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A Zoo in My Luggage

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4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  2,690 ratings  ·  69 reviews
Fans of Gerald Durrell’s timeless classic My Family and Other Animals will love this hilarious tale, which finds him as an adult still charmed by his beloved animals. A Zoo in My Luggage begins with an account of Durrell’s third trip to the British Cameroons in West Africa, during which he and his wife capture animals to start their own zoo. Returning to England with a few ...more
Paperback, 199 pages
Published June 28th 2005 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 1962)
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A Zoo in My Luggage by Gerald DurrellAnimal Farm by George OrwellThe Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienKim by Rudyard KiplingAnne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery
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Community Reviews

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Phrynne
I'm sure I must have read this years ago along with the rest of his books, but I was quite happy to read it gain. Durrell's books are a bit dated now but they are still warm and funny and full of beautiful descriptions of the countryside and of facts about the many animals he meets along the way. This was a fairly light hearted and entertaining book which could have been designed for reading in a waiting room. This was where I read most of it and it served the purpose perfectly!
Carrie
I love Durrell's book the Amateur Naturalist, so I was excited to learn more about his life. But I was so disappointed by this book. His descriptions of Africa are beautiful and his animal stories are of course interesting, but I was surprised at just how arrogant an irresponsible he was, and how little his animals meant to him much of the time. He refers to them as "items" or "stuff" and has a very clear preference for the rare and exotic and the bragging rights that come with being the first t ...more
Biblioworm
Натолкнулся на аудиокнигу, где были собраны отрывки из различных книг Джеральда Даррела.
Это как раз тот случай, когда не надо делать никакой скидки на воспоминания детства.
Книги великолепны.

Книги Джеральда Даррела относятся к тому уникальному случаю, когда хороший специалист оказывается талантливым литератором.

Чтение таких книг неизбежно приводит к тому, что хочется посвятить свою жизнь описываемой профессии, так увлекательно о ней рассказывается.
Естественно, увлекательна любая профессия, когда
...more
Minnie Romanovich
Enough good things can't be said about Gerald Durrell and his amazing (true) animal stories. Touching, clever, interesting, very witty and thoroughly compelling. I have seven of his books already, and my collection is steadily growing.

Highly recommended.
Ensiform
The true and amusing tale of how Durrell went to the Cameroons to acquire animals for his own zoo, which was then set up on Jersey in the Channel Islands. It’s apparent how much Durrell loves wildlife, or at least collecting it; and he knows how to write with fluidity and humor. I think the story was marred by Durrell’s authorial ego (he criticizes his wife for clucking over and anthropomorphizing the cute animals, but he does it all the time himself; he assumes that collecting animals from thei ...more
Angelica Bentley
This is an autobiographical account of how Gerald Durrell (an already much experienced “animal rustler”) assembled his own private collection of exotic animals which, in due course and against considerable odds, became the backbone of his zoo on the island of Jersey (now the Durrell Wildlife Park).

I would not normally want to read about wild animals in a zoo, but this is the story of a passionate animal lover who is committed to doing what it takes to save at least some of the species that manki
...more
Heather
I was excited to begin this read of Gerald Durrell, founder of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, an incredible Non-Profit Organization. However, I was pretty shocked at how Durrell's writing, in this particular book, stereotyped the Africans that he encountered (to put it mildly!) Today, conservationists typically don't think it's a great idea to roam the countryside, stealing rare baby animals from their mothers, to put into cages and bring back to the collector's homeland with little id ...more
Tal
What happens when the charming, animal-obsessed boy of the classic memoirs My Family and Other Animals and Birds, Beasts and Other Relatives grows up? He founds a zoo, of course. On his third trip to West Africa, he and his wife capture animals for this enterprise. Upon returning to England, however, they have nowhere to put the animals - Cholmondeley the chimpanzee, Bug-eye the bush baby, and others - as managing his menagerie proves to be just as adventurous as capturing the creatures. A Zoo i ...more
Katie
No matter how 'out of date' his books may be now, Gerald Durrell remains an absolute pleasure to read. Not only does he have a wealth of fascinating experience from which to draw, he has an excellent eye for detail. His style is dry, amusing, and full of that oh-so-English litotes which is so rarely seen in newer writing. I often found myself laughing out loud at his delightful way of phrasing things.

I did find the constant use of pigdin grated a little. However, this was mostly because it sound
...more
William
Entertaining, but very very light in the depth department. Good for real brain candy when you don't want to think even a little.
Derek
read travelling Indonesia in 1990: http://www.5cense.com/15/404.htm
g-na
This is an autobiographical story about a visit Durrell took to British Cameroon (now Republic of Cameroon) to collect animals for a zoo in the U.K. On one hand, it was an interesting slice of a zoologist's life at a particular point in history. On the other, the way his "research" was conducted was completely irresponsible when measured against today's standards, and I found that difficult to read.

Durrell decided he wanted to open a zoo so he first travelled to Africa to capture animals, kept t
...more
Kathy
Hilarious! I've read many books by Gerald Durrell, several of which involve his animal-collecting trips all over the world to obtain creatures for his small zoo in the Channel Islands. This book covers a 6-month collecting trip in Cameroon and his tongue-in-cheek descriptions of his adventures and MISadventures with animals is delightful and had me laughing out loud. I had to google several of the animals having never heard of such creatures as water chevrotains and bushbabies.
Robin
British naturalist Gerald Durrell and others travel to Africa on an animal collecting trip in this non-fiction book. He tells some great stories about getting animals and visiting (i.e. drinking) with a local headman. Though he had wanted to use the animals in a zoo in Great Britain, he eventually was able to find property in Jersey - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durrell_....
Shay Noble
Tiring of collecting animals for others, Durrell and his wife set about collecting for a zoo of their very own. We follow them through their journey of the Cameroon's where they capture as many werid and wonderful beasts and they can carry. After finding all of their animals they return to the UK and begin the task of finding a site to set up their zoo, a task much harder and more frustrating than it sounds.

