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The Aye-Aye and I

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  771 ratings  ·  58 reviews
Here is the riveting tale of Gerald Durrell's adventures and misadventures in the enchanted forests of Madagascar, in search of the elusive Aye-aye. Once thought to be extinct, the Aye-aye, the beast with the magic finger, still lurks, though in fast dwindling numbers, in the forests of Madagascar. Durrell's mission to help save this strange creature turns into a madcap jo ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published July 12th 1994 by Touchstone Books (first published 1992)
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4.05  · 
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 ·  771 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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(3.5) Originally published in 1992, this was Durrell’s last book, a record of his final animal collecting expedition and ongoing conservation efforts in Madagascar. It has his usual warm, funny writing about both people and animals. I’ve seen aye-ayes in his zoo at Jersey and can attest to how strange but endearing these highly rare creatures are. I love his account of his first meeting with one: it bit his walking stick, combed his beard, and finally stuck its long E.T. finger in his ear! “To a ...more
Jeremy Maddux
Feb 21, 2016 rated it liked it
I came to this book ignorant to the stellar reputation of author Gerald Durrell and his equally stellar rescue efforts for endangered species across the world. All I cared about was learning more about the elusive and, according to some, mystical lemuroid known as the Aye Aye. The Creature with the Magic Finger.

In this, the late Gerald Durrell chronicled his departure from Jersey in order to investigate Madagascar for not only the mythical Aye Aye, but also mouse lemurs of Lac Alaotra, the Fosa,
Madhulika Liddle
Apr 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Aye-Aye and I, first published in 1992, is Gerald Durrell's account of his last major animal-collecting expedition, a trip to Madagascar in 1990. This is a Durrell different in some ways from the Durrell of earlier books. If you've read his adventures in The Bafut Beagles, The Drunken Forest, The Whispering Land and so on, you're probably familiar with a Gerry who shins up trees, goes on long treks searching for elusive animals, and has some of the most bizarre (and hair-raising) experiences ...more
Katie Grainger
Jul 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Aye-Aye and I When I first picked this book up in the library I thought that it was a fiction book. It wasn't until I got home that I realised it was a sort of travel book come conservation story. The book follows Gerald Durrell, his wife and team from the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. The book combines facts about Madagascar, a country which is under threat from slash and burn agriculture destroying animals habitat. The book follows the team as they search for a number of different a ...more
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zbožňujem Durrella! :-) Jeho humor, schopnosť opísať veci, vedomosti o zvieratách a zapálenie pre ich záchranu a s ňou súvisiace nutné poznanie - to dáva dohromady veľmi čitateľné oddychovky s hlbším podtónom. Aye-aye je o výprave na Madagaskar, kde v záujme záchrany niekoľkých druhov prišla Durrellova výprava, aby do svojej zoo na Jersey odniesli niekoľko exemplárov vzácnych lemurov šedých, korytnačiek kapidolo, skákajúcich škrečkov a napokon i pár aye-aye, zvláštnych tvorov, ktoré Durrella nep ...more
Daniel Wood
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: environment, biog
An excellent read from a forward thinking conservationist who did a huge amount to help the animals and/therefore also the people of Madagascar, amongst other places.

Durrell is certainly a great storyteller, and the book doesn't disappoint for laughs, anecdotes, and insights into what pioneering conservation-zoology was like.

There are certainly parts and phrases which as an enlightened millennial will make you wince- descriptions of locals for example, or his obsession with the figure of just ab
Manuel Alfonseca
Sep 29, 2017 rated it liked it
The last book Durrell published during his life about his trips to collect strange animals and save them from extinction. Animalists who complain about zoos should read books like these before they show their ignorance.

