After years of being a proper Durrellian, reading most of his works, I went for Amazon (USA) to acquire 'The Black Book', his first serious book. This is the one so acclaimed by H. Miller and Anais Nin and Pound (?) etc., which allowed him to live later with aura of a "writer" during not publishing much, when writing 'The Alexandria Quartet'. With big certainty this enabled him also to lay down lots of chicks. Sorry, my dear feminist friends, bit (t)his was another time, when you were "chicks" waiting for guys to lay you, other your occupations were much less important. So good it changed, isn't it? (khm)
This is 200 pages booklet, I like very much the superb quality of The New Traveller's Companion Series, really good bind of a paperback, this would survive not one travel. If I goto Mars I will take it with me, I promise ;-)
Also to try to understand it!
200 pages and I "understood" last 60, the 3rd 'book' inside (it consists of three such).
I agree fully with critics who claimed all his genius is shown already here. Later he merely dissolved it on more pages, in 'Quartet' and 'Quintet'. So, this is 200 pages of concentrated Durrell. Those of you who can not stand his pathetic attitude, do not touch this book, it is also concentrated here.
But is also his superb, somewhat youngish ironic self-reproachment of Male. Female is an object, no doubt, for him. Anais must be a) really good in bed or b)considered manlish , or both (hehe), to go around with such guys like this chimp or the other one, Henry Miller, really. What a show of limited (men) mind. But, on the other side, what a relief after these today all-conscious fucking-forgetting attitude of Modern Man. Which is more interesting wearing stockings and make-up than walking the street as a Man and taking the ChiC (yes, YOU) to lay!
As said, have to read it 2nd time to really grasp the first 3/4ths of the book, but it will be literary delicacy, I can tell you. Btw., anyone saw it in Europe? It was forbidden to publish until after the WWII (it was written in 1937, as all good books of XXct were), and then I find it only in USA, are we more puritan than Puritans? Funny that in the same time when Miller published this in the USA, his own books were forbidden there. Censors concentrate on their own citizens, obviously.