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Birds, Beasts, and Relatives (Corfu Trilogy #2)

4.32  ·  Rating Details ·  3,868 Ratings  ·  173 Reviews
Part coming-of-age autobiography and part nature guide, Gerald Durrell’s dazzling sequel to My Family and Other Animals is based on his boyhood on Corfu, from 1933 to 1939. Originally published in 1969 but long out of print, Birds, Beasts, and Relatives is filled with charming observations, amusing anecdotes, boyhood memories, and childlike wonder.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 29th 2004 by Penguin Books (first published 1969)
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Kevin Ansbro
"Gollys, Mrs Durrells," he said, his face red with wrath. "Why don'ts yous lets Masters Leslies shoot the son of a bitch?"

In life, Gerald Durrell would light up a room. His books elicit that same, warm feeling.
His affection for the natural world lives on in the minds of those of us, who for decades, have enjoyed his magical stories.
This is the second part of his Corfuan trilogy, continuing on from where My Family and Other Animals left off.

The bohemian Durrells have eschewed middle-class Eng
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
It takes me awhile to finish Durrell's books. They're not meant to be hurried through. When I do finish I'm a little sad, because I want him to just keep telling me more and more stories.

I was afraid this one might not measure up to the first one, My Family and Other Animals. But this second one was every bit as enchanting and entertaining as the first. The two books give an account of the years the Durrell family spent living on the Greek island of Corfu in the 1930s.

Gerry was the youngest in
So when I began listening to this, the second of Gerald Durrell’s Corfu Trilogy,I was thinking this is supposed to be funny, but then I actually caught myself smiling! By the end, when this family had thoroughly taken me in, I was laughing outright. Here, in this book, the naturalist, conservationist and author writes of his youth in Corfu during the thirties. This is a very Victorian, English family, and I don’t usually enjoy the formality and stiffness of Victorian mores. Yet this family is an ...more
Dov Zeller
This book is beautiful, funny, full of reverence, mischief and curiosity. I can't say I loved it as much as the first book of the Corfu trilogy, but maybe that is only because I am no longer surprised by Durrell's storytelling skills.

Some of my favorite comic scenes: the arrival of Max and Donald and the whole first encounter (brilliant). The story of Sally the donkey. Gerry's meal with Countess Mavrodaki. The London interlude and encounter with Mrs. Haddock.

I also really loved reading about th

This was my personal favourite of Gerald Durrell's works that I read as a child. It is as wittily dry as My Family and Other Animals and the prose is also as rich and lush.

Where Durrell excels, and what I remember him for, is in how he creates an entire book consisting of fragments of short stories. It really reads as an entire story chronicling his life, though many details are no doubt highly exaggerated. If you are a fan of humour, autobiographies, short stories and full novels then this is
Feb 21, 2010 Kspeare rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, nonfiction, animals
This book contains, for my money, quite possibly the funniest scene in the English language. The characters are the author's family and friends (and they are characters in every sense of the word) along with the various fauna of Corfu and, truthfully, the island itself.

Durrell used the proceeds from his writing to found and nurture the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust, the first zoo in the world founded specifically for the breeding and conservation of endangered species. Should you ever be i
Apr 25, 2011 Ali rated it really liked it
Having read the first installment "My Family and other Animals" quite recently I was looking forward to reading more about the young Durrell and his hilariously eccentric family. Continuing the story of Gerry Durrells life on the island of Corfu` As with the first memoir Gerald Durrell demonstrates how his fascination - verging on obsession with all creatures began, and how it really is no surprise that he became the man that he did. His enthusiasm for even the most unappealing creatures is quit ...more
May 28, 2016 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This second book of Gerald Durrell's Corfu trilogy isn't quite as good as the first one ("My Family and Other Animals"). However, if you like his style of writing this is worth reading. It has plenty of natural history, funny anecdotes and quirky personalities, making it a pleasant and quick read.
Sep 10, 2015 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Durrell. Can I please move to Corfu?
Jun 29, 2011 Angie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a charming, witty and warm book.

I have loved 'My Family and Other Animals' now for so long I can hardly remember but oddly enough had never dipped into parts 2 and 3 of the trilogy so evocatively written by Gerald Durrell.