In this book I did not like Durrell's insistence on informing us in detail about his medical problems during the trip, specially those which had to do with relieving his vowels.
Eva López Marín
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Empecé a leerlo sin conocer nada sobre el autor ni la temática y me sorprendió gratamente. El sentido del humor y la narrativa hacen que te introduzcas en un mundo desconocido, como es la zoología, de una forma sencilla, clara y amena.
Dec 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Libro interessante e a tratti spassoso. È però - rispetto agli altri libri di Durrell che ho letto - molto più specifico: è un misto tra un saggio e un diario di viaggio. Mi è venuta ovviamente voglia di andare in Madagascar a farmi ispezionare un orecchio da un Aye Aye, simpatico e misterioso lemure dal dito oblungo, la cui vita è da salvaguardare.
Apr 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
This could be one of the sadder Gerald Durrell book as he describes the plight of the Madagascan environment. It was also when his age catches up with him so it takes a different tone from his previous writings. As usual, under his pen animals become larger than life and you wish you can meet those unique lemurs, fosas, silfakas for yourself. wonderful book. on my way to collect the rest of his stuff :D
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a bad little book, demonstrates the lengths conservationists go too to protect endangered species but also how flimsy and corruptible the laws are around protecting them. Although titled the Aye-aye and I only the end is really anything to do with them. Still worth a read to get the idea of how fragile Madagascar and its eco system are and how more needs to be done to protect this creatures.
Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Durrell's swansong is good: His last animal collecting expedition, which took place in Madagascar. This time Durrell is more concerned about his health, which was quite bad at the time but still manages to create funny situations - the bowel attack in the middle of a village is the best bit. Obviously there are the descriptions of animals and they verge on the beautiful, especially the Aye-Aye.
Cath Russell
Feb 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd completely forgotten what a joyous writer Gerald Durrell was - knowledgable, funny, descriptive. I think this may be the last book he wrote which is very sad as it's excellent and makes me want to reread the books of his that I read years ago.
Keilani Ludlow
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another slam-out-of-the-park book for Mr. Durrell. Plenty of chuckles, plenty of laugh out loud moments. His ability to infuse situations/animals/inanimate objects with human motivation (a vengeful road with potholes designed to curl the spine and swallow the axel) is so well done that you can't stop laughing. His ability to assign names to things in that British fashion that tells you what they do and also gives the inanimate object some malevolent human motivation at the same time (the thunder ...more
Даррелл прежде уже бывал на Мадагаскаре и Маскаренских островах. Об этом писал, когда описывал золотых крыланов и розовых голубей, а также повествовал о пребывающем в движении ковчеге. Читатель о том отлично помнит. Теперь предстоит повторить. Новым становится поиск таинственного существа – мадагаскарской руконожки, имеющей прозвание ай-ай. Это удивительное животное вызывает трепет у местного населения, побуждающего их его убивать. Всё бы ничего, но теперь ай-ай грозит полное уничтожение. Вполне ...more
Jose Santos
Well, this is a special book to me. Bought in Jersey at Durell's Zoo and started reading it a few days before travelling to Madagascar!
What a fantastic country and wildlife!
This is the book about Gerald Durell's last travel, to Madagascar, where his team captured some Lemures and some famous Aye-aye to start a breeding program at his Zoo.
The reading of this book, after returning to my country, has the magic of taking me back to the jungles of Madagascar!
The writting of Gerald Durrell is very goo
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Re-reading Gerald Durrell after perhaps 20 years... great to find that his language is as evocative and humorous as I remember it to have been! Loved the book (though my favorite is, and always will be, My Family and other Animals).
Ed Dodson
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
although not as entertaining is some of Durrell's earlier books I give this a higher ranking because it covers the collecting trip which basically led to the end of his career and his life. There is a great biography of Gerald Durrell and a photo gallery which is very entertaining at the end.
Valters Liberts
Varbūt biju par jaunu, kad lasīju.
Kathy Stoner
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved it so much! I love this series of books! Especially loved the story of the ducks. It really made me laugh!
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
eBook. Gerald Durrell's last book, circa 1990, about the difficulties and pleasures of conservation efforts in Madagascar. Fairly light reading, somewhat droll or maybe even snarky.
Roxy Warren
Almost as good as Doug Adam's Last Chance to See!
Apr 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Another favorite author, Gerald Durrell, writes about a trip to Madagascar to collect some aye-ayes, endangered because of the radical deforestation of the country, to establish a breeding program. The aye-aye is a member of the lemur family, distinguished by “giant, chisel-like teeth” that grow constantly, “round, hypnotic eyes,” large, “spoon-like ears,” and “thin, attenuated fingers, the third seeming prodigiously elongated.” Not only are these amazing little animals threatened by loss of hab ...more
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Gerald Durrell is a conservationist who spent some time in Madagascar, and this is the story of a trip he and his wife took to try and obtain some animals for zoos. The point was to provide animals for captive breeding programs and to assist in species recovery. While I don't like the idea of removing animals from the wild, I recognize that in some cases captive breeding programs are the only way that species have a hope of recovery. Mr. Durrell has been around for a very long time, and so in a ...more
Oct 24, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"It fondled my ear then inserted its thin finger...Finding my ear bereft of tasty grubs it uttered a 'humph' of annoyance", October 26, 2014

This review is from: The Aye-Aye and I: A Rescue Journey to Save One of the World's Most Intriguing Creatures from Extinction (Paperback)
Moderately entertaining account of the late Gerald Durrell's journey to the wilds of Madagascar in search of a few aye-ayes (an endangered species) to begin a breeding programme...not to mention 'gentle' lemurs ("anything
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Humorous, adventurous, informative - so many adjectives to describe a relatively short book which has provided me with an excellent introductory read to my upcoming participation in a WWF project on the island.
The aye-aye is the main purpose of the expedition, but throughout the journey, Durrell describes the island, the Malagasy people, the challenges and accomplishments, while painting a portrait of Madagascar that is deeply revealing, and respectful, of the island's culture.
An absolute deli
May 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
I recommend this book if you are traveling to Madagascar, love the work of Gerald Durrell, or want to read about what it takes in the field to make captive breeding successful. If you don't fall into any of these categories, I suggest taking a pass on this one. The sentences are often painful to get through, and the writing is not as clever or witty as the author thinks it is. I'd provide an example, but I left the book on the plane, just after finishing it, upon arriving in Madagascar. Of cours ...more
Tracy Terry
In search of the elusive Aye-Aye in what was to be the last of his adventures. Given that as well as the various animals as is typical of his books we also get to know something about the people, flora and fauna of wherever it is he finds himself The Aye-Aye And I can possibly best be described as a travelogue come conservation book.

A fun and yet bitter-sweet read. Though no longer the boy of books like My Family And Other Animals still as enthusiastic as ever, whilst quintessentially a 'Gerald
Aug 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
Gerald Durrell writes as if he is telling anecdotes while showing you pictures from his trip. It is very entertaining for a short time, but not a style I could stay with for long. (I read a chapter or two at a time with long breaks or other books between them.)
He is passionate about his work and the need for captive breeding schemes as a last resort for wildlife on the very brink of extinction. He is resolutely upbeat, but you could feel that he must have been close to despair at times.
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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
“Japan and Hong Kong are steadily whittling away at the last of the elephants, turning their tusks (so much more elegant left on the elephant) into artistic carvings. In much the same way, the beautiful furs from leopard, jaguar, Snow leopard, Clouded leopard and so on, are used to clad the inelegant bodies of thoughtless and, for the most part, ugly women. I wonder how many would buy these furs if they knew that on their bodies they wore the skin of an animal that, when captured, was killed by the medieval and agonizing method of having a red-hot rod inserted up its rectum so as not to mark the skin.” 29 likes
“In conservation, the motto should always be 'never say die'.” 11 likes
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