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The Corfu Trilogy by Gerald Durrell

The Corfu Trilogy (2006)

by Gerald Durrell

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Gerald "Gerry" Malcolm Durrell was a British naturalist, zookeeper, conservationist, author and television presenter. This book contains three classic tales: “My Family and Other Animals”, “Birds Beasts and Relatives” and “The Garden of The Gods”. His mother moved with her three younger children (Leslie, Margaret and Gerald) to the Greek island of Corfu in 1935, joining her eldest son, Lawrence, who was living there with his wife. It was on Corfu that Durrell began to collect and keep the local fauna as pets. The family lived on Corfu until 1939. What is about this childhood memoir mostly on odd animals and island life so intriguing? It has to be the impossibility of us or our children having the chance of tasting natural, quiet childhood adventure... His curiosity of all living things and the hilarious events happening around the Durrell family pulls you into the Corfu island before WWII and keeps you in it until the very last of his words... ( )
  soontobefree | May 1, 2017 |
I have read and reread (several times) Gerald Durrell’s enchanting memoir My Family and Other Animals, and most of his other animal-collecting / Jersey Zoo tales but never until now the other two stories in the ‘Corfu Trilogy’, feeling, perhaps, that the first book could not really be outdone, and there was such a thing as too much of a good thing. The most immediate thing to happen, however, when I did finally pick up the amalgamated trilogy, was that it refreshed my appreciation for the first book, which I immediately went back and reread with renewed enthusiasm after reading the sequels.

Gerry’s family, the Greek cast of characters, and above all the tremendous influx of animals which young Gerry amasses, provides the author with more than enough material to fill three books without leaving the reader dissatisfied. I still feel that the charm and delight is stronger with the first book, but only because by the second we are thoroughly introduced and acquainted with the level of amiable chaos one can expect from any story involving the Durrells. If I had felt that perhaps the standard might be lower than the scorpions-in-the-matchbox scene which fixed My Family and Other Animals place as the best memoir I’d ever read, then I was proved wrong on more than one occasion (“How do you explain a bloody great bear in the drawing room?” – Larry Durrell, Birds, Beasts and Relatives). More to the point, Corfu doesn’t become over-described by Durrell’s revisited descriptions, but remains a bright, endlessly fascinating jewel of an island.

Is this a somewhat idealised view of a place and a life and group of people? Yes, absolutely. I think that’s why we love it; Durrell provides us with fact that is as endearing as fiction, perhaps overplayed sometimes, but nonetheless faithful to his childhood recollection. I think what I like most is that Durrell doesn’t apologise for his good fortune or his excellently eccentric family, doesn’t retroactively explain that attitudes to animal-collecting were different, or do anything but impart, with fondness and amusement, the highlights from the earliest days of his love-affair with animals which means that the reader is immersed in pure story, a memoir with no agenda but to entertain and enlighten. ( )
2 vote eleanor_eader | Mar 7, 2010 |
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The Corfu trilogy consists of the popular classic My family and other animals and its delightful sequels, Birds, beasts and relatives and The garden of the gods. All three books are set on the enchanted island of Corfu in the 1930s, and tell the story of the eccentric English family who moved there. For Gerald, the budding zoologist, Corfu was a natural paradise, teeming with strange birds and beasts that he could collect, watch and care for. But life was not without its problems - his family often objected to his animal-collecting activities, especially when the beasts wound up in the villa or, even worse, the fridge.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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