Wednesday, 31 May 2017

The Charm of The Durrells of Corfu

I have just been sent this photograph of the attractive window display at the new Waterstones bookshop in Crouch End, London.

Booksellers have been having a lot of fun with this title, imaginatively suggesting the mix of sun and sea and wildlife and an idiosyncratic family presented by The Durrells of Corfu, Book of the Month for May.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Corfu Postcards: Kardaki

I have been receiving some beautiful postcards of Corfu. This one is of Kardaki, south of Corfu town, in the general direction of Canoni where Spiro Americanos lived.

Meanwhile The Durrells of Corfu continues at the top of the bestseller lists this weekend, number 1 in The Times, number 3 in The Sunday Times.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

My Family and Other Secrets: Three Women Written Out of the Durrells' Corfu Story

Nancy, Alexia and Maria were intimately connected to the Durrells in Corfu, part of the family you might say - but not a word was said about them in My Family and Other Animals or in the other volumes of The Corfu Trilogy.  This article in the Radio Times says something about these missing women.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Bestseller Again This Weekend: The Durrells of Corfu

Like last weekend The Durrells of Corfu stands in the top ranks of the bestseller lists, number one in The Times, number three in The Sunday Times.

Meanwhile I have work to do, writing the biography of Lawrence Durrell for Yale University Press.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Hello Lenin!

Passing through Percy Circus.
I visited Profile Books in Holford Yard, Bevin Way, London WC1 the other day.  Profile publish several of my books, including The Templars: History and Myth, The Tragedy of the Templars, The Quest for Mary Magdalene, and The Durrells of Corfu, and it is always a good idea to check that they are still in business.
Lenin at Percy Circus in 1902.

Also Profile are near two spots where Vladimir Ilyich Lenin lived before the 1917 revolution that made him master of Russia and the creator of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  One of these places is Percy Circus where Lenin lived in 1905; the other was in Holford Square in 1902, but the entire square was destroyed by German bombing during the Second World War.

A modernist housing project designed by a Russian architect called Berthold Lubetkin was built over the ruins of Holford square and was at first called Lenin Court but once the Cold War got into full swing in the late 1940s its name was changed to Bevin Court after the strongly anti-Communist Labour foreign secretary Ernest Bevin.  It was Lenin/Bevin Court I was particularly keen to see.

Bevin Court
The central staircase had a social purpose, to make people mix and to run them together.  Fortunately there are also lifts for the socially incorrect.

Lubetkin also created a memorial to Lenin on this site but it was constantly attacked and he buried it beneath the central core of the staircase at garden level. But if you want to see Lenin himself, and not tulips, you will have to visit his mummified corpse in Moscow's Red Square, abutting the wall of the Kremlin and opposite the delightful GUM department store which is a thriving monument to the vitality of pre- and post-communist Russia.

For more of Lenin in London, click here.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Sunday Times Bestseller 14 May 2017

The Times yesterday and The Sunday Times today both have The Durrells of Corfu in the top ranks of their bestseller lists.  The Times, which bases its rankings on sales by Waterstones, has the book at number one.  The Sunday Times takes into account all avenues of sale and ranks it at number three. Either way, not bad.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

The Times Number One Bestseller: The Durrells of Corfu

The Durrells of Corfu is the number one bestseller on The Times non-fiction list.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Following in the Footsteps of the Durrells

'It started accidentally and has continued accidentally ever since. I mean following in the footsteps of the Durrells and writing about them. It began in Cairo just before I was about to catch the train for my first visit to Alexandria. I went into the Anglo-Egyptian bookshop which had been run since 1928 by an old Copt called Sobhi Greis; business was not what it used to be and his books were piled in heaps and covered in dust. I was looking for a guidebook to Alexandria but there was no such thing, but I did pull out from the bottom of a pile a paperback copy of Lawrence Durrell’s Justine, the first volume of The Alexandria Quartet which I had read ages ago. It was the Faber edition, the one with the red cover and the handprint like you see on walls throughout Egypt, a child’s hand to avert the evil eye.'

That is how my blog post for Waterstones begins.  It tells how I accidentally came to follow in the footsteps of the Durrells, from that day in a Cairo bookshop to the recent publication of The Durrells of Corfu.  To read my full Waterstones blog post, click here.

Monday, 8 May 2017

The Durrells of Corfu Audiobook

The Durrells of Corfu will be published as an audiobook by Bolinda on 28 June 2017.

The Durrells of Corfu Emigrate to Australia

One of Abbey's famous outdoor blackboards.
Abbey's is a leading independent bookshop in Sydney, Australia. Their promotions are simple but effective.  They have two blackboards that they place outside announcing recommended titles inside. Publishers covet a position on the blackboards - only two titles are mentioned on each, four in all - and the books then sell like hotcakes.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

The Times Bestsellers on Saturday 6 May 2017

The Durrells of Corfu ranks third in the nonfiction paperback list.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Durrell Tweets

The International Lawrence Durrell Society, under the moniker @Durrell, tweets about all sorts of things Durrellian, not only Larry but also Gerry and all the rest, as well as just about anything that can claim free association.  You can see it online here.

Constantinople Exhibition at the Hellenic Centre

I am very much looking forward to seeing more of Andreas Giorgiadis' remarkable pen and ink works at the Hellenic Centre.

I have previously seen his evocative illustrations of Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet.

This time his subject is Constantinople.

The Durrells of Corfu Blossoming in Windows

Some remarkable window displays, for example at Piccadilly and Edinburgh.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Waterstones Book of the Month

I was away at the Hexham Book Festival when Waterstones announced this morning that The Durrells of Corfu is their non-fiction Book of the Month for May.

I am told that the book is blossoming in shop windows up and down the country and in airports too but I have seen nothing myself yet (apart from the photographs people have been sending in); instead I was inspecting the northern border defences of the Roman Empire along the River Tyne. (More of that later.)