will long fervently for something to happen."

The first time I read the four novels I didn't understand a thing; the last time I read them (about the 6th or 8th reading) I thought it was totally purple prose. With the current "Durrells in Corfu" or whatever the series is called on Masterpiece Theatre I thought I'd haul it out one more time. (Great visuals on TV.)

I'd say my re-readings of something are about 50-50 whether it's better or worse (for whatever reason) than the first time. I'm factoring out differences in perspective between something read as a teenager and something read as an adult.

What's the score for others? Or does anyone else re-read novels?

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Replies:   ustourist
ustourist

@Bondi Beach

I have a good enough memory to generally be able to remember most of the plot, so re-reading is usually a let down.
However, I find some authors are readable many times, and would include Donald Hamilton, CS Lewis and Gerald Durrell among that group. Never having managed to get more than half way through Lawrence Durrell, it probably wouldn't classify as re-reading if I tried again, but since I am not into masochism, I won't try.
BTW. There are also a few authors on SOL that I enjoy re-reading, and would rate some far higher than authors of so called 'best sellers'.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach

@ustourist

However, I find some authors are readable many times, and would include Donald Hamilton, CS Lewis and Gerald Durrell among that group.


I love the opening paragraph of Hamilton's first Matt Helm, Death of a Citizen. It's packed with information and hooks for the rest of the story.

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