His sheer joy and love of life and his hugely eccentric family living in pre-war Corfu with seemingly no cares in the world comes through in waves of deliciously written prose. Its so gorgeous its a bit like treating yourself to a knickerbocker glory when you fancy an ic
Ian Smith
Nov 17, 2012 Ian Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometime between 1969 (when it was published) and 1971, I first read this gorgeous book. How do I know? Because on reading it for the first time, I was enthralled by Durrell's delightful description of discovering 'The Sacred Beetle and Others' by Jean Henri Fabre for the first time. So much so, that when an old version of Fabre's classic - the very same version Durrell describes as 'the squat, green book' - came up for sale in our school library, I immediately bought it. And it cost me 4s 6d - ...more
Nov 01, 2009 Caitlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
This is the second in a trilogy of books about his childhood on Corfu that Gerald Durrell wrote in part to subsidize his collecting habit. Durrell, the brother of Lawrence Durrell, was an author, naturalist, and conservationist. He founded the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Jersey Zoo.

I was first introduced to him by my Seattle grandparents, Wayne and Lorene, who I remember sitting up in their big king-sized bed with me, all of us reading Gerald Durrell books and laughing and stoppi
Mar 08, 2012 Leslie rated it really liked it
Shelves: bio-memoirs
This is the second book in Gerald Durrell's Corfu trilogy. It probably ought to have been combined with the first into one book. It covers the same time period of this hilarious family's life but is not actually "what comes next". It's just more of same. And it is wonderful. I had a grin on my face while reading it and broke into hysterical cackling giggle fits at times. Great fun. I can't wait to read the last one.
Jul 11, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie, TA
This is the second book of the "Corfu trilogy" which I am loving even more.

Its sequel is The Garden of the Gods.
Feb 20, 2017 Dave rated it really liked it
Shelves: sunshine
Most of the time I overrate books I've just finished, since they often have a positive glow about them that takes a while to fade. And then years later I wonder what I saw in them.

With Gerald Durrell, I think it's the opposite--I can remember My Family and Other Animals so well, and I'm sure I sold it short at the time. That book has a durable glow.

This one is also glowing: more funny stories about the Durrell family (their time on Corfu retold, with fewer logistics and more anecdotes), the ani
I enjoyed the first book of the Corfu Trilogy immensely, but I may have enjoyed this one slightly more. I didn't realize before that the Durrell family stayed on the island of Corfu in Greece for 5 years. So these books cover Gerald's experiences from ages 10 to 15. This book adds in more layers of anecdotes from the family's time on Corfu during those 5 years and recalls more animals that Gerald encountered during that time. This book seems to have been the basic spark of inspiration for more o ...more
Iona  Stewart
May 01, 2016 Iona Stewart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second volume of the authors delightful Corfu trilogy.

Ive presented an overview of some of the main characters in this trilogy in my review of the third volume, “The garden of the Gods”.

In the present book Margo, Mother and Gerald take a trip to the home country to seek treatment for Margos glandular condition, though Larry says its just puppy fat. In England Margo experiments with spiritualism and has a spirit guide called Mawake.

The family returns to Corfu, and we are introduced to
Aug 19, 2010 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are few writers who are as skilled at relating an anecdote as Gerald Durrell. His writing has a way of capturing the people, animals and situations that he encounters perfectly; reading this book was almost as good as being in Corfu with Durrell and his madcap family. Reading about the family again was a welcome return after their absense in A Zoo in My Luggage. As the people that Gerals Durrell knows best, they all have well-developed and entertaining personae within the book and are funn ...more
I think I was around 10 years old when I first read Durrell and his adventures in the idyllic island of Corfu. I identified myself with his childhood, thanks to the summers I spent in my maternal grandparents' home - an idyllic village in the middle of coastal yet jungle-ish South Kenara, where we had access to all kinds of animals, pests, pets and we got to see all we could about nature. As I read that short essay in one of my English text books (yeah, that was some fancy syllabus we had then, ...more
Nov 12, 2011 Ruth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
c1969: I had been introduced to Mr Durrell's writing by a really great primary school teacher. I was also intrigued that books by his brother were highly regarded by my erudite father. This was a much easier read! I loved the individual family members and although widely known that the book was not strict with the time lines, it made no difference. In fact, I was rather pleased with that as I often wonder how everyone seems to remember conversations word for word, date for date, from so long ago ...more
Dec 13, 2010 Merry rated it it was amazing
A sweet little book that is a sequel to My Family and Other Animals. The books are based on the author's life as a young boy on the island of Corfu from 1933 to 1939 just before World War II. Beautifully written, as the reader you are transported to the island to live among his many creatures and humorous family adventures.
Txe Polon
Esta segunda parte se lee como una continuación natural de la primera, sin notarse siquiera signos de cansancio: es más, los personajes terminan de hacerse redondos y las anécdotas resultan más divertidas, si bien hay menos animales de cuatro (o seis u ocho) patas y más de solo dos patas. Es una lástima que el último relato sea el más insustancial del libro, ya que hace que se termine la lectura de forma un tanto descafeinada, pero con ganas de continuar con la tercera y última parte.
Jun 17, 2014 Christopherseelie rated it it was amazing
A hearty, warm series of episodes on the island of Corfu before the war. Rich in characters, both flora and fauna, Birds Beasts and Relatives is a novel of encounters. Through the young protagonist we encounter local eccentrics, hedgehogs, sea horses, donkeys, dogs, and yes: relatives.

