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The Drunken Forest

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  1,591 ratings  ·  41 reviews
The Argentine pampas and the Chaco territory of Paraguay provide the setting for The Drunken Forest. With Durrell for interpreter, an orange armadillo, or a horned toad, or a crab-eating raccoon, or a baby giant anteater suddenly discovers the ability not merely to set you laughing but actually to endear itself to you.



1. Oven-birds and burrowing o
Paperback, 203 pages
Published 1958 by Penguin Books (first published 1956)
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4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,591 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Aug 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
there are three sad books awaiting reviews before this one, but i don't even care, because this one needs to be reviewed right now!! sorry, marguerite duras! let's call this even!!

how great is gerald durrell?? did someone say "very great??" because that is the correct answer. he is very great.

i have been meaning to read him for ages now, especially since i learned that he frequently deflates pompous brother lawrence in his books; in a good-natured brotherly way. and i appreciate lawrence durrel
Bionic Jean
The Drunken Forest, which was first published in 1956, recounts Gerald Durrell's fourth expedition to collect wild animals. This time he travelled to South America - specifically Argentina and Paraguay - during 1954. It is the first time his first wife Jacquie features more in the anecdotes. Apparently the couple had had to elope in 1951, because of opposition to their marriage from her father! It is worth saying that is due in part to the encouragement and assistance from Jacquie, that we have ...more
Aug 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: animals
A not so informative review followed by pictures of animals!

If I had one complaint about this book it wasn't the un-PCness that Durrell sometimes is guilty of, it's the very brief treatment Foxy, the grey pampas fox is given in the book. Maybe because the fox is such a common creature to the English he doesn't get nearly the amount of space in the book as equally charming baby Anteater Sarah Huggersack or the baby crab-eating raccoon Pooh. But there is a very cute drawing of the fox in the book.
Alfie Shuvro
Sep 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
অরণয, পশু পাখি , এদের ধরার ফাঁদ , সেই সাথে পরকৃতির বরণনা । মুগধ হয়ে পড়ার মত একটি বই। ...more
Minnie Romanovich
May 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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.
Alejandro Teruel
Nov 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ciencias, en-casa
Ever since I first read My family and other animals when I was ten or eleven years old, I have had a soft spot for Gerald Durrell. Some of his books have dated more than others and some now have passages that are excruciatingly politically incorrect, but the passages about the individual animals he collected or observed still thrill me and his droll descriptions of their more ludicrous antics still make me laugh.

I came across a fading copy of this book recently, dived straight in and I could se
Jan 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs, read-in-2018
"The Argentine pampas and the little-known Chaco territory of Paraguay provide the setting for The Drunken Forest." With Durrell for interpreter, an orange armadillo, or a horned toad, or a crab-eating racoon suddenly disc=overs the ability of not merely to set you laughing but actually to endear itself to you."
~~back cover

The author is getting the hang of this writing business. This book was infested with more sly humor than the previous books, with less description of the mechanics of collecti
Jan 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
If animal comedy is a genre then Gerald Durrell is PG woodhouse of the same..

His love for animals comes out vivid and colorful as he puts his encounters with them to paper.. his passion for animals just transforms itself so beautifully in words that it feels like you are watching Animal Planet or National geographic. Though his limited means in resources, technology and mobility he manages to travel the world to describe to us his wonderful adventures with the most vibrant fauna... all his adve
Deborah Pickstone
Not all GD's books are as funny as the Corfu Trilogy but they are always amiable and present loads of interesting information about the various wildlife and part of the world he was consumed by at the time.
Faisal Patil
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is far from his best work. But as with all of his writings, Gerald has very adroitly managed to enlist himself in my list of favourites. At this point, I believe myself to have reached a stage where I simply refuse to believe that anything churned out by him can be ‘bad’. Maybe that’s just my bias talking, having been conditioned over a period of time to enjoy his every word.
Regardless, his writings seem to have that rare ability to make you laugh out at instances where, if in his position
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love reading about anyone's passions, even if i don't share them - and not only is Durrell passionate about animals and nature, he writes beautifully descriptive accounts of his adventures and can succintly capture idiosyncratics like no other. Warm and witty without being cheesey, i rate him with james herriot for cosy comforting reads that can make you grin like a loon and laugh out loud more than books which claim to do so. Great to see the illustrations matching the descriptions so well.Lo ...more
Sep 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I veered between enjoying this book and being aghast. The casual racism with indigenous South American and Spanish being described as, variously, dirty, dumb or evil. The horror of collecting animals only to kill or let them go as they couldn't be taken back to England. This book is so much of it's time. Of course here is the light hearted approach you expect from the author of My Family and Other Animals.
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: animal-books
The Argentine pampas and the Chaco territory of Paraguay provide the setting for The Drunken Forest. With Durrell for interpreter, an orange armadillo, or a horned toad, or a crab-eating raccoon, or a baby giant anteater suddenly discovers the ability not merely to set you laughing but actually to endear itself to you.
Md. Faysal Alam Riyad
বন-জঙগল, পশু-পাখির সাথে এক নিবির সমপরক জেরালড ডুয়েল এর। পৃথিবী বিখযাত এই ইংরেজ পরকৃতিবিদ ঘুরে বেড়িয়েছেন নানান জায়গায়। তাঁর বিভিনন অভিযান এর বরণনা নিয়েই এ বই। ...more
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, animals, travel
My first Gerald Durrell book and it was a warm, amusing and engaging read - I have to say, I enjoyed it. He bings characters to life of both animal and human and I felt I picked up a good sense of the places he visited, the landscapes, towns and villages.
Prathiba Swaminathan
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Gerald Durrell's knowledge of animals, and his fascinating ability to care for them, shines through in this book, and makes this a very compelling read. I always enjoy his descriptions of collecting and caring for animals in different geographies. What I possibly enjoy even more is his recollection of people and his interactions with them, and this book is a treasure trove of such writing. I sit on the fence about zoos, but the chapter where the author described how he tried releasing (with litt ...more
Nicola Mansfield
Sep 27, 2009 rated it liked it
Reason for Reading: I've read several of the author's books as a teenager and loved them. Except for a few, though, I can't remember, by title, which ones I've read until I start reading them. This one I had not read before and is my first foray back into Gerald Durrell since that time. I also used to watch a show he had on TV at the time and really enjoyed the man's love for his animals and his sense of humour.

