Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Mike Harrison tries to steal my girl

Like all right-thinking people, I am in awe of the great writer and rock climber M John Harrison. And until now, I had always thought he was a very nice man. But now I am going to have to fight him, because I discover he has been eyeing up my bird.
I have always been in love with Justine. I have studied Arnauti's Moeurs for hoeurs. And she nowhere expresses an admiration for rock-climbing award-winning novelists. True, she is first drawn to Jacob by his messy room, full of books and newspapers. But anyone can cut things out of the newspapers.
When I was 16, I wrote to Mr Durrell about Justine. He wrote me a nice note back saying a lot of people seemed to like her, but that in insight and generosity, I topped the lot. I think that is clear enough. So shove off, Harrison. She's mine.

He also sent me a copy of (what was then) his new book, but she wasn't in it, so I didn't like it as much.



I have very few signed books, actually, but I've always regretted not buying what I saw in the Charing Cross Road in the early 90s. It was three sets of the Faber paperbacks of the quartet (uniform with Justine and Clea below; Balthazar was yellow and Mountolive green, though as you see, my copies are the hardbacks). On the flyleaf of each in pencil, in Durrell's hand, were the notes "Eve's copy", "Sappho's copy" (I've forgotten who the other one was). They were a fiver each, which I couldn't afford.

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