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The Durrells of Corfu

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,103 ratings  ·  127 reviews
Simon Nye's TV series, The Durrells, is based loosely on Gerald Durrell's Corfu Trilogy and in particular his much-loved bestseller, My Family and Other Animals. These books in turn are based somewhat loosely on actual events. The real-life Durrells went to Corfu at the urging of Lawrence Durrell, who was already living on the island with his wife, Nancy Myers. Their ...more
Paperback, 1st, 256 pages
Published January 26th 2017 by Profile Books (first published 2017)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  1,103 ratings  ·  127 reviews


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Roman Clodia
For anyone who blithely accepted My Family and Other Animals as true memoir and fact (as I did - but then I was only about 11-12 when I read it), this comes as a wake-up call. While it still tries to capture all the whimsical charm of the Durrell legend (such as when young Gerry is befriended by a woman who, intermittently, has gentlemen callers who take her into the bedroom and lock the door in order to discuss business...), it also cannot escape darker tones: the colonial inheritances of the ...more
Paul
Apr 06, 2018 rated it liked it
The Durrell's are one of those well know families that have permeated the British literary culture. There is Lawrence Durrell whose most famous work is The Alexandria Quartet. Then there is Gerald Durrell, founder of the world-renowned Jersey Zoo and author of many books, including My Family and Other Animals, about growing up with animals in the homes in Corfu. The TV series that is proving so popular is loosed based on My Family and Other Animals and the others in the Corfu Trilogy and the ...more
Margaret
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very interesting look at the Durrells.

The amazing thing was discovering that Gerald Durrell's "My Family and Other Animals" wasn't actually THAT much of an exaggeration!
Stephen
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book found very interesting as it was a mixture of family interviews and research gives us an idea of the Durrell family from the origins in India to England & Jersey via Corfu and through some of the books published by Gerald and Lawerence. Where myth and fact maybe different in context of the stories we read about the family in Corfu. The book itself was delightful with family photographs included too and a relatively light read too.
Rex Fuller
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
There's no way to know if the correlation is one-to-one but we can see in their work that a lot of great writers were obsessed with sex. Lawrence Durrell was certainly one. In this personal look at his family's near idyllic experience on Corfu (1935-1939) the author shows "Larry's" whole personality, including that fixation. He comes off as more personable than you would guess from his work but every bit as complex. Not to give the wrong impression, this book is at least as much about his ...more
Caren
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
I was totally hooked on the two seasons Masterpiece did on PBS, "The Durrells in Corfu". The series is loosely based on the memoirs of the Durrell's youngest son, Gerald, who became a naturalist. This book provides interesting background info on the family. I found it helpful to know that they had lived in India, all of the four children having been born there. That explained why a move to England, after the death of the father (who had worked as a civil engineer for the British empire in ...more
Robert
Sep 01, 2017 rated it liked it

When we moved to Malta from Canada in 1992, my parents took one box of books with them - I gave my sizable collection to a school library. One day in March I was complaining that I wanted something to read, so my dad went to the box as we didn't have shelves yet and pulled out My Family and Other Animals. I devoured it in a couple of weeks and spent the rest of 1992 hunting Gerald Durrell's other books but to this day My Family.. remains one of Durrell's best books.

For those who don't know the
...more
Kai
Oct 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
Disappointing, despite the collection of nude sunbathing pictures of early 20th c. Literary Men. (Although tbh I was not panting to see Henry Miller in, as it were, the flesh.)

I'm a little surprised this made it out the door of a publishing house, actually. I'm very, very familiar with the work of Gerald Durrell; my favourite book when I was six was My Family and Other Animals, and I've re-read his works a great many times. A considerable part of Haag's biography seems to consist of... let's say
...more
Saturday's Child
Dec 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Having recently read and thoroughly enjoyed My Family and Other Animals by Gerald I found that this was a great follow up read. I now know more about not only the Durrell family but also the people they met during the time they spent living in Corfu.
Erika O'Reilly
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Gerald Durrell is one of my personal heroes, so I was delighted to come across this book at a shop while waiting for a flight. It is the story of the Durrell family and their lives in India, England and Corfu, and gives some great background knowledge to Gerald's other books, including the reason why they left India in the first place.

