About the book: “Durrell’s autobiographical account of his childhood, concentrating on his time spent in Corfu 1935-39, is rich with both humour and naturalist observations on the ecosystems and nature of the island. A heartfelt and warming account of island life that impacted significantly on tourism in Corfu, this memoir is one for listeners all ages and inclinations.
The book is an autobiographical account of five years in the childhood of naturalist Gerald Durrell. The book is divided into three sections, marking the three villas in which the family lived on the island. Apart from Gerald (the youngest) and Larry, the family comprised their widowed mother, the gun-mad Leslie, and diet-obsessed sister Margo together with Roger the dog. They are fiercely protected by their taxi-driver friend Spiro (Spyros “Americano” Chalikiopoulos) and mentored by the polymath Dr Theodore Stephanides who provides Gerald with his education in natural history. Other human characters, chiefly eccentric, include Gerald’s private tutors, the artistic and literary visitors Larry invites to stay, and the local peasants who befriend the family. An audio treat for young and old.”
This is such a lovely audiobook narrated expertly by Hugh Bonneville aka Lord Grantham of Downton Abbey.
I listened to this a few years ago and loved it, so when I spotted it on via the Libby app I couldn’t resist listening to it again. Sadly it’s an abridged version so instead of being just over ten hours it’s just under four and a half.
Gerald Durrell’s observation skills of both animals and people were incredible, I really did feel that I got to know his family extremely well. I didn’t particularly like them, apart from Gerry and his mother, as his siblings were just awful. Whether they were really like that or there was an awful lot of artistic license to make the book more interesting, I’ll never know. I felt really sorry for his mother having to put up with her older sons and their patronising behaviour towards her.
I loved hearing about Gerry interaction with the island’s flora and fauna, making me go back in time to 1930s Corfu when the island would’ve been full of life. I particularly enjoyed the chapters about the scoops owl, the tortoises and the geckos and mantids, fascinating stuff!
As I mentioned above Hugh Bonneville reads this and he is brilliant! I particularly liked his portrayal of Spiro and Dr Theodore Stephanides.
I definitely recommend this if you looking for a lighter nonfiction book.