The Glass Ocean

My Family and Other Animals

by Gerald Durrell

Overview: 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.

Elaine Marlin (10/18/18): This is the first book of a trilogy, from which The Durrells in Corfu, a Masterpiece production series, now in it's third season, is showing on PBS on Sunday nights.I needed to say that the idea for reading this book came from watching the miniseries, and discussing it with my writer sister, Marilyn Baron. She coerced me into watching the t.v. production! She and her husband, and I, in a separate state, have binge watched the first two seasons, and are happy the third season is now showing.

I found this book to be so well written, humorous, and insightful! The author is the youngest of four siblings who move, with their widowed mother, on a whim, from dreary England to sunny Corfu, a Greek island . It takes place in the 1930's. I will say that, as so many real political events were swirling around that time, Gerald keeps to his story of love of all animals and nature, and does not allow the topic to even slightly bend to these world events. It is written to honor and showcase wildlife, and his absolute devotion to all species of insects, birds and animals. The depth of information he gives, in light humorous descriptions, allowed me to enter his space, almost as a peeping tom.

His descriptions of characters who interacted with his family during their five years on the island, are hilarious! As a reader, I could almost smell the blossoms of the magnolia trees, feel the swaying of the olive trees in their groves, view the stunning sunsets, and taste the incredible food which his mother prepared for the family, and the multiple guests who found them throughout their stay!

The interactions of the animals with the various family members made me laugh on several occasions.For those interested, visit www.durrellwildlifeconservationtrust. This is not a romance or a murder mystery or espionage story. It is one of several books that Gerald wrote to pay tribute to his incredible childhood and love of all things natural. Luckily, the second of the trilogy just arrived from Amazon!
Rating: *****

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