'I have been thinking about the girl I met last night in the mirror: dark on the marble-ivory white: glossy black hair: deep suspiring eyes in which one's glances sink because they are nervous, curious, turned to sexual curiosity.'
The tragic story of the mysterious and fascinating Justine, and those whose lives she touched in pre-war Alexandria, is told by her lover, an impoverished Irish teacher who has sought refuge across the Mediterranean in Greece. It is undoubtedly a love-story, but the real heroine of the book is its setting: Alexandria, the city 'which decrees that its women shall be the voluptuaries not of pleasure but of pain'.
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