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My Family and Other Animals (1956)

by Gerald Durrell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Corfu Trilogy (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,1361461,995 (4.23)1 / 461
Biography & Autobiography. Nature. Travel. Nonfiction. HTML:The inspiration for The Durrells in Corfu, a Masterpiece production on public television: A naturalist's account of his childhood on the exotic Greek island.

When the Durrells could no longer endure the gray English climate, they did what any sensible family would do: sold their house and relocated to the sun-soaked island of Corfu.

As they settled into their new home, hilarious mishaps ensued as a ten-year-old Gerald Durrell pursued his interest in natural history and explored the island's fauna. Soon, toads and tortoises, bats and butterflies??as well as scorpions, geckos, ladybugs, praying mantises, octopuses, pigeons, and gulls??became a common sight in the Durrell villa.

Uproarious tales of the island's animals and Durrell's fond reflections on his family bring this delightful memoir to life. Capturing the joyous chaos of growing up in an unconventional household, My Family and Other Animals will transport you to a place you won't want to leave.

This ebook features an illustrated biography of Gerald Durrell including rare photos from the author's estate.<
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1950s (155)
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» See also 461 mentions

English (130)  Spanish (8)  Catalan (4)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (146)
Showing 1-5 of 130 (next | show all)
The humor here is incredibly dated and repetitive. ( )
  nog | Nov 20, 2023 |
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. I love nature and I love humorous writing, but the combination of the two just didn't work for me in this case. Much of the humour derives from people doing dumb or inconsiderate things, and then suffering the consequences very shortly afterwards. I just couldn't help but sympathise with the person who was wronged rather than seeing the funny side of a meal spoiled by the presence of scorpions or a poorly constructed boat.

The characters were not engaging, seen as they are through the naturally self-centred eyes of a child. And the colonialist elements really grated right throughout the book. I know that Corfu wasn't a part of the British Empire at the time, but just the general attitude of moving the whole family there, renting a villa and then admiring the picturesque "peasants" in the fields was too much for me. There's also a colonial aspect the ceaseless conquest of nature that the narrator carries out. Just when I found myself warming to him as he observed the natural world with the wonder of a child, he'd change tack and grab a wild animal and stick it in a cage or a tank. This rarely ended well for the animals, although the reader only finds out about their "amusing" endings, not the many which must have perished in more mundane ways.

Yes, I know that desire to capture and own animals is very normal in children. I also know that this book is not meant to be read earnestly, but somehow I just couldn't warm to it. ( )
  robfwalter | Jul 31, 2023 |
My only complaint for this book is that the author reproduces the speech impediments and incorrect English of some of the characters. This is very distracting, and has been considered poor form for several decades. When the book was published it was probably a common style, so the author isn't trying to make fun of the characters, but all the same it is irritating. ( )
  blueskygreentrees | Jul 30, 2023 |
High 3.

Not normally the sort of thing I would generally pick up, but I was pleasantly surprised.
An easy read with some fun anecdotes and good laughs. I may yet read another in the series. ( )
  TheScribblingMan | Jul 29, 2023 |
https://fromtheheartofeurope.eu/my-family-and-other-animals-by-gerald-durrell/

As a teenager, I read several of Gerald Durrell’s autobiographical notes on collecting animals in Africa with great interest and enthusiasm. Nowadays I’m not so sure about the ethics of bringing animals out of their home environments, to which they are well adapted, to be gawked at by Europeans in cages. I’m sure that there are good arguments to be made on both sides.

Anyway, this is the story of Durrell’s childhood on the island of Corfu, as the youngest of a large family who settled there in the 1930s. He was already a keen collector of animals, and clearly drove his eccentric relatives mad with the inevitable domestic accidents that took place. But it’s a very affectionate portrait of an untroubled childhood, even if it leans a little too much on the funny foreigners that happen to live in foreign parts. ( )
  nwhyte | May 7, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 130 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (71 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gerald Durrellprimary authorall editionscalculated
夏樹, 池澤Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barrett, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davenport, NigelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harper, GeraldNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morpurgo, MichaelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pacey, StevenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ullberg, MargaretaTranslatorsecondary 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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
My family and other animals is by Gerald (Malcolm) Durrell
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Biography & Autobiography. Nature. Travel. Nonfiction. HTML:The inspiration for The Durrells in Corfu, a Masterpiece production on public television: A naturalist's account of his childhood on the exotic Greek island.

When the Durrells could no longer endure the gray English climate, they did what any sensible family would do: sold their house and relocated to the sun-soaked island of Corfu.

As they settled into their new home, hilarious mishaps ensued as a ten-year-old Gerald Durrell pursued his interest in natural history and explored the island's fauna. Soon, toads and tortoises, bats and butterflies??as well as scorpions, geckos, ladybugs, praying mantises, octopuses, pigeons, and gulls??became a common sight in the Durrell villa.

Uproarious tales of the island's animals and Durrell's fond reflections on his family bring this delightful memoir to life. Capturing the joyous chaos of growing up in an unconventional household, My Family and Other Animals will transport you to a place you won't want to leave.

This ebook features an illustrated biography of Gerald Durrell including rare photos from the author's estate.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
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.
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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141321873, 0141037474, 0241951461

 

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