[Ebook] ↠ My Family and Other Animals Author Gerald Durrell – Andy-palmer.co.uk

My Family and Other Animals I would like to make a point of stressing that all the anecdotes about the island and the islanders are absolutely true Living in Corfu was rather like living in one of theflamboyant and slapstick comic operas thus claims Gerald Durrell in his Speech of Defense or as other authors would prefer to call it The Foreword or Introduction.Gerard Durrell My grateful thanks then to My wife, who pleased me by laughing uproariously when reading the manuscript, only to inform me that it was I would like to make a point of stressing that all the anecdotes about the island and the islanders are absolutely true Living in Corfu was rather like living in one of theflamboyant and slapstick comic operas thus claims Gerald Durrell in his Speech of Defense or as other authors would prefer to call it The Foreword or Introduction.Gerard Durrell My grateful thanks then to My wife, who pleased me by laughing uproariously when reading the manuscript, only to inform me that it was my spelling that amused her.Sophie, my secretary, who was responsible for the introduction of commas and the ruthless eradication of the split infinitives Split infinitives was a popular vice for authors such as Daniel Defoe, Benjamin Franklin, William Wordsworth, Abraham Lincoln, George Eliot, Henry James, and Willa Cather view spoiler Pardon me, I never even realized that I might ruffle a few feathers by using it myself That s beside the point hide spoiler And so begins a memoir spanning over the five years of living on the Greek island of Corfu pre WWII, by the author and his family A slapstick, comic opera it was for sure The author was a young boy of around ten years old when his widowed mother with her four children, three boys and a girl, decided to leave Britain for a place with sunshine, clean air and open spaces What ensued made great fodder for several books, an opera and ultimately a CBS series The Durrells in the end I briefly watched a few episodes, but turned back to the books The series captured the atmosphere and background of the Corfu trilogy well, but lost the soul of the author s writing completely It is challenging to get animals to do on film what they did in the book after all The choice of actors did not represent the characters on the island quite the same, and that s a mild diplomatic statement Nevertheless, Gerry and his menagerie of fauna brought much laughter and mayhem into his family s life The magpies had their moment of glory during a luncheon to which the family, who overflowed with human kindness invited everyone they could think of, including people they cordially disliked There was something decidedly queer about the culprits, I decided instead of flying away as quickly as possible they remained squatting among the tattered flowers, swaying rhythmically, their eyes bright, uttering tiny chucks of satisfaction to each other Having gazed at me with rapt attention for a moment, one of them walked very unsteadily across the table, a flower in his beak, lost his balance on the edge of the cloth, and fell heavily to the ground The other one gave a hoarse cluck of amusement, put his head under his wing, and went to sleep I was mystified by this unusual behaviour Then I noticed a smashed bottle of beer on the flagstones It became obvious that the Magenpies had indulged in a party of their own, and were very drunk I caught them both quite easily, though the one on the table tried to hide under a butter bespattered napkin and pretend he was not there It was also the day Dodo the other dog came into season and had just about the entire island s dogs bursting through the front door to be of service to her There were the two water snakes in the bath tub who needed resuscitation after being left out in the sun for too long It resulted in Leslie almost losing the towel around his loins and his dignity running out the front door and in front of the guest as he tried to describe the size of the monsters in the bath They were suffering from sunstroke, poor things, said Mrs Durrell The whole circus resulted from obtaining Old Plop, a regal and ancient terrapin, who did not do well residing with the snakes in the same pond Old Kosti, the man who murdered his wife and who received only three years of imprisonment, was Gerry s fishing mate and partner in passion in collecting rare and endangered fauna species So by the way, a five year prison sentence was regarded muchimportant and only meant for people who dynamited fish a very serious offense The four siblings had a daunting task As Larry, Gerry s oldest sibling put it, the four children had to bring up their mother In the end she was a credit to them all Mrs Durrell, as she was addressed on the island, had a few mountains to climb, a number of surprises to address, and a hungry family to feed while establishing themselves in the Strawberry pink villa Life brought lessons for a courageous, even tempered woman who brilliantly and successfully navigated through it all Most of the animals became characters in the tale Quasimodo, the pigeon, refused to inhabit the specially constructed pigeon loft He demanded to sleep on Margo s bed When she turned in her sleep, he would hobble up the bed, perched on her face, cooing loudly and lovingly Quasimodo became embittered, sullen and irritable when he woke up one morning and saw the egg he laid between the cushions during the night When the same thing happened the next night, another egg, his personality changed completely Gerry was tutored by various men on the island But the young