Read this if you want a friendly diversion in a pastoral world.
Israel Montoya Baquero
Quizá algo menos, algo menos sorprendente, que su predecesor. Aun así, Gerald Durrell nos sigue fascinando con las disparatadas aventuras de su peculiar familia en Corfu.
Y si, sigo enamorado del personaje de Spiro...que grandes hijodeputas :)
Florin Pitea
May 12, 2016 Florin Pitea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book to pieces. Just as charming, funny and unforgettable as its predecessor. Now... Where do I get the last volume in the trilogy?
May 01, 2016 Alicea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Remember when I reviewed Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals? Well, I was so impressed by it that I went ahead and requested the second in the trilogy (did I mention it was a memoir trilogy?) and it was a pretty good time. Birds, Beasts, and Relatives contains more anecdotal tales of the Durrell family when they lived in Corfu, Greece in the 1930s. I loved how it started with the family discussing the popularity of the first book and how embarrassed they were at how Gerald aka Gerry por ...more
Jacqueline Wagenstein
През 1935 година семейството на Даръл се премества на гръцкия остров Корфу, където той събира екземпляри от местната фауна и ги превръща в свои домашни любимци. Именно периодът до 1939 г. вдъхновява бестселъра „Моето семейство и други животни“ и последвалите го „Птици, зверове и роднини“ и „Градината на боговете“. Не по-малко комично и увлекателно от първата книга, настоящото четиво обогатява идиличната картина на райския остров, където любимецът на поколения читатели Джери Даръл научава все пов ...more
Apr 14, 2015 Kapila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
My mum introduced me to Gerald Durrell's writing when I was small. She would read aloud from his books. I remember laughing with her, at the stories - though have long since forgotten which ones they were. Funny that my memory of her reading, all rosy-and-golden as happy childhood memories are, run parallel to the idyllic, Eden-like adventures Gerald Durrell speaks of. What a rich and happy childhood he seems to have led, one filled with curiosity, play, adventure, idle time, and learning? (Remi ...more
Josh Blinder
Jun 17, 2014 Josh Blinder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-s
This and Gerald Durrell's previous family memoir, MY FAMILY AND OTHER ANIMALS, are old favorites of mine. Durrell manages to be uproariously funny and poetic of heart all in the same book. If you never dreamed there'd be beauty and high drama in zoology and entomology, you might very well be swayed after you read young Gerry's excursions into the gardens, forests and sea waters on and around Corfu.

There are a few liberties with the facts: When the Durrell family lived on Corfu in the Thirties,
Mainly because his formerly more famous but less gifted brother Larry was such an idiot and asshole, I came perilously close to just throwing this particular book into a bin. That would have been a mistake, since it contains scenes and anecdotes to rival his first memoirs in Corfu, which I'd still put atop the world's greatest books.

Surely these books inspired a tourism craze in Corfu, possibly more than once. That's why it's so strange to infer that Gerald never settled in Corfu again, whereas
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Gerald "Gerry" Malcolm Durrell was born in India in 1925. His family settled on Corfu when Durrell was a boy and he spent his time studying its wildlife. He relates these experiences in the trilogy beginning with My Family and Other Animals, and continuing with Birds, Beasts and Relatives and The Garden of the Gods. In his books he writes with wry humour and great perception about both the humans ...more
More about Gerald Durrell...

Other Books in the Series

Corfu Trilogy (3 books)
  • My Family and Other Animals (Corfu Trilogy, #1)
  • The Garden of the Gods (Corfu Trilogy #3)

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“Per tutta risposta Mosè smise di bere quel nettare russo per guardarlo bene in faccia.
"Ciao vecchio finocchio", lo salutò. E poi ricominciò a bere e ad ubriacarsi.”
“Surely you're joking Theodore?' he protested. 'You mean to say that each snail is both a male and a female?'

'Yes indeed,' said Theodore, adding with masterly understatement, 'it's very curious.'

'Good God,' cried Larry. 'I think it's unfair. All those damned slimy things wandering about seducing each other like mad all over the bushes, and having the pleasures of both sensations. Why couldn't such a gift be given to the human race? That's what I want to know.”
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