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The black book : a novel by Lawrence Durrell
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The black book : a novel (original 1938; edition 1977)

by Lawrence Durrell

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488742,704 (3.4)21
First published in Paris in 1938, Durrell's third novel is the story, told from the inside, of the lives and loves of a group of struggling writers and artists in a seedy London hotel. Controversial at the time because of its sexual frankness, the book was finally published in its complete form only through the efforts of Henry Miller.… (more)
Member:ItaliaWatkins
Title:The black book : a novel
Authors:Lawrence Durrell
Info:London : Faber, 1977.
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The Black Book by Lawrence Durrell (1938)

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» See also 21 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
I found Lawrence's prose to be utterly immersing, initially I only got so far into it and then had to start again as so dense is [b:the painted word|2671|The Painted Word|Tom Wolfe|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1161129102s/2671.jpg|6617] used by Lawrence that I found myself losing track, or smudged in. However the second attempt from scratch was continuous and I gave up noting words down to look up in the dictionary as Lawrence tends to fill entire sentences with wonderful words for the job that although not knowing half the meanings, I got the picture.

The story is wonderfully crass, filled with anti-erotica, kind of like if Tom Sharpe was to have written À rebours. The characters, especially Tarquin are sublime, although Gregory Death came and went losing me a bit, I never quite knew where Gregory Death stood in relation to Lawrence Lucifer - the rest were fine such as Lobo, Gracie, Clare, and Perez, but because Gregory and Lawrence were the only characters to speak in the first person I stumbled along their relationship to each other.

It is said that Lawrence felt this book to be the first time he "found his voice" and at 24 you can only imagine what that must have felt like, but Lawrence himself felt the book to be somewhat "green", I can understand that, some of the symbolic metaphors and references to obvious external influences in literature and culture were clearly the same as any artist has when cutting his teeth in the world of expression and self.

All in all, I will read this book again, no doubts about it. I have Lawrence's novel "Bitter Lemons" to look forward to but I don't think I'll read "The Alexandria Quartet", I certainly have an interest in reading Lawrence's brother's book "My family and other animals" which is the same account of one of Lawrence's novels, I forget the name of right now.


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  RupertOwen | Apr 27, 2021 |
El gran poeta T. S. Eliot, en absoluto complaciente con la novelística de su tiempo, dijo de este libro: «Es la primera obra de un escritor inglés que me da esperanzas acerca del futuro de la ficción en prosa»
  ArchivoPietro | Nov 13, 2020 |
It took a long time to read this book. The problem is not with the book itself. It's just that I'm not quite the right audience. Not because of the sex. It just wasn't written for me. I think it's a good idea to challenge yourself every once in a while. I had plenty of words that I had to look up. I decided to edit and spell-check the epub. Slightly less than half of the words I added to the dictionary I hadn't seen before.

This would be a great book for a poet, because it's about a poet. It would also be a good book for someone who loves words. I was amazed at the vocabulary. The three stars is not really a reflection of the worth of the book as much as what I got out of it.

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  billycongo | Jul 22, 2020 |
Ah, 1938 gets no better, uh, unless you add [book: Murphy], or, uhm, [book: The Death of the Heart], and maybe [book: Three Guineas]. Okay, not [book: Three Guineas].

Durrell third book is a wild romp, starting with the Vivari flooding into the harbour, and showing off all the surrealist influences flooding in for him from contrary directions: Paris and Athens. I got stranded on a 16 hour flight from Edmonton to Athens with only this book, and I think I went through it four times, once just in Heathrow. Great fun. ( )
  james.d.gifford | Apr 4, 2020 |
Misogynistic, stream-of-consciousness crap!!! I can't believe I read the whole thing, but it was short, so what the heck. ( )
  AliceAnna | Sep 9, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Durrell, Lawrenceprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sykes, GeraldIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Mos gus yod na
Khyl so od tung. (Tibetan Proverb.)

'Where there is veneration,
Even a dog's tooth emits light.'
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The agon, then. It begins.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Obelisk Press, Paris, 1938 is the real first edition of this book.
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First published in Paris in 1938, Durrell's third novel is the story, told from the inside, of the lives and loves of a group of struggling writers and artists in a seedy London hotel. Controversial at the time because of its sexual frankness, the book was finally published in its complete form only through the efforts of Henry Miller.

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