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Very Borges, Very Durrell

December 25, 1988

Re: Your double review of "The Dream of Heroes" and "Diary of the War of the Pig" (Book Review, Dec. 11).

The headline, "Novels Borges Never Wrote," just may be more fitting and revealing than you, the editors and reviewer Lawrence Thornton have imagined.

The brief synopsis of Adolfo Bioy Casares' "The Dream of Heroes" immediately evokes Lawrence Durrell's "Alexandria Quartet."

I find the subject matter very Durrell.

The masked girl at a carnival ball became an obsession to Amaral, the plastic surgeon, who, when he finally found her, was able to transform her disfigured nose (i.e. the person herself) into his idea of perfection.

"Repetition becomes the agent of fate in this circular narrative. . . ." If this is not an apt description of "The Alexandria Quartet," give a better one.

Compare the settings. Compare the dramatis personae. Re-read Durrell. I'll read Bioy.

Five will get you 10 that Bioy's "debts to his old friend and collaborator" could/should(?) be assigned to Lawrence Durrell.



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