For anyone who hasn't read any of the Durrells' books, I would still recommend this book, as the Durrells lived fascinating lives so it is a great story
...more
Elizabeth
This is an interesting companion piece to Gerald Durrell's Corfu trilogy. I had read My Family and Other Animals immediately before reading this and that book and events from it are quoted extensively.

The author was apparently a friend of the family, particularly Lawrence Durrell, so it made for a very interesting retelling of his years on Corfu. What Gerald Durrell didn't say was that Lawrence was already married and didn't live with the family, preferring to rent rooms elsewhere with his
...more
Joan Colby
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
An interesting look at the real Durrells and their lives prior to, during and after their sojourn in Corfu. The books and TV version are not far off in their portraits. All the children had multiple marriages and fairly successful careers especially Gerald as a zoologist and writer, and Lawrence as a literary maven. Margo too had adventures and wrote at least one book. Leslie continued his bad-boy ways, but managed to stay out of jail. The family were famous for their unconventional lifestyle ...more
Alice
Aug 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: animals, biography
The facts behind Gerald Durrell's romantic and hilarious account of the time his family - Mother, two brothers, sister, dog - spent on Corfu in the prewar years. Despite some omissions and changes for the sake of a good story, much of it happened the way Durrell describes it; everyone will be cheered and relieved to learn that Spiro and Theo are absolutely real. Especially interesting to me were the bits about Bournemouth, where I grew up, and Norwood, where I live now.
Eddie Clarke
A brief and charming family biography, focussing very closely on the Corfu years, and wonderfully illustrated. Haag tactfully corrects the fabrications and omissions in Lawrences and Geralds accounts. A good, swift introduction. ...more
Kirsty
Aug 05, 2017 rated it liked it
For a biography which follows a lot of people, I found Michael Haag's Thw Durrells of Corfu rather brief. It was not as engaging as I was expecting it to be, and some elements seemed skimmed over. Overall, however, it was nice enough, and some of the photographic inclusions were nothing short of charming.
DenXXX
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio, 2018
Background stories to go alongside the book 'My Family and Other Animals'.
Jon
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A very slight book (read in two hours flat) that doesn't do justice to the subject. Rattling through the lives of the Durrells and their friends at such a frenetic pace did them no favours. Will add information and background for readers who know them only from Lawrence and Gerald's books, but quite frankly it reads like a (not very) extended Wikipedia entry, padded with too many extracts from said books. I paid £2.36 for it, and it's not worth that, even.
James Blain
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Breezy, yet meaty, book. Loved it from beginning to end.
Jeff Howells
May 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Following on from reading the Corfu Trilogy earlier in the year I picked up this 'biography' (which I suspect will be a best seller due to the Durrells TV series). It is mainly covers the family's time in Corfu but actually I found the bits that covers their early years in India & England (before moving to the island) and then the period after they left Corfu (at the outbreak of war) more interesting. This is mainly because Michael Haag quotes liberally from Gerald Durrells trilogy (which is ...more
Goose
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you liked the tv show on PBS then you will probably like this book that covers the facts of the Durrell family as opposed to the fictionalized version that Gerry wrote. Interesting to read about Louisa's life leading up to Corfu and everyone's lives afterward. Well worth the read.
Kay
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had read a rather negative review of this book, along the lines that there was nothing new in it and it was totally unnecessary - I disagree. This was a really interesting account of the Durrells, concentrating on their time in Corfu, but giving an outline of their lives before and after that time. The writer had access to family photographs and also to some of Gerald's drawings which added greatly to the text. "My Family and Other Animals" is a wonderful read, but you know that as Gerald was ...more
Steven Leiva
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are a fan of the British TV series, The Durrells of Corfu, you should enjoy this account of the family, which confirms some of their eccentricities, points out exaggerations in their stories, all while satisfying any curiosity you might have about the truth of there lives, before, after and during their time on Corfu. All easily told with deep affection.
lucy  black
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fic, wish-list
I really liked this more realistic but still entertaining account of the Durrell family and their lives. There was a bit too much of a focus on Gerald for me but I liked that the author tried to cover Margot and Leslie a bit more. Ill definitely try read more by and about these bohemian genius posh freaks. ...more
William Bibliomane
Essentially a rehashing of previously published biographies, The Durrells of Corfu could have been a lot better, had it delved more deeply into the differences between the fictionalised experiences of the Durrell family, and events as they can best be reconstructed. While we have the fictional versions in Gerald Durrell's Corfu trilogy, and in high literary (but still told with a distinct lack of key details) Lawrence's Prospero's Cell, past biographies of both LD and GD have shed some light on ...more
gia
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was only until recently that I realised that quite a lot of the Corfu Trilogy probably never happened. There were bits left out and things stuffed in until the book became almost unrecognisable to the true reality of the Durrell family's stay on Corfu. This book aims to explore the facts behind the trilogy, while also unearthing other fascinating titbits about the family itself. I was entertained and fascinated.

