Born in India in 1912, the son of an engineer, sent 'home' to school in England (which he christened Pudding Island), Lawrence Durell left for Corfu with his first wife and his incorrigible family in 1935, from where he was driven to Egypt by the German invasion of Greece in 1941, and in time to Rhodes, Argentina, Yugoslavia and Cyprus. Eventually, with his third wife, he moved to southern France, where he lived for over thirty years. His poetry, his island books and his novels reflect his passion for congenial places and people, preferably around the shores of the Mediterranean. As Ian MacNiven shows in this major biography, Durrell's private world was assimilated into his writing from the very beginning, and it has taken years of patient research to piece together the true narrative of his literary background and influences. The book was undertaken at Durrell's invitation, with access to his personal papers and notebooks and letters. It draws heavily on the memories of innumerable friends and contempoporaries, as well as his own family and the many women in his life, including his wives. It will engross all admirers of this mercurial and richly gifted writer whose 'investigation of modern love' in The Alexandria Quartet produced one of the masterpieces of post-war fiction.