Books: Desire for Desire

NUNQUAM by Lawrence Durrell. 318 pages. E.P. Dutton. $7.95.

An Irishman raised in India, Lawrence Durrell is a kind of blarney artist in swami's turban. In The Alexandria Quartet, the illusions were so masterly as to seem substance enough. In Tune, Durrell's 1968 novel, and now in its sequel, Nunquam, Durrell's virtuosity has slipped sufficiently to leave him exposed as a bit of a trickster. His hand is no longer quicker than the reader's eye, and many critics have clobbered him.

Nunquam is no Justine, but it is better than its detractors are saying....

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