boy did not deem education very important In fact, he regarded education as an imminent dangerI said I liked being half educated, you were so muchsurprised at everything when you were ignorant A family friend became the tutor and quickly realized that young Gerry is only willing to study anything if a zoological tinge is added to the lessons.Geography We would draw giant maps, wrinkled with mountains, and then fill in the various places of interest, together with drawings of theexciting fauna to be found there Thus for me the chief products of Ceylon were tapirs and tea of India tigers and rice of Australia kangaroos and sheep, while the blue curves of currents we drew across the oceans carried whales, albatross, penguins, and walrus, as well as hurricanes, trade winds, fair weather and foul Our maps were works of artHistory George discovered that by seasoning a series of unpalatable facts with a sprig of zoology and a sprinkle of completely irrelevant detail, he could get me interested Thus I became conversant with some historical data which, to the best of my knowledge, have never been recorded before Breathlessly, history lesson by history lesson, I followed Hannibal s progress over the Alps His reason for attempting such a feat, and what he intended to do on the other side, were details that scarcely worried me No, my interest in what I considered to be a very badly planned expedition lay in the fact that I knew the name of each and every elephantI also knew that Hannibal had appointed a special man not only to feed and look after the elephants, but to give them hot water bottles when the weather got coldThis interesting fact seems to have escaped most serious historiansThe lectures were attended by Gerry, his dog Roger, Achilles the tortoise and Quasimodo the pigeon The four musketeers doted on the juicy big grapes of Corfu Achilles loved the wild strawberries the best though.Outdoor tutoring brought the best results In the shallow water on the beach, lying spread eagled in the sun, Gerry learntSo the French and British Fleets were slowly drawing together for what was to be the decisive sea battle of the war When the enemy was sighted Nelson was on the bridge bird watching through his telescope he had already been warned of the Frenchmen s approach by a friendly gull eh oh, a greater black backed gull I think it was well, the ships manoeuvred round each other of course they couldn t move so fast in those days, for they did everything by sail no engines no, not even outboard engines The British sailors were a bit worried because the French seemed so strong, but when they saw that Nelson was so little affected by the whole thing that he was sitting on the bridge labelling his birds egg collection, they decided that there was really nothing to be scared aboutThe characters on the island were as picturesque as the prose There was Yani, the goat shepherd The old shepherd, as I expected, was in the tattered shade of the vine that sprawled on its iron trellis work above my head, but to my intense annoyance he had not woken up He was sprawling in a plain deal chair, which was tilted back against the wall at a dangerous angle His arms dangled limply, his legs were spread out, and his magnificent moustache, orange and white with nicotine and age, lifted and trembled with his snores, like some strange seaweed that is raised and lowered by a gentle swell.Today I should have taken my goats to Gastouri But it was too hot, much too hot In the hills the rocks will be so hot you could light a cigarette from them So I went instead and tasted Taki s new white wine Spiridion what a wine like the blood of a dragon and as smooth as a fish What a wine When I came back the air was full of sleep, so here I amThere was Spiros who took the family under his wing upon their arrival on the island and who would become a big influence in the author s lifeYous English Thought so English always wants bathrooms I gets a bathroom in my house Spiro s my name, Spiro Hakiapoulos they alls calls me Spiro Americano on accounts of I lives in America Yes, spent eight years in Chicago That s where I learnt my goods English Wents there to makes moneys Then after eight years I says Spiros, I says, yous mades enough sos I comes backs to Greece brings this car best ons the islands no one else gets a car like this All the English tourists knows me, theys all asks for me when theys comes here Theys knows theys wonts be swindled I likes the English best kinds of peoples Honest to Gods, ifs I wasn t Greek I d likes to be EnglishDon t you just love the title of this book It caused a few giggles on this side of the equation Gerald Durrell wrote autobiographical accounts of his family and all the animals in his life Wikipedia describes his work as of such kind characterised by a love for nature and animals, dry wit, crisp descriptions, and humorous analogies of human beings with animals and vice versa I like the idea of crisp descriptions That it was for sure Gerald Durrell reminds me so much of William Smith as Smith is depicted in a biographyThe Map That Changed the Worldby Simon Winchester Smith spent twenty two years piecing together the fragments of this unseen universe to create an epochal and remarkably beautiful hand painted map His discoveries of fossils in 1793, while digging a canal in Britain, enabled in a nutshell for Charles Darwin 1809 1882 to become famous.This memoir is the first in the Corfu trilogy My Family and Other Animals Rupert Hart Davis, 1956 Birds, Beasts, and Relatives Collins, 1969 The Garden of the Gods Fauna and Family Collins, 1978 Did I mention that I LOVED