©1956 Gerald Durrell; (P)1994, 2007 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
"A lot of frolic, fun, and charming ribaldry, as well as the warm feeling of having been transported to a lovely spot where worry is unknown and anything is believable." (The New York Times)
The first of the Corfu trilogy. Arguably the most popular book Durrell has written, later filmed for TV. Full of funny anecdotes about his eccentric family and friends, with a good dose of animals too. Every time I listen to this I long to be in Corfu with all its inhabitants, human and otherwise as well as the beautiful backdrop of the island itself which Durrell so vividly describes. I listen to this audio book regularly and never tire of it. If this is the first Durrell book you listen to then it's a good start and a must for all those, who like me, love Durrell's books.
I downloaded this because I remembered how much I loved it and laughed out loud when I read it as a teenager (several centuries ago). I have to say that I was slightly disappointed by the second visit but I think this was to do with my SOH moving on. Years ago Larry seemed hilarious and enviably sardonic; now he seemed boringly selfish and even began to get on my nerves. That said there was still loads to enjoy and I listened with pleasure to the end. I loved revisiting Corfu in my mind and the best things are Gerry himself and his adventures with his animals. Nigel Davenport does a great job of narration. I specially admired his ability to characterise the Greeks without making them sound over-comic.
I've been hoping Audible would get around to publishing books by either Gerald Durrell or David Attenborough. Although this is my least favourite of the Durrell books I've read, it is still a brilliant, interesting and witty piece - so more please!
I really enjoyed this affectionate recollection of a childhood full of generous (well mostly), freindly excentrics, beautifully narrated by Nigel Davenport. I felt bereft when it was over :(
This was one of my favourite books as a girl and I was so pleased that my daughter loved it as well. This version is beautifully read and listening to it is a delight. Take it as a standalone experience and don't try to read up on Durrell's biography, or this one may be spoilt for you. Hint - it's not all strictly accurate.
Classic detectives and history are mostly my thing along with a dash of science fact and fiction.
Bought this as I had read it as a young man (16 or 17) and thoroughly enjoyed it. I liked the narration and the story is funny and also touching in places. A recommended read for teenagers and young adults and for nostalgia for those of us who are slightly older. A classic! Watch out for those Magenpies though!
Here's a book that presented itself to me over and over throughout my years yet somehow I never found it the moment to read until now. The narration is superb, the characters funny and warm and its a total escape back to a simpler pre-war idyll. I'm glad I came to it as an audiobook because the characterisation and the measured approach forces one to listen and experience it at the correct pace and to revel in the warm breezes that stir the pages. I have decided to postpone listening to the further books because this one was so complete and satisfying on its own that I don't want to dilute the experience. Most enjoyable like a glass of ouzo on a hot summers day..
I have listened to this a lot lately as it's away to pick up and put down (so to speak)
I particularly like the opening scene describing a typical English rainy day, and how it came about that they fled the climate for warmer climes
Hilarious, fascinating, evocative
I listen to a lot of audible books but this is my favourite by a long way. I haven't heard anything that compares to it - yet.
All of my family love the scene with the scorpions on the dining room table. I especially love Mrs Durrell.
I have always loved the book and this performance brings out the characters and the humour beautifully.
I like to learn interesting stuff on midnight runs. And I need absorbing children's audio to stay sane on long car journeys.
I love this book as a child and bought it to play to my kids in the car in Greece (where it is set). Sadly, it wasn't to their tastes- they much prefer the modern, dynamic and action-packed style. But I liked it.
"A thoroughly delightful book!"
I found this superb, well-written and extremely well-narrated audiobook to be a delight. The tale itself is a riviting "page-turner" unlike any other. And the fantastic reader/narrator truly made me believe I was hearing each and every character very distinctly, as he is a marvel with accents and intonation and deadpan humor. I laughed out loud many, many times as I followed the very eccentric ex-pat English family into - and out of - their adventures in Greece, as seen through their naive and wonderfully animal-crazy young son. I could relate so much to this story, as I was a similar, very curious ex-pat child myself, driving my family to distraction with stray and wild critters I brought home, marveling at each one. But I would recommend this audiobook to anyone, ex-pat or not, at any age above 12, and even whethor or not they've traveled a bit with their families. Anyone can appreciate the quirks of other cultures and people as told in this book. There are many memorable moments in the book, but I will never forget "Boodle Trinketbottom" as long as I live! This book absolutely earns five stars!
"The original dysfunctional family"
Having first read this book over 30 years ago I was eager to relive the experience. The audio book did not disappoint. Durrell writes one anecdote after another and all of them are a delight. This book is light, witty, wonderful entertainment.
His writing is deliciously descriptive and makes Corfu sound completely irresistible. It also makes his family sound gloriously insane. I loved every minute of it just as I did the first time around. This book made me an instant Durrell convert who then went on to read every book of his that I could find.
"Charming, hilarious memoir"
This is one of my favorite books of all times. I've read it over and over. It is the story of a very eccentric family that decides to move to Corfu to escape the dreary English winters. Each person in the story is unique in his or her own way. The true story is narrated by the youngest member, a boy of nine or ten at the outset. His love of native animals, which he brings home and attempts to raise in the household will make you cry with laughter. An absolute classic.
"I had high hopes, but...."
I totally agree with Steven from CA. The author, a naturalist, zookeeper, conservationist is obviously very knowledgeable about the animal world, but the tedious descriptions of animals and insects wear thin after awhile, and I didn't find the stories about the family to be funny at all. They get tired of the weather in England, so they pick up and move to a Greek island. I found myself wondering what they were living on?? The mother is a widow and the author is the youngest of 4 children, yet I didn't hear anything about any of them working for a living. Just hanging out on this Greek island. Nice life, if you can do it!! Anyway, maybe I'm too practical. I was looking for a book to follow up my re-reading of the James Herriot stories, but James Herriot was one-of-a-kind. To sum up, I did not finish the book, but I DID listen to more than half of it. This book was not offensive at all, (no F-bombs, etc) It just didn't hold my interest.
"More family, fewer animals - please!"
A really nicely written and narrated story about an eccentric family, as told by the youngest son. The son is obsessed with animals and at least half the story is comprised of detailed, tedious descriptions of animals. I guess I should have known - seeing as how the title pretty much says it all! Anyway, the family interactions and activities are very fun and entertaining and make up for the less appealing parts.
"Well Written but Not Interesting"
To start and to be fair, I did not finish the book. I gave up on this one a little past the half-way point and I usually am a trooper when it comes to audio books. The narator does a good job but doesn't have much to work with. There are detailed, exhaustive descriptions of the animals and plant life that the characters encounter and in this sense, the writing is eloquent, accurate, and abundant. However, the book is extremely light on any kind of storyline that remotely makes the book interesting or worth the read. This is a book that a teacher might assign to a 5th grade class with the goal of expanding their vocabulary and improving their descriptive writing. Unless you've been assigned to read this book, keep looking.
The quirky character at the center of this memoir is lost within this memoir. It took me a while to get into the family and the characters and by books end I wished the story was a biography written by someone who knew how to maintain the readers interest.
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