Comments: The Durrells, Gerald and his wife Jacquie, travel to South America, namely
Jul 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gerald Durrell's The Drunken Forest is a charming little book which provides more of the same amusing anecdotes about animal collecting that can be found in his other works. In it, Durrell and his wife travel first to Argentina and then to Paraguay to acquire specimens for British collections. Coming straight from another of his books "Three Singles to Adventure" I was at first a bit disappointed with The Drunken Forest. While it was still well-written I actually found it rather dull at first. U ...more
Ассоциативный ряд служит средством познавания мира. Если человек воспринимает окружающее, придавая вид знакомых ему вещей, значит у него есть для того весомые аргументы. Когда в склонившихся пальмах, пузатых деревья и колючих кактусах человек видит бар и его посетителей, то это минимум звонок о необходимости ограничить потребление алкогольных напитков. Даррелл ещё не осознаёт влияние зелёного змия, ничего о нём толком не рассказывая, лишь ранее проговорившись несколько раз. Во время посещения Па ...more
Namitha Varma
Jul 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delighting read - the way Durrell gets into the skin of the animals and almost humanises them is very charming. Except for the cruel rattlesnake encounter and the just-for-fun rhea capturing, I laughed out loud at the descriptions of almost every episode. While I do not sympathise with Durrell's aim of safeguarding animals by capturing them and rearing them in zoos, the book was an amazing experience, and if he has succeeded in his mission of protecting endangered species through his venture, ...more
"The Drunken Forest" does not pretend to be more than it really is-- a collection of humorous animal stories that happened while naturalist Gerald Durrell (writer Lawrence Durrell's younger brother) was collecting specimens from Argentina and Paraguay to take back to England. Durrell does recount some (rather big) political issues that happened while he was collecting, but he keeps the work focused on the animals and how he got them and how he cared for them. "The Drunken Forest" is not a "deep" ...more
Mar 14, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: z2010, autobiography
I normally really enjoy Gerald Durrell's books but this one annoyed me for a few reasons (which I do think were actually related to the time it was written). His later books seemed to be more about learning about animals and conservation, where as this was a big adventure of putting animals in cages, kind of making up their diets (and as a vet, I know how important husbandry is for these animals!) and then after they'd all got a bit tame and been in what sounded like fairly small cages, letting ...more
Mar 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
I don't know but every time I read one of Mr. Durrell's works it fills me up with energy^^

This book was fun to read again~~
The cause of it-
First it was about animals, people presented in a funny but interesting way, further on I just loved those few Spanish words which he implemented in his work-cause before this I read a similar "Spanish novel" and will read after this too X3
And a nother plus was the atmosphere in which I read his book ...on the bus,,on the way home from a long long tour- aww
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I liked this book. It was upbeat, amusing and gave me an insight of the daily life at another part of the world. I like his way of looking at the animals - I would have been terrified in many of the situations he just wrote down as a slightly more challenging task. It really showed that he knew what he was talking about and at the end of the book he left me with the feeling that I would like to visit the surrounding nature of Buenos Aires.
William Leight
Jul 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
"The Drunken Forest" features a few more stories than usual involving Durrell being stabbed, bit, clawed, or otherwise damaged by the animals he is trying to collect (stay away from tiger bitterns), although he escapes his (hilarious) encounter with an anaconda unscathed. Otherwise, it's pretty much just more of the same: luckily, with a writer as consistently funny as Durrell, that's exactly what you want.
Janith Pathirage
Dec 25, 2014 rated it liked it
A very cute book about little animals but I got bit bored reading this one. Of course this book is nonfictional, so one can't expect Hal and Roger stuff here. So there's no problem with that. These guys are obviously amateurs in handling animals, but they do genuinely care for them. But its really bad they had to kill one animal even thought it was a dangerous one. A good naturalist will never decapitate an animal no matter how hard situation gets.
Nov 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is the first of Gerald's book that I have read..It was an amazing read..i loved the way he described the south america forests..the animals..each one with its own intricacies..the book was a complete treat to read..I googled about each animal i read about to understand how it looked like!..i especially loved the oven bird described by Gerald.
May 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008
Snobby Brit and less famous brother of novelist Lawrence Durrell offers amusing stories about collecting unusual animals for English zoos during a trip to the Pampas and Paraguay. I realize dude is a naturalist but he seems strangely incurious to the people around him, save for the occasional story about how silly brown people are.

And yet! The illustrations are so cute!
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: animals, memoir
Wonderful story about one of Gerald Durrell's zoo-collecting trips. Every page is funny, fascinating and informative. Like all of his books it is good for all ages without being too sweet for an adult to read and enjoy.
Jul 26, 2011 rated it liked it

To be honest I never really liked Durrell's South American adventures, they always lacked the spark of his African ones. Here you get the usual - animal behaviour and a couple of eccentrics, but it's not as lively as, say Bafut Beagles or A Zoo in my Luggage.
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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