this experience Well, there you have it Brilliant The reader became part of the family, of the picturesque island, of all the peasant neighbors and every single adventure by the lure of the prose One of the best memoirs I have read in a very long time Poking fun at himself, first and foremost, and then at his nuclear blood relations, as well as his adopted island family , just made this an adorable, wonderful, charming, delightful read I read the 2004 edition.Gerald Durrell was an internationally well known naturalist who spend his entire career in saving endangered animal species He was way ahead of his times This spoiler contains all the honors bestowed on this remarkable man view spoiler Honours and legacy Statue of Gerald Durrell at Jersey Zoo, Jersey, sculpted by John Doubleday Durrell was awarded the Order of the Golden Ark by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands in 1981 In 1981, Durrell became a founding member of the World Cultural Council 13 Durrell received the OBE in 1982 Durrell was a subject of the television programme This Is Your Life in 1983 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews The National Youth Music Theatre performed the musical theatre The Carnival of the Animals at Fort Regent, Jersey as a tribute to Gerald Durrell in 1984 Durrell featured in the United Nations Roll of Honour for Environmental Achievement in 1988, becoming part of 500 people Global 500 to be given this honour in the period 1987 92 The University of Kent started the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology DICE in 1989, the first graduate school in the United Kingdom to offer degrees and diplomas in conservation and biodiversity The journal Biodiversity and Conservation brought out a special volume of the journal in tribute to Gerald Durrell, on the theme of The Role of Zoos in 1995, following his death The Gerald Durrell Memorial Funds, launched in 1996, are granted in the field of conservation by the Wildlife Trust every year The statue park in Miskolc Zoo, created a bust of Gerald Durrell in 1998 Whipsnade Zoo also unveiled a new island for housing primates dedicated to Durrell in 1998 14 The Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife, gives the Gerald Durrell Award for the best photograph of an endangered species, starting from 2001 The Durrell School in Corfu, established in 2002, offers an academic course and tours in the footsteps of the Durrells in Corfu Botanist David Bellamy has conducted field trips in Corfu for the school The town hall of Corfu announced in 2006 that it would rename Corfu Bosketto a park in the city of Corfu Bosketto Durrell, after Gerald and Lawrence Durrell as a mark of respect 15 Wildlife Preservation Canada established the Gerald Durrell Society in 2006 as recognition for individuals who have made legacy gifts The Gerald Durrell Endemic Wildlife Sanctuary in the Black River Valley in Mauritius, is the home of the Mauritius Wildlife Appeal Fund s immensely successful captive breeding programme for the Mauritius kestrel, pink pigeon and echo parakeet The Durrell Wildlife Park has a bronze statue of Gerald Durrell by John Doubleday, cast along with a ruffed lemur at his knee and a Round Island gecko at his feet Jersey brought out stamps honouring the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust and Mauritius brought out a stamp based on a race of a rare gecko named after Durrell The de rodentification of Rat Island in St Lucia by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust to create a sanctuary for the Saint Lucia whiptail lizard on the lines of Praslin Island has caused an official change in name for Rat Island It is in the process of being renamed Durrell Island The Visitors Centre at the Belize Zoo is named the Gerald Durrell Visitors Centre in honour of Durrell.Numerous individual animals of rare species born in captivity have been named Gerry or Gerald as homage to Durrell, among them the first Aldabra giant tortoise born in captivity Cornwall college Newquay s centre for applied zoology has two buildings, one the Durrell Building, opened by his wife Lee Durrell in 2007 hide spoiler I loved My family and Other Animals 1956 by Gerald Durrell from start to finish, thoroughly and in detail That s why I will tell you about it from A to Z.A is for animalsThe way Gerald Durrell describes them is unbeatable He casts a spell on you not only when he portrays quite spectacular species but also quite prosaic ones Gerry Durrell Image source B is for bathing costumeThe chapter in which mother purchases an extravagant garment,covered from top to bottom with hundreds of frills an I loved My family and Other Animals 1956 by Gerald Durrell from start to finish, thoroughly and in detail That s why I will tell you about it from A to Z.A is for animalsThe way Gerald Durrell describes them is unbeatable He casts a spell on you not only when he portrays quite spectacular species but also quite prosaic ones Gerry Durrell Image source B is for bathing costumeThe chapter in which mother purchases an extravagant garment,covered from top to bottom with hundreds of frills and pleats and tucks , is one of my absolute favourites Just to give you a foretasteWhat is it asked Larry at length It s a bathing costume, of course, said Mother What on earth did you think it was It looks to me like a badly skinned whale, said Larry, peering at it closely.C is for CorfuHere in Corfu, said Theodore, his eyes twinkling with pride, anything can happenA picturesque Greek island Gerry aged ten and his family mother, two older brothers and one sister moved to from Britain They