The book is an autobiographical account of five years in the childhood of naturalist Gerald Durrell. The book is divided into three sections, marking the three villas in which the family lived on the island. Apart from Gerald (the youngest) and Larry, the family comprised their widowed mother, the gun-mad Leslie, and diet-obsessed sister Margo together with Roger the dog.
They are fiercely protected by their taxi-driver friend Spiro (Spyros "Americano" Chalikiopoulos) and mentored by the polymath Dr Theodore Stephanides who provides Gerald with his education in natural history. Other human characters, chiefly eccentric, include Gerald's private tutors, the artistic and literary visitors Larry invites to stay, and the local peasants who befriend the family. An audio treat for those young and old.
©1956 Gerald Durrell (P)2010 CSA Word
"Hugh Bonneville gives a lovely reading… Delicious!" (Daily Express)
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"A Comedy Classic Comes to Life"
This book is at the top of my comedy "love list."All of Gerald Durrell's books have been on my shelves since I was 8 (some 40+ years!). As I was disappointed in what television had produced, I was hesitant to have a listen to this audiobook version. Happily, Hugh Bonneville has thoroughly captured the essence of the wit and beautifully turned phrases. Naturalists and humorists will love this classic. Mr. Bonneville's range of characterization is just wonderful. He obviously loves the work as much as any Durrell fan. As much as I enjoyed Hugh Bonneville as the Earl of Grantham in the popular Downton Abbey, his vast talent for comedy had no occasion to shine. Here it does. It positively sparkles.
Spiro is my favorite character as he's much like a large mastiff taking charge of a gaggle of silly ducklings. Spiro has come to life and is as endearing and animated as Gerry Durrell wrote him. Margo is screechingly funny. Mother is vacantly aware, as always. Theo and all the others... It's impossible to pick a favorite! You'll be laughing out loud.
This is the first time I've had the pleasure. But I'll definitely be looking for more from Mr. Bonneville in hopes that he chooses comedies over dramas.
Ohhh. I'm not sure any director or producer could do this series of books justice, particularly in this age of huge "blockbuster budgets". Meaningful family cinema and television seem to be falling along the wayside. A long, long TV series in the vein of Larkrise to Candleford or Downton Abbey would be lovely. I actually thought of Gerald Durrell when I watched "Dean Spanley" and wished, at the time, that Toa Fraser would try a Durrell movie. Something shot on location in sleepy, sunny Greece. Something that takes it time, gets