June 29, 2020

Bitter Lemons of Cyprus is Lawrence Durrell’s unique account of his time in Cyprus, during the s Enosis movement for freedom of the island from British . Bitter Lemons of Cyprus is Lawrence Durrell’s unique account of his time in Cyprus, during the s Enosis movement for freedom of the. Above the door of this house is a small yellow plate bearing the inscription, ”Bitter Lemons: Lawrence Durrell Lived Here ” It is a.

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Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Bitter Lemons of Cyprus by Lawrence Durrell. Bitter Lemons of Cyprus is Lawrence Durrell’s unique account of his time in Cyprus, during the s Enosis movement for freedom of the island from British colonial rule.

Winner of the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize, it is a document at once personal, poetic and subtly political – a masterly combination of travelogue, memoir and treatise. Eschewing politics, it says more about them than all our leading articles.

In describing a political tragedy it often has great poetic beauty. He speaks Greek fluently; he has a wide knowledge of modern Greek history, politics and literature; he has lived in continental Greece and has spent many years in other Greek islands. His account of this calamity is revelatory, moving and restrained. It is written in the sensitive and muscular prose of which he is so consummate a master. Paperbackpages. Published July 3rd by Faber and Faber first published Duff Cooper Prize To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

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Sweet, quite different from all the other things you’ve been hearing about Cyprus lately. Lovely stuff, similar raisiny flavor profile to a PX sherry, but less syrupy and cloying–you can drink this without fear of developing type-2 diabetes. People in Bitter Lemons are always slipping off for a glass of the stuff on some terrace or another.

I had to try it. Although the title gives the game up, this book is like a perfume whose opening notes of neroli and lemon give way to something uncomfortable and off-putting, like strong imortelle.

In the first third, helped immeasurably by his knowledge of Oemons, Durrell is getting settled in, and it’s a sort of Cypriot Under a Tuscan Sun. The chapter in which he buys a house aided by the wonderfully cunning Turk Sabri is alone worth the price of lmeons. He is a memorable character. Memorable enough to be eulogized in the New York Times, of all places.

Sabri died only inapparently gunned down. Durrell teaches fourth form English and later accepts a job as press advisor with the colonial administration.

The question of Enosis–independence from Britain and union with Greece begins to overwhelm all the other questions, including those of safety.

Eventually, Durrell packs his bags and leaves. Bitter Lemons is written in that wonderful mid-century English style that, to my mind, is unequaled. Sep 21, Travelin rated it it was ok Shelves: I bought this because I enjoyed his little brother’s account of life in Greece very much. I was also hoping to learn more about Greek influence and Cyprus as a tourist destination.


Although the first paragraphs of the book are quite purple, it seemed to promise to deliver the goods on stereotyping Cypriot Greeks, if only, it turns out, because Lawrence Durrell is so British. I have a tiny, short tourist guidebook for Cyprus which happens to dismiss this book in one sentence. I thought that would b I bought this because I enjoyed his little brother’s account of life in Greece very much. I thought that would be enough, but given the praise and high average ratings here, more needs to be said.

His early chapter about buying a house in Cyprus is easily one of the funniest things I’ve ever read.

Lawrence Durrell´s Bitter Lemons – Persée

It was only in the hours after reading it that I had durrepl reflect that, hang on, this guy sounds like a real jerk.

He arrives having already lived in Greece and speaking Greek. He says he didn’t move to Athens instead because of the costs. He makes appeals directly to Greeks to honour their tradition of hospitality, then he hires a Turkish man whom he describes as a reptile to dissemble and shout at Greeks until they sell him a home with some magical balcony for practically nothing.

Then, in keeping with brief references in his little brother’s book, he picks a high point in his house to slowly eat grapes and crack the whip on Greek workmen who may be lingering to lemoms the stories he loves so much. But that is only a tiny hint of what’s to come. Although he claims to hate politics, he takes a job as an Information Minister with the British government of Cyprus.

Bitter Lemons – Wikipedia

True, it appears to have been an inopportune time, with, according to Durrell, Athens radio whipping up the stupid peasants durrelll ideas of independence. The real position of Lawrence Durrell?