lived there from 1935 to 1939 The beauty of the place depicted by Durrell is dazzling, in all seasons, in all times of the day Nowadays Corfu probably looks quite different, with thousands of tourists, but I m sure the magic captured in My Family and Other Animals still lingers thereOutside, the island was striped and patched in black and silver by moonlight Far down in the dark cypress trees the owls called to each other comfortingly The sky looked as black and soft as a mole skin covered with a delicate dew of stars The magnolia tree loomed vast over the house, its branches full of white blooms, like a hundred miniature reflections of the moon, and their thick, sweet scent hung over the veranda languorously, the scent that was an enchantment luring you out into the mysterious, moonlit countrysideThe enchantment really works Since I finished My family and Other Animals , I have been dreaming of going to Corfu.Herbert List, Ionian island of Pondikoisi seen from Kanoni, Corfu 1937 Image source D is for Dandy Dinmont TerrierMother s dog Dodo constantly challenges beauty standards Affectionately called by Larry that canine Frankenstein.E is for educationGerry doesn t attend any schools on Corfu, he has lessons with tutors I m sure you will be astonished by the gallery of his eccentric teachers.F is for familyThe most obvious thing you are attracted to are the adventures of the Durrells and their portrayals but there is something not so obvious worth exploring also I mean the relationships between the members of the family, full of warmth and tolerance One of the keys to the success is probably the fact that they are communicating almost all the timewe seemed unable to extract the full flavour of our letters and magazines unless they were sharedThe siblings are nasty to each other at times but even the most malicious remarks have a cordial lining Gerry Durrell and a part of his family, 1936 The Daffodil Yellow Villa in the background Image source G is for guestsMostly neurotic artists and writers Invited spontaneously, in large amountsSometimes the fresh load of guests would turn up before we had got rid of the previous group, and the chaos was indescribable.H is for humourUbiquitarian It s one of the most hilarious books I ve ever read I would have never guessed that Durrell was seriously ill while writing My family and Other Animals he was recovering from jaundice If you think it s sensible enough not to read this book in public places to prevent bursts of uncontrollable laughter, you are wrong And I m speaking from experience It is enough to recall some scenes to get hysterical while you are for example travelling on a bus or doing shopping You will encounter various kinds of humour funny situations, chucklesome comments, cranky personalities, elements of black humour or a comedy full of gagsLiving in Corfu was rather like living in one of theflamboyant and slapstick comic operas I is for I am grateful Three Goodreads friends inspired and convinced me to read this ludicrous book Thanks from the bottom of my heart to Jennifer B., Julie and Roman Clodia I will always associate them with this uproarious, amazing read and it will make my memories even lovelier If you check the Goodreads shelves of these three exceptional ladies which I strongly recommend the first thing you will probably notice is the diversity of their literary tastes It goes to show that Durrell adequately caters for a variety of readers needs and preferences.Gerry Durrell Image source J is for just perfectfor a rainy day Or a day when you want to forget about your worries Or a day when you get bad news Or a day when you are just feeling blue with no reason From now on My family and Other Animals will make an indispensable part of my bookish first aid kit Durrell takes care of his readers well being in a truly touching way the real cause why the family decided to come back to Britain was the war, while it s not mentioned in the story even once.K is for KralefskyGerry s teacher One of the most comical characters in the book Known for his chivalry and wrestling skills Which turned out to be quite virtual.L is for LugaretziaA Greek housekeeper who continuously moans and entertains the Durrells guests with generous displays of her gumsThere was only one thing in life that could bring a smile to Lugaretzia s gloomy countenance, a glint to her spaniel eyes, and that was a discussion of her ailmentsM is for MotherPatient Practical Sane which seems to be quite an exception in this family Adorable You might try not to love her but you won t stand a ghost of a chance Her hobbies are cooking and gardening Gerald aged eight and Mother Image source N is for NirvanaThe state Mother has gradually reachedthat happy Nirvana where nothing shocks or startles is exemplified by the fact that one weekend recently, when all alone in the house, she was treated to the sudden arrival of a series of crates containing two pelicans, a scarlet ibis, a vulture, and eight monkeys A lesser mortal might have quailed at such a contingency, but not Mother O is for other family membersWe meet only Gerry, his siblings and mum but no doubt other family members are remarkable too, for instanceAunt Bertha, keeping flocks of imaginary catsorGreat Uncle Patrick, who wanders about nude and tells complete strangers how he killed whales with a penknifeP is for pinkStrawberry pink, to be exact The colour of the first house the Durrells rented on Corfu The villa had an air of pink faced determination.Q is for quirkyMost people would probably find the Durrells and their pets quite bizarre When they were coming to England by train