My Family and other Animals is a good book, it's full of fanciness and enjoyment, and tales of a life in a past period that has an indescribable magic.
My Family and other Animals tells the tale of Durrell's rather relaxing childhood on the Greek island of Corfu. One day the boring English skies are too depressing for the Durrell family and they decide to move somewhere hotter. These skies are ‘boring’ because it is always ‘grey’, due to the rainy weather of England. They sell the house they have just bought and move to Corfu, an island to the west of Greece. None of the persons in the family speak Greek but that does not worry them. A local taxi driver who has spent eight years in Chicago makes friends with them and looks after them. Mrs Durrell wants a villa with a bathroom and the taxi driver finds them the only one available on Corfu.
The magic comes in the delightful, or at times unusual, way in which he describes not only the animals and island, but all the people he encounters there. The whole book is totally relaxing - and his family rather puts objection to scenarios like finding a matchbox full of scorpions, when, after all, a simple match was all that was required. It's full of facts and detail about the animals he encounters, with a bit of naturalism.
Gerald (or Gerry, as his family kindly call him), the youngest member of the family, turns the family villa into a zoo, bringing in a tortoise named Achilles, scorpions, snakes, two baby magpies and a seagull named Alecko. One funny story follows another, as the rest of the family meet dangerous animals in unexpected places around the house at any time of the day or night.
My favourite parts were the funny bits which included many memorable quotes such as when Leslie (Gerald’s brother) sees his mother’s new dog and says, “Good God, it looks like a sea slug!” The whole family seem quite mad and the title “My family and other Animals” certainly seems very appropriate. Many of the things Gerald is...