One of my favourite aspects of the book was that we didn't just start at the
...more
Richard
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you're a fan of the Durrell clan made famous in Gerald Durrell's Corfu trilogy (My Family And Other Animals, Birds, Beasts And Other Relatives and The Garden Of The Gods) then this book will help elucidate some of the story behind these books. Anyone who hasn't read this is missing a real treat underscored by Gerald Durrell's life long fascination with and later dedication to the preservation of all types of rare animals.

Haag's book covers familiar territory about the origins and
...more
Melissa Kane
Sep 11, 2017 rated it liked it
If you've ever wondered how true 'My Family and Other Animals' is to the life that Gerald and the other Durrells lived in Corfu in the 1930s, then this book sets the record straight. And while there were embellishments and Gerry wasn't the one who had all the experiences himself, the family certainly lived a very unconventional, chaotic and bohemian life; one that did indeed involve water snakes in the bath, scorpions on the dinner table and befriending a murderer down on the beach. Not only ...more
Ljiljana Malovic
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I first learned about the Durrells watching the TV adaptation on BBC a couple od months ago. When I saw this book in a book store, I was intrigued to find out more about their lives.
This particular book is illustrated with family photos, many of them reproduced in the book for the first time, which, in my opinion, brings the entire family even closer to the reader.

When I started to read it, I frequently found myself in a situation where I couldn't stop laughing at certain descriptions, or
...more
Agnesxnitt
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Having watched 2 dramatised versions of 'My Family and other Animals', I was intrigued about what the Durrells really got up to in Corfu. They seem a complicated family in many ways, but as we only have the books from Gerald Durrell, the youngest son, to base our ideas on, you can never be too sure - one person's childhood and teenage perception is very different to their later adult views on the same events.
This was a really good book, the author explaining how the parents of Gerald et al met
...more
T.J. Green
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, travel
Years ago, when I was studying for my English O'Level, we studied My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell, and it was hilarious. It was that book which made me aware of Lawrence Durrell and his writing, so that when I saw Monsieur, the first book of the Avignon Quintet out in bookstores I snapped it up, and as you know, that set off my life long love affair with Lawrence Durrell.

Anyway, this book takes you behind the scenes of the time the family spent on Corfu. It starts with an overall
...more
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Readers also enjoyed

  • Prospero's Cell
  • Whatever Happened to Margo?
  • The Corfu Trilogy (The Corfu Trilogy #1-3)
  • Birds, Beasts and Relatives (Corfu Trilogy #2)
  • My Family and Other Animals (Corfu Trilogy, #1)
  • The Garden of the Gods (Corfu Trilogy #3)
  • Marrying Off Mother: And Other Stories
  • Bitter Lemons of Cyprus
  • Reflections on a Marine Venus: A Companion to the Landscape of Rhodes
  • A Zoo in My Luggage
  • Sipsik
  • Amateurs In Eden: The Story of a Bohemian Marriage, Nancy and Lawrence Durrell
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