Then, as a member of the British government himself, Durrell slowly provides a bare sketch of the timeline, as anti-British sentiment builds. It seems a new constitution, with mostly stick and no carrot, was outlined in broadsheets. Durrell can take a breather to durrel, random notes about sunsets in the book, but he can’t be bothered to provide details on this constitution, even in an official capacity. Then, British troops shoot three youths “under severe provocation” in Limassol, a “trivial” incident.

No greater detail provided. And so the rest of the book apparently goes, giving Durrell’s unabashedly nationalistic sketch of udrrell war of independence in Cyprus. Skipping extremely rapidly though the rest, I came on this choice bit: They gave off over-powering waves of Chanel Number 5 – as if they hosed themselves down with it Some of his knowledge of Greece doesn’t seem without merit, such as the fact that Europeans somehow forget that modern Greece’s greatest historical influence is probably the Byzantine era.

Or his confirmation that a few “lunatics” in Crete or Rhodes could start a struggle for Greek independence almost anywhere. Would it be fair to say that Durrell is just a product of his time? I also have another book written by his little brother, this time in Argentina. Not only is it very funny, but it is remarkably unselfish, with heart.

Gerald makes a short appearance in this book, and although not much is described, he wins more Greek favour in a few days than Lawrence deserved with his dissimilations, lies, and empire building. View all 3 comments.

Feb 02, Kyriakos Sorokkou rated it really liked it. This is not a political book, but simply a somewhat impressionistic study of the moods and atmospheres of Cyprus during the troubled years or bittter be more precise during the armed struggled against the British.


Lawrence Durrell, A British perspective of the ‘s in Cyprus I’ve chosen to write in English, because English is a window to the world, like it or not. His descriptions of the Pentadaktylos mountains bitger eerie and romantic with romantic I don’t mean romantic as in St. Valentine This is not a political book, but simply a somewhat impressionistic study of the moods and atmospheres of Cyprus during the troubled years or to be more precise during the armed struggled against the British.

Valentine’s and shite like that but in the sense of aesthetic experience with feelings of awe, and apprehension while experiencing the sublimity of nature.


I have never seen Pentadactylos’ castles as Gothic before reading this book. In addition all the chapters that didn’t have to do with the bitter struggle were the ones I loved. Buffavento, Saint Hilarion, Kantara, all these castles were built one after the other along the narrow Pentadaktylos mountains, but sadly when you search for them on Google you see them as castles in Northern Cyprus.

Let’s be political for a little while. Without this armed struggled against the British, Cyprus would have gained her independence probably years later during the rise of decolonisation in Africa.

But we were impatient and as a Greek proverb says Whoever rushes stumbles and we did. Truly racist views, but I’m not surprised because the Europeans were always racist towards their subjects, the ‘negroids’ of Africa, the ‘heathens’ of the Pacific, the ‘ape-like’ Australian aborigines and so on.

But I was shocked by the unnecessary hate this man had for us. Did it crossed his mind that Cypriots were not beautiful because they were slaves of races for centuries and centuries, did he realise that Cypriots were indolent because they were illiterate thanks to the dozens of masters they had above them and worst of all the Franks yes, not the Ottoman Turks; you are surprised, yes, if you read the History of Cyprus you’ll realised that Cyprus suffered worse hardships under the Christian Franks and Venetians and less under the Muslim Ottoman Turks?

One of the first schools in Cyprus open in under Ottoman rule in the capital, Nicosia, the Pancyprian Gymnasium. The first school in my town opened inmore than a century later.

BUT and I say this looking towards Dixon’s rotten corpse: We still speak Greek which is less unchanged than your English that mutated in a French sounding language after We were indolent but thanks to EOKA we became known the only good thing the organisation did.

Now let’s go back to the book. The descriptions of nature are beautiful, but his views on Cypriots a bit biased. View all 6 comments. Nov 09, Passive Apathetic added it. But then the grinding started. A little tip for you: If I grind my teeth while reading, it’s usually a bad sign – believe it or not.

This was the case with The Bitter Lemons of Cyprus. At some point, I started to grind my teeth and hell broke after that. I must admit though, I had been quite prejudiced against Lawrence Durrell. How could one not be, after reading his brother’s delightful report on his family and other animals?