a disgracefully efficient official at the Swiss frontier described them in a formOne travelling Circus and StaffR is for RogerGerry s dog and companion One of the most candid and poignant canine portraits I have encountered in literature so far.S is for SpiroA taxi driver, devoted friend of the Durrells who speaks unconventional English, adding s at random.Gerry and Spiro Image source T is for tortoiseAchilles, one of the first pets the Durrells had on Corfu A connoisseur of wild strawberries.U is for universalChances are this book will be loved by readers from about 9 years old to infinity Most children will probably focus on crazy adventures whilemature audience will indulge in Durrell s irony and beauty of his writing style I think the omnipresent humour is the strength of the book but its weakness at the same time if it s not compatible with yours, you will probably get bored and frustrated.V is for veracityAccording to Gerald Durrellall the anecdotes about the island and the islanders are absolutely trueAm I the only one who has the impression that the author is winking now The sad part is that the idyllic image of his family in the book seems to be highly idealised Gerry and Roger, 1935 Image source W is for writerLarry, up and coming man of letters, one of Gerry s brothers, later famous for Alexandria Quartet Twenty three years old, dreaming of literary career He considers himself a genius who has to cope with cruel reality and is not always successfulI assure you the house is a death trap Every conceivable nook and cranny is stuffed with malignant faunae waiting to pounce How I have escaped being maimed for life is beyond me A simple, innocuous action like lighting a cigarette is fraught with danger Even the sanctity of my bedroom is not respected First, I was attacked by a scorpion, a hideous beast that dripped venom and babies all over the place Then my room was torn asunder by magpies Now we have snakes in the bath and huge flocks of albatrosses flapping round the house, making noises like defective plumbingI was surprised when I found out that real Lawrence, was married and lived on Corfu with his wife There s no trace of her in the book.X is for xenophobiaFortunately not present at all The hospitality of Corfiots was really moving Kind and generous, they offered delicious food to Gerry and made his family feel at home.Y is for yesYes, I m definitely going to read the other two parts of The Corfu Trilogy.Z is for ZatopecAn elderly Armenian poet, one of the peculiar guestsHis voice shook the house like a sirocco as he swept into it, his cloak rippling, his arms full of bottlesNotorious for his enthusiasm for the opposite sex, forlorn Lugaretzia included.Now you know my ABC,Next time won t you read with me Gerry Durrell Image source When The Unconventional Durrell Family Can No Longer Endure The Damp, Gray English Climate, They Do What Any Sensible Family Would Do Sell Their House And Relocate To The Sunny Greek Isle Of Corfu My Family And Other Animals Was Intended To Embrace The Natural History Of The Island But Ended Up As A Delightful Account Of Durrell S Family S Experiences, From The Many Eccentric Hangers On To The Ceaseless Procession Of Puppies, Toads, Scorpions, Geckoes, Ladybugs, Glowworms, Octopuses, Bats, And Butterflies Into Their Home This is the story of a five year sojourn that I and my family made on the Greek island of Corfu It was originally intended to be a mildly nostalgic account of the natural history of the island, but I made a grave mistake by introducing my family into the book in the first few pages Having got themselves on paper, they then proceeded to establish themselves and invite various friends to share the chapters I say, Mr Durrell, introducing your wildly entertaining family was the icing on theThis is the story of a five year sojourn that I and my family made on the Greek island of Corfu It was originally intended to be a mildly nostalgic account of the natural history of the island, but I made a grave mistake by introducing my family into the book in the first few pages Having got themselves on paper, they then proceeded to establish themselves and invite various friends to share the chapters I say, Mr Durrell, introducing your wildly entertaining family was the icing on the cake to this spectacular tale The things I ve seen, heard and experienced in the pages of this novel could hardly be put into words without the picturesque writing skills that Gerald Durrell possessed However, if I could pick a family to call my own, it would be the Durrells With Gerry s siblings, Larry, Leslie, and Margo, the amusement is endless Their unflappable mother is adorable so calm and collected considering she lived in a home that had become a cross between a madhouse and a zoo And the supporting characters are every bit as lovable Spiro, a local taxi driver, takes the family under his wing and becomes an integral part of their daily lives One of my favorite scenes, which I ve aptly named the flinging of the scorpions , followsThen one day I found a fat female scorpion in the wall, wearing what at first glance appeared to be a pale fawn fur coat Closer inspection proved that this strange garment was made up of a mass of tiny babies clinging to the mother s back I made up my mind to smuggle them into the houseGerry placed his new find in a matchbox and left it on the mantle while they all sat down to lunch As luck would have it, brother Larry was a smoker I yelled at my Kindle to warn Larry of the hidden danger inside the matchbox he was about to open, but of course, they never listen to meHe uttered a roar of fright