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My Family and Other Animals by Gerald…
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My Family and Other Animals (1956)

by Gerald Durrell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Corfu Trilogy (Book 1)

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3,396991,591 (4.27)353
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English (89)  Spanish (5)  Catalan (3)  Italian (1)  Finnish (1)  All (99)
Showing 1-5 of 89 (next | show all)
Perfect summer read. Funny; lots of laugh out loud moments. The natural history was really great too. Listened to on audio. Great narration by Hugh Bonneville.
  wintersdoor | Jul 2, 2017 |
A very entertaining memoir of 5 years in the authors life beginning when he was 10 (or 8 if you believe the biographical information at the beginning). I learned so much about insects and animals and was amazed at how bohemian their lifestyle was in the 1930s. Enjoyed it. ( )
  whymaggiemay | Jul 1, 2017 |
I gather this is a classic in Britain and not as well known here in Canada so I'm coming to it a bit late in life, but I enjoyed it no less for that. Gerald Durrell doubtless incorporates a great deal of exaggeration and fabrication, but it's great fun and hilarious throughout. He sends up caricatures of his entire family, all in good fun since his preface suggests they condescended to it. Most fascinating for me was his oldest brother Lawrence, who became a notable author in his own right. I've not read Lawrence yet, but Gerald sets a high bar with his fantastic descriptive passages. This work amply proves his passion was for animals, but his skill in telling it could convince me he had as great a passion for literature. I'm not surprised to learn he also wrote some successful fiction.

Corfu in the 1930s is presented as an innocent time and place, highlighted in scenes like Spiro's casual handling of the customs officer and Gerald's total freedom to explore the countryside at his leisure, striking up friendships with the locals while remaining supervision-free. The story never bogs down, and even with my general disinterest in animals I enjoyed all of his stories about owls, turtles, etc., perhaps because they are all more like pet stories than zoology, even down to the insects and their habits that fascinated him. The island itself is brought just as brilliantly to life and nearly every chapter ends on an idyllic note. Granted it is always so with the best places we remember through childhood-goggles, but with Gerald's telling this locale and period feels like it earned and deserves the praise more than most. ( )
1 vote Cecrow | Jun 26, 2017 |
I first read this very funny book when I was in high school and subsequently tracked down and read most of Durrell's other works as well. This volume and the others about Corfu are the memories and emotions of a boy expressed in the sophisticated and poetic vocabulary of an adult. ( )
  ritaer | Mar 8, 2017 |
A very pleasant memoir. Ten-year old Gerry spends a year on Corfu - his family just got tired of gloomy English weather.
The descriptions of the land and seasons are lyrical. You learn a lot about the flora and fauna - Gerry collects the most amazing assortment of birds, reptiles, etc. His family doesn't always approve. But his family is at least as oddball as the pets. The scorpion incident was pretty funny, as long as you weren't actually present for the excitement. Larry catches on fire, but his only damage from it is a hang-over.
Gerry wears out several tutors, each with a unique personality.
Definitely a fun book and a quick read - perfect for bookclub. ( )
  CarolJMO | Dec 12, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gerald Durrellprimary authorall editionscalculated
Barrett, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"It is a melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed the sundry contemplation of my travels, which, by often rumination, wraps me in a most humorous sadness."--As You Like It
Dedication
To My Mother
First words
This is the story of a five-year sojourn that I and my family made on the Greek island of Corfu.
Quotations
From that moment I guarded the nest jealously. I erected a protecting wall of rocks round it, and as an additional precaution I wrote out a notice in red ink and stuck it on a pole nearby as a warning to the family. The notice read: "BEWAR - EARWIG NEST - QUIAT PLESE." It was only remarkable in that the two correctly spelt words were biological ones.
Gradually 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 colorful as a child's transfer and with the same tinge of unreality.
'But how did the scorpions get on the table, dear?’
'That bloody boy. . . . Every matchbox in the house is a deathtrap. . . . '
Mother, looking like a tiny, harassed missionary in an uprising, was dragged unwillingly to the nearest lamp-post by an exuberant Roger, and was forced to stand there, staring into space, while he relieved the pent-up feelings that had accumulated in his kennel.
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My family and other animals is by Gerald (Malcolm) Durrell
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0142004413, Paperback)

As a self-described "champion of small uglies," English writer Gerald Durrell (1925-1995) devoted his life to writing and the preservation of wildlife, from the Mauritius pink pigeon to the Rodriques fruit bat. My Family and Other Animals was intended to embrace the natural history of the Greek island of Corfu, but ended up as a delightful account of his family's experiences that were, according to him, "rather like living in one of the more flamboyant and slapstick comic operas."

As a 10-year-old boy, Gerry left England for Corfu with "all those items that I thought necessary to relieve the tedium of a long journey: four books on natural history, a butterfly net, a dog, and a jam-jar full of caterpillars all in imminent danger of turning into chrysalids." Durrell's descriptions of his family and its many eccentric hangers-on (he stresses that "all the anecdotes about the island and the islanders are absolutely true") are highly entertaining, as is the procession of toads, scorpions, geckos, ladybugs, glowworms, octopuses, the puppies Widdle and Puke, and the Magenpies. This is a lovely book.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:22 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

A memoir of an English boy growing up on the Greek island of Corfu recounts the author's humorous adventures as he collects all kinds of animals and insects and brings them back to the house, much to his family's dismay.

» see all 7 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141321873, 0141037474, 0241951461

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