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The Garden of The Gods by Gerald Durell

The Garden of The Gods (original 1978; edition 1978)

by Gerald Durell

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268742,397 (4.07)22
Title:The Garden of The Gods
Authors:Gerald Durell
Info:Collins, London, 1978
Collections:First edition., Signed., Your library
Tags:Autobiography. English. First Edition. Signed.

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The Garden of the Gods by Gerald Durrell (1978)



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This is the third volume of the author´s trilogy about his life in Corfu in the 30s immediately prior to the Second World War.

Gerard Durrell has a unique gift for writing hilarious prose. He is particularly humorous when describing the heterogeneous members of his family, who are continually arguing and quarrelling amongst themselves.

The head of the household is Mother, whose main characteristic is her placatory nature (Oh, I´m sure he didn´t mean it, Larry!). Otherwise she is constantly occupied with creating delicious meals and searching for new, appetizing recipes.

Larry is the eldest – he is exceedingly intellectual and highly literary; he always expresses his true opinions about everything, particularly the irritating activities of the others, especially Gerry and his animals, and generally furnishes literary allusions to these activities. Larry is perpetually inviting eccentric friends, acquaintances, and even people he doesn´t know, for long stays with the family, generally forgetting to warn Mother, who is the one who has to cook for, and otherwise attend to, them. Later Larry becomes a famous author, whose works include the illustrious “Alexandria Quartet”.

Leslie, on the other hand, is by no means intellectual, but a ballistics expert; he is obsessed with guns and hunting, and has other practical talents.

Margo, the only girl, is generally preoccupied with her latest romantic predilection. She is good at sewing/knitting and the like; when stressed she has difficulty in finding the correct words (“It´s an eye for an ear.”)

Gerry, the author, who is the youngest, a boy of about ten, has an amazing talent in the field of natural history. With his patient dog Roger, he spends hours lying on his tummy observing the spectacular behaviour of tiny insects, spiders and the like; he is always bringing home wounded birds and other animals to add to his vast collection, to Larry´s despair.

The maid Lugaretzia, a hypochondriac, regales the family daily on the progress of her various bodily ailments.

There is also Spiro, an irascible Greek, who takes the family under his wing and, knowing everyone on the island, is able to help them with all sorts of practical problems, including bribing judges, His English is somewhat broken and he adds an “s” at the end of every word.

Theodore visits the family every Thursday and they ply him with questions, since he is extremely knowledgeable about all conceivable matters. He is “everything to everyone”. He could discuss herbs and recipes with Mother and supply her with detective stories; with Margo he could talk of diets and ointments that could remedy spots, pimples and acne (which she was plagued with); he could converse on a par with Larry; he could enlighten Leslie on the history of firearms in Greece; and illuminate Gerry on the mating habits of various frogs, spiders or whatever.

There is the lecherous, old mariner Captain Creech, who has amorous designs on Mother, and in particular her body, and whose lewd language is far from what she deems acceptable.

These are just a few of the intriguing characters that frequented the Durrell household.

I strongly recommend that you read this book. Gerald Durrell has an exceptional literary talent, not to mention his exquisite talents as a humorist; moreover, his observations of natural history are fascinating, even to a reader like me who is not normally particularly interested in such matters. ( )
  IonaS | May 29, 2016 |
This is the third of Gerald Durrell's semi autobiographical accounts of his life in Corfu as a child.

I assume the descriptions of his animal collecting trips are accurate, since he made detailed records, and that the conversations and anecdotes of family life are somewhat embellished. Not being all that interested in the animal world, I rather skimmed over those sections, as I find the family sections a great deal more enjoyable.

It's not so much fun as the first two books in the series - My Family and Other Animals, and Birds, Beasts and Relatives - but is worth reading nonetheless. Three and a half stars would be fairer. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
The third book in the Corfu trilogy and Durrell or his publisher are clearly milking the market. While My Family and Other Beasts was creative and original, the second and especially the third volumes in the trilogy are derivative and playing on the aura of the first book.
This third volume lacks any pretence to being an extension of the first two book, and seems to be made up of material dropped from the earlier books. I think that decision to drop the material was probably well founded.
Read July 2014. ( )
1 vote mbmackay | Jul 20, 2014 |
I have only one criticism of this book and that is at only 188 pages it is far too short. How I longed for it to continue! This is the final instalment of Gerald Durrell's 'Corfu Trilogy' in which he tells of his 'truly happy and sunlit childhood' and like the previous 'Birds, Beasts and Relatives' is not so much a continuation of the original 'My family and Other Animals' as another addition, with scenes often slotting in amongst the previous two books. This is a truly delightful book full of the sunshine and wonder of the previous two books but with even richer descriptions of the wildlife and island scenery than before that I felt that I too was there, going on expeditions with the young Gerry and staying at the villa and attending the family's crazy parties. A very fitting finale to this excellent trilogy and great reading for all who love animals, or simply enjoy experiencing true joie de vivre. ( )
3 vote Bowerbirds-Library | Jan 3, 2011 |
This is the finish to the trilogy of books Durrell wrote about growing up on Corfu. I love all three books for their combination of family memoir and natural history. Durrell writes well and these books are very funny so beware of reading them on public transportation!

These books delighted me as a middle-school aged kid when I read them before and they are just as delightful now as I aspire to adulthood. Some day I will at least visit Corfu, but my true fantasy is to find a strawberry pink villa there in which to retire in splendor. ( )
2 vote kraaivrouw | Jan 9, 2010 |
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This book is for Ann Peters, at one time my secretary and always my friend, because she loves Corfu and probably knows it better than I do.
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That summer was a particularly rich one; it seemed as if the sun had drawn up a special bounty from the island for never had we had such an abundance of fruit and flowers, never had the sea been so warm and filled with fish, never had so many birds reared their young, or butterflies and other insects hatched and shimmered across the countryside.
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The enchanted island of Corfu was home to Gerald Durrell and his family for five years before the Second World War. For the passionate young zoologist, Corfu was a natural paradise, teeming with strange birds and beasts taht he couldcollect, watch and care for. But life was not without its problems - Gerald's family often objected to his animal collecting activities, especially when the beasts wound up in the family's villa or even worse - the fridge - container.… (more)

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