that made Lugaretzia drop a plate and brought Roger out from beneath the table, barking wildly With a flick of his hand, he sent the unfortunate scorpion flying down the table, and she landed midway between Margo and Leslie, scattering babies like confetti The ensuing chaos had me doubled over with laughter I also giggled as the magenpies the name Spiro gives to magpies destroyed Larry s manuscript and again when a snake filled bathtub sent Leslie streaking into the midst of a party with only a small towel for covering In fact, I hooted aloud so often that my own dogs would watch me with rapt attention, perplexed by my sudden outbursts Every page is filled with dreamily descriptive writing so remarkable that I feel as if I ve experienced the entire book first hand I would urge anyone, no matter your age, to give this heart warming, hilarious romp a go Gerald Durrell is one of the most gifted writers I ve ever had the pleasure of reading 4.5 StarsI should like to pay a special tribute to my mother, to whom this book is dedicated Like a gentle, enthusiastic, and understanding Noah, she has steered her vessel full of strange progeny through the stormy seas of life with great skill, always faced with the possibility of mutiny, always surrounded by the dangerous shoals of overdraft and extravagance, never being sure that her navigation would be approved by the crew, but certain that she would be blamed for anything that went wr 4.5 StarsI should like to pay a special tribute to my mother, to whom this book is dedicated Like a gentle, enthusiastic, and understanding Noah, she has steered her vessel full of strange progeny through the stormy seas of life with great skill, always faced with the possibility of mutiny, always surrounded by the dangerous shoals of overdraft and extravagance, never being sure that her navigation would be approved by the crew, but certain that she would be blamed for anything that went wrong There s a charm in this semi autobiographical tale of Gerald Durrell s family s life after moving from England to the Greek island of Corfu as a young, inquisitive lad at the age of ten, surrounded by nature and discovering the wildlife of his new surroundings His nature, from his youth through his entire life, seems to center around the bond between man, the natural world and animals, and he quickly gathers new pets to bring home to his less than enthusiastic family over entertaining some of these species And while I can completely understand not wanting to find some of these critters have been released into my home, in his skillful hands these stories are charmingly humorous, and I loved every second of his escapades, especially since all of these anecdotes are trueGradually the magic of the island settled over us as gently and clingingly as pollen Each day had a tranquility, timelessness, about it, so that you wished it would never end But then the dark skin of night would peel off and there would be a fresh day waiting for us, glossy and colourful as a child s transfer and with the same tinge of unreality Shortly before I was born, my parents were gifted an Irish Setter puppy from a family two houses away, they owned the sire of the litter, and the puppy had originally been briefly owned by another couple who had it sent straight off to some Edgar Sawtelle like intense training camp without ever interacting with it He arrived at our house, essentially, as perfectly behaved a dog as possible especially for an Irish Setter I took my naps on him, while my mother was busy with other things There s been very few days, months, years since then that I have lived without a dog or cat in my home I grew up wanting to become a veterinarian, as well, and couldn t imagine anyone not wanting to do something where you could interacts with dogs and cats Certainly there were other critters in my neighborhood, where we spent our days exploring, catching pollywogs and traipsing through the woods or swinging on vines all while trying to avoid snakes and such, or catching lightning bugs at night but then releasing them back to the darkening skies , but I can t imagine bringing home even a snake, let alone some of the creatures young Gerald brought home But it isn t just his love of these creatures, or his love of nature in general that moves this story along, it s this delightfully quirky family he happens to belong to, and their various reactions to coming home to yet another new strange pet that he has brought home A curious boy and a lenient, loving mother together make this a wildly eccentric ride, in the best way Shared with a sprinkling of nostalgia, a love of family and a captivating humour throughout, he managed to make me wish I d been there through it all well, almost all I think I would take a pass on the incident with the scorpionsIt was no half hearted spring, this the whole island vibrated with it as though a great, ringing chord had been struck Everyone and everything heard it, and responded It was apparent in the gleam of flower petals, the flash of bird wings and the sparkle in the dark, liquid eyes of the peasant girls In the water filled ditches the frogs that looked newly enameled snored a rapturous chorus in the lush weeds In the village coffee shops the wine seemed redder and, somehow,potent Blunt, work calloused fingers plucked at guitar strings with strange gentleness, and rich voices rose in lilting, haunting song Many thanks to Candi whose review prompted me to add this thanks, as well, to the Public Library system, and the many Librarians that manage, organize and keep it running, for the loan of this book My Family and Other