THE GREEK ISLANDS by Lawrence Durrell


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The color views are properly dazzling, the stark black-and-white shots fix shepherds and celebrants in time immemorial, Durrell's luxuriant prose massages the senses--and the dreamy-eyed armchair traveler may not ask for anything more. But like many of the photographs, which could have been taken anywhere in the islands, much of what is imparted has nothing in particular to do with the island at hand (on succeeding pages: the goat problem, icon painting, the Greek language) and even the descriptions tend to be generalized evocations without the freshness of observation. Generous servings of mythic and Homeric lore; smaller dollops of history; occasional accounts of Durrell's wartime and postwar experiences; a few unexpected practical tips; opinions of things Greek and musings on Greekness: these, plus the descriptive passages, constitute the greater part of the book. Durrell, by his own admission, spent most of his time in these islands 30 years ago, and this in itself may account for his limitations as a guide. The introductory maps, however, are just fine.

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 1978
Publisher: Viking