The Greek Islands, by Lawrence Durrell. New York: Penguin Books. $12.95.

Novelist Lawrence Durrell writes from long and affectionate familiarity with Greece and deftly portrays the unique quality of each island. His descriptions of nature are masterly -- he even catches the quality of the light that bathes the Aegean Sea at dawn. He peoples his account with mythic figures such as Odysseus and Ariadne while weaving in references not merely to Homeric and classical Greece, but to the less well-known periods of Venetian and Turkish domination. This entrancing book will whet the appetite of readers who have never been to the Greek isles and will stir nostalgic memories in those who have.

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