It took me a long time to get through Durrell's novel as I just couldn't get into it. Whi
...more
Marie Knock
It takes a few chapters to warm up, but after that it's gripping. I read it all in one afternoon. It's not for those who are used to fiction or controllable life tales, but for anyone who is remotely interested in wildlife and conservation it's a must read.
Jocelyn
Fun to re-read after decades! Not sure what feels more dated - the innocent enjoyment of pidgin English, or the gifts of cigarettes in exchange for favours :-)

Borrowed from Colin
Wendy Waring
Read this while in Cape Town for three months.
Durrell's use of the local creole Camtok and the local Black labour force is unabashedly colonialist, and at times he is condescending and rather heartless as he bullies people into doing whatever it takes to get his animals. (Sure, risk your boat, your livelihood, to get me this animal. I promise I'll buy you another if necessary...) So as a transparent anthropological view to the attitudes of Whites at the time, it was enlightening.
I enjoyed the a
...more
Rosemary
A Zoo in My Luggage is a book of its time. Published in 1960, this is the true story of one of Gerald Durrell's "animal collecting" trips to the Cameroons (then held as colonies by Britain and France) in the late 1940s. A reviewer of the present day would no doubt remark on the strange pidgin English spoken by the Cameroonians (and Durrell), the stereotyping of Africans, and the methods of animal collecting, or indeed if Durrell should have been doing that at all. Those would be valid points, I ...more
Tejas Janet
This is only the second Gerald Durrell book for me, and while I enjoyed it, I didn't find it as purely entertaining as My Family and Other Animals. Durrell means to write with humor and a measure of humility, but unwittingly comes off as patronizing and even arrogant in his approach both to the Cameroons and to the animals he has come to collect. This is most unfortunate because I don't believe this to be an accurate characterization of the man whose lifework led to the founding of the Durrell W ...more
Ape
It's been a few years since I read a Durrell book (The Bafut Beagles) and it turns out I seem to be picking up the story where it left off, as this book accounts Durrell's second journey back to Cameroon and the Bafut area - once again on another animal collecting expedition. As with the other book, this can feel a little uncomfortable at times, and you have to remember this was going on in the 1950s - times and attitudes have changed. Here Durrell wants to create his own zoo, having grown tired ...more
Kamisha
I was excited to read this book because I'm always excited to read anything having to do with zoos or animals that go in zoos, but it kind of disappointed me. It was interesting but it wasn't quite what I was looking for. The wording Durrell uses to describe his animals isn't always very flattering and sometimes I couldn't help but think he was only trying to acquire as many exotic species as possible. I'm sure there were good intentions behind everything he did but I think he could have express ...more
Ian Smith
The usual adjectives apply - delightful, witty, charming, humorous.......it's another of the classic Durrell tales of animal collection expeditions; this one describing his return to what was then the British Cameroon, and the whisky-fuelled hospitality of the Fon of Bafut.

But there's plenty to criticise. Anthropomorphism? Tick. Politically incorrect caricatures of Africa? Tick. Unhealthy glorification of tobacco and alcohol? Tick. Animal rights? Nowhere to be seen. And yet I still love this bo
...more
Shawna
I was skeptical as to whether I would enjoy this as much as the books about his young life on Corfu and therefore pleasantly surprised that I did. The escapades of the animals and the interactions with the Fon of Bafut make this a charming book about a by-gone time!
Kim
The last book for my A-Z challenge. Parts of the book were amusing where he described animal behaviour. He went out to Africa to collect animals with the view to opening a zoo. The local people were bringing various animals for him to buy and some of the monkeys were real characters.
Maria Marshall
Very enjoyable book, full of exciting and hilarious anecdotes of an Englishman off to Africa to collect animals for a zoo. Occasionally the "native" dialect was hard to follow, and made the book drag a bit. But overall, a fun book.
Rena Sherwood
Like a combination between David Attenborough and James Herriot, Durrell is a lively writer and animal lover. Here he recalls his misadventures while trying to collect animals for zoos (a practice frowned on today.)
Romi
It was wonderful, very much like the feel I know to prepare for when I read a Durrell, but at the same time this one was, for me, a little disappointing, until the end...
Armelle
I really wanted to like this book, but I couldn't get past my dislike of the near constant use of pidgin. The book is certainly dated, as evidenced by the descriptions of the people of West Africa, but I'd have been willing enough to accept that as a sign of the times if I hadn't had to wade through the pidgin.

I also question the wisdom of collecting his own menagerie BEFORE he had a zoo to put them in. That seemed to me extraordinarily irresponsible for someone who claims to be concerned with s
...more
Fran
I enjoyed a Zoo in m Luggage - some of it is very reminscent of My Family and Other Animals and Birds, Beasts and Other Relatives (such as the story of Chombeley the Chimp who wore Fair Isle sweaters knitted by Mrs. Durrell) - but it lacks the zaniness of his family. Also, alot of the dialogue is in pigdin English and it is slow reading through sometimes. I'm glad he did use it though, it brings out the rhythm and flavor of the speakers, but it does make the reading slower. If you are already a ...more
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Gerald 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 and the animals ...more
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My Family and Other Animals (Corfu Trilogy, #1) Birds, Beasts, and Relatives (Corfu Trilogy, #2) The Corfu Trilogy The Garden of the Gods (Corfu Trilogy, #3) Beasts In My Belfry

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