Animals Corfu Trilogy, 1 , Gerald DurrellMy Family and Other Animals 1956 is an autobiographical work by British naturalist Gerald Durrell It tells of the years that he lived as a child with his siblings and widowed mother on the Greek island of Corfu between 1935 and 1939 It describes the life of the Durrell family in a humorous manner, and explores the fauna of the island It is the first and most well known of Durrell s Corfu trilogy, together with Birds, Beasts, a My Family and Other Animals Corfu Trilogy, 1 , Gerald DurrellMy Family and Other Animals 1956 is an autobiographical work by British naturalist Gerald Durrell It tells of the years that he lived as a child with his siblings and widowed mother on the Greek island of Corfu between 1935 and 1939 It describes the life of the Durrell family in a humorous manner, and explores the fauna of the island It is the first and most well known of Durrell s Corfu trilogy, together with Birds, Beasts, and Relatives 1969 and The Garden of the Gods 1978 1996 1363 323 1376 326 9646194338 1386 1393 1395 9789646194335 1397 20 20 03 1399 This is a perfectly charming memoir written by Gerald Durrell, a well known British naturalist and zookeeper It s charming because it chronicles his experiences with his family on Corfu, as a 10 year old animal enthusiast It s charming because it is beautifully written It s charming because it is humorous It s charming because his family is so colonial and ooze Englishness but at the same time are quite unconventional For all those reasons, I would recommend this book and indeed, I had a fe This is a perfectly charming memoir written by Gerald Durrell, a well known British naturalist and zookeeper It s charming because it chronicles his experiences with his family on Corfu, as a 10 year old animal enthusiast It s charming because it is beautifully written It s charming because it is humorous It s charming because his family is so colonial and ooze Englishness but at the same time are quite unconventional For all those reasons, I would recommend this book and indeed, I had a few chuckles over the antics of the various animals I hadchuckles when the humans were involved, though, as I found the family dynamics really funny, if not entirely realistic.It s a lovely palette cleanser between the heavy literary fiction I ve been reading, that is certain It s an escape to not only another country and time, but also from reality This story, while having a certain truth that comes with memoirs, has been distinctly sanitised If this is to be believed, this family s biggest troubles are that one of their dogs hips comes out of place from time to time, or that they ve argued over the naming of a homemade boat, or that they had too many guests to comfortably accommodate.It s a sweet, Winnie The Pooh world It s an uncomplicated, kind rendering of all characters and animals within If you can settle into this, you will no doubt enjoy yourself If you are looking for anything beyond, you ll find yourself looking longingly over your TBR list, where the complexities of Updike, Franzen, Laurence, Atwood, and many others beckon.3.5 stars I went back and decided to write a review on this non fictional novel memoir not all events are fully true I believe which is considered by some to be a modern classic I remember finding a box of Gerald Durrell stories on the shelf as a twelve year old and reading them in luxury They captivated me as Durrell told the story of his childhood in Corfu hunting animals Not only was it full of interesting facts about the animals he caught but also about the people in his life Told with wit, humo I went back and decided to write a review on this non fictional novel memoir not all events are fully true I believe which is considered by some to be a modern classic I remember finding a box of Gerald Durrell stories on the shelf as a twelve year old and reading them in luxury They captivated me as Durrell told the story of his childhood in Corfu hunting animals Not only was it full of interesting facts about the animals he caught but also about the people in his life Told with wit, humour and the pure ability of a natural storyteller this is a sort of autobiography that you can read as a novel full to the brim with short stories.If there s one thing Durrell does exceptionally well it s write description And my thought has always been that a gifted writer is a master of description His descriptive writing almost drips from the page so that you feel every detail in your imagination as a real sense However I would recommend this book and his other works because of the memories they ll leave with you after reading You ll laugh at the outrageous characters he meets, the wacky things his family gets up to and be fascinated by the details of everyday life magnified to an extraordinary degree The first from the trilogy and the first of Durrel s I ve ever read No words can express my love for this author and his immense sense of humor, pure and light, nothing topical or scathing beneath I remember vividly laughing out loud on the streets and on buses while reading it, so wisely consider your reading spot Howling with laughter in public places might cause you troubles, but the best part you won t care a bit and will always consider it worthy When I was a little girl, I dreamed of becoming a veterinarian someday I loved learning about animals We were never without a cat and a dog We were the proud owners of some clever parakeets One of them would perch on the back of the dog and hitch a ride around the living room Hobie the poodle was less enthused than Cocoa the bird I loved reading books about four legged critters Looking back, none of these things were all too astonishing didn t every little kid have pets and a desire to When I was a little girl, I dreamed of becoming a veterinarian someday I loved learning about animals We were never without a cat and a dog We were the proud owners of some clever parakeets One of them would perch on the back of the dog and hitch a ride around the living room Hobie the poodle was less enthused than Cocoa the bird I loved reading books about four legged critters Looking back, none of these things were all too astonishing didn t every little kid have pets and a desire to be a vet However, my parents drew the line at these domesticated, household pets Certainly a tortoise was out of the question, as was a lizard or a gecko A scorpion would not even have crossed my mind In fact, about five years ago I was cleaning out the basement, yanking down boxes that had traveled with my husband from his childhood home to his first home to the home we now share together There was a curious little wooden box among some of his old letters and cards to and from old teen aged flames yes, I peeked at these I opened the wooden box expecting to see a piece of jewelry or some curious memento from one of these girls Instead, what I found was the shell of a scorpion I m certain this would not have fazed Gerry Durrell in the least I, however, ceased my snooping for the day I later found out that this had been a treasured pet while my husband was away at college Cats and dogs weren t allowed in the dormitory, but apparently there were no rules about keeping a scorpion Gerry would have approved.This book is the first in Gerald Durrell s Corfu trilogy It s a memoir of his time as a youngster spent on that enchanting Greek island along with his mother and siblings It highlights his love for wildlife, his affinity with the natural world We get a glimpse of this conservationist and writer s first encounters with the animals he grew to cherish and protect on a professional level He tells his story with clarity and humor His family gets mixed up in the stories along the way, and this just added to the charm of the book I love the way he explains his intentions in the introductionIt was originally intended to be a mildly nostalgic account of the natural history of the island, but I made a grave mistake by introducing my family into the book in the first few pages Having got themselves on paper, they then proceeded to establish themselves and invite various friends to share the chapters It was only with the greatest difficulty, and by exercising considerable cunning, that I managed to retain a few pages here and there which I could devote exclusively to animals I laughed at so many of the personal anecdotes, savored the beautiful descriptions of the island, and was entertained by his interactions with many of the island locals The encounter with the Rose beetle Man what a fantastic figure this man must have been , a meeting with a convict let out for a temporary jaunt, and the appointments with various tutors including one with quite the impressive bird collection all pointed to the fact that Gerry lived quite an extraordinary young life I expected to be amused by and pleased with this story, but what I found to be a pleasant surprise was that Gerald Durrell could really write I didn t just highlight the funny stuff although there are loads of those bits marked up too , but passages like this one left me gaga over his choice of wordsGradually the magic of the island settled over us as gently and clingingly as pollen Each day had a tranquility, a timelessness, about it, so that you wished it would never end But then the dark skin of night would peel off and there would be a fresh day waiting for us, glossy and colourful as a child s transfer and with the same tinge of unreality Naturally, the stars of this memoir were the animals from Roger his faithful dog, to a pair of water snakes, to a tortoise wedding and honeymoon rated PG 13 , to a ferocious battle to the death between a praying mantis and a gecko, Gerry s descriptions are hilarious and compelling I loved the way he personified all of his creatures You can tell instantly that these are not just animals but an important and vibrant part of his life Don t forget that Roger is a dogRoger and I would squat by the hour in the heather, watching the tortoise knights in their ill fitting armour jousting for the ladies, and the contests never failed to entertain us Sometimes we would lay bets with each other as to which one was going to win, and by the end of the summer Roger had backed so many losers that he owed me a considerable amount of money Check out this rendezvous with a pair of toadsThey squatted there like two obese, leprous Buddhas, peering at me and gulping in that guilty way that toads have Holding one in each hand, it was like handling two flaccid, leathery balloons, and the toads blinked their fine golden filigreed eyes at me, and settled themselvescomfortably on my fingers, gazing at me trustfully, their wide, thick lipped mouths seeming to spread in embarrassed and uncertain grins There are plenty of other tales for you to discover on your own, should you choose to pick up this book which I highly recommend It s a wonderful diversion and was just what I needed at the moment It may be considered light reading yes, it is but it is certainly not without value I was rather interested to learn that Gerald Durrell was dedicated to protecting endangered species during his adult life An admirable endeavor indeed

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *