Bitter Lemons

Next time I’m asked what happens when a poet takes a go at writing a novel, I’ll gladly hand over this book in response.

Both the events and the gorgeous mediterranean backdrop are painted so evocatively by Durrell that at times it’s hard to believe I wasn’t there for myself. The book abounds in little insights into Cyprian life which are at times unexpected, interesting and downright silly. It’s hard to make sense of which events are portrayed in seriousness and which are caricaturized.

By no means a light read, I in fact found the book to progress a bit slowly for my preference, though I suppose this only reflects the southern tranquility all the more. The relaxed, familiar lifestyle that Durrell knows and portrays so well later on blends with the Cypriotic political tensions in an intricate and uncomfortable way.