Title: Constance or Solitary Practices
Author: Durrell, Lawrence
Publisher: The Viking Press, New York
Publication Date: 1982
Edition: First American Edition
Book Condition: F
D-j Condition: F
Synopsis: Constance, published in 1982 and sub-titled Solitary Practices, is the central volume of the five novels of Lawrence Durrell’s The Avignon Quintet. Although the first chapter continues in Avignon, where the previous novel, Livia, left off, and details Constance’s blossoming relationship with Sam, the clouds of war are looming and with it the breakup of the group whose last summer together there was depicted in Livia. Blandford takes up a post in Egypt, kindly offered to him by the Prince. However during a visit from Sam, now a soldier, a picnic trip ends in disaster as the party comes under friendly fire, leading to the death of Sam and the crippling of Blandford. Constance, meanwhile, has moved to Geneva, where she has met Sutcliffe and Toby (despite the fact that they are theoretically fictional creations from one of Blandford’s novels), and it is there she hears the news of the accident. Eventually Constance decides to return to Nazi-occupied Provence and the big house of Tu Duc, where eventually Livia puts in a final appearance, disfigured by the loss of an eye (the reasons for which are only clarified in “Quinx”), before committing suicide. Constance returns to Geneva, where she embarks on a passionate affair with the Prince’s aide Affad (Sebastian).