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21 April 2010

Book Review: My Family and Other Animals

My Family and Other Animals
by Gerald Durrell 


I loved this book. Usually, when one uses the word "pleasant" one is trying to come up with a polite way to not really weigh in with any force of emotion or feeling. But this book is honestly pleasant. Durrell has a wonderful way of sketching his amusing, quirky family, his adventures as a boy living on the Greek island of Corfu and his adventures with the animals he finds there, the peasants and convicts he befriends and the carefree life he is allowed to live.

Though Durrell is, ostensibly, a "nature" writer, his depictions of the people surrounding him are poignant and touching. And highly entertaining. Even the buildings in which they live come alive ("The villa was small and square, standing in its tiny garden with an air of pink-faced determination").

The whole feel of the pleasant idyll of the book can be summed up in the quote below;

"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 colourful as a child's transfer and with the same tinge of unreality."