From the olive trees of the south of France to Gnostic cults of Egypt, Bruce Drexel and his lovers are invented and reinvented by forces at the edge of their comprehension in the first volume of the Avignon Quintet
For British doctor Bruce Drexel, a return to Provence is bittersweet. Here, at a rustic chateau, he once fell in love with Sylvie, the Frenchwoman who would become his wife, and befriended her brother, Piers. The three made up a peculiar, potent ménage for years until Sylvie’s descent into madness and Piers’s suicide. As Drexel attends to Piers’s affairs, he becomes steeped in the memories of a spiritually transformational trip to Egypt; the band of intellectual confederates who used to be his intimate friends; and a three-sided love that became his reason for being. So begins Monsieur, the masterful first entry of Durrell’s Avignon Quintet, an infinite regress of memory and imagination that challenges the formal conventions of fiction.
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June 11, 2012
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