Briefly, the story is set in Alexandria, Egypt just a year or so before the outbreak of World War II. The main character speaks in a first-person narrative, reflecting on events not as they happened, but as they first became important to him. He gets caught up in a series of complicated love affairs and friendships, amidst a backdrop of darker motives that involve murder and espionage. The plot alone sounds melodramatic, but what really makes this book shine is the language and style with which Durrell writes. For a further description on the quartet, check it out on Wikipedia.
Other great books by Durrell include a series of five novels known as the “Avignon Quintet,” which takes places in Provence, France. Much of Durrell’s work is drawn from his own extraordinary life experiences. Preferring to refer to his nationality as “cosmopolitan” rather than British, he lived abroad in Greece, Egypt, France, Argentina, Yugoslavia, and India just to name a few. He worked in the British Foreign Service at various posts throughout Europe and although he rarely had a fixed home, he and his family lived for many years on the Mediterranean island of Corfu in Greece. He was also good friends with Henry Miller (who wrote Tropic of Cancer). Over the course of his long life Durrell wrote dozens of novels and other works that include poetry, drama, travel books, and essays. So checkout one of his works today, and see what surprises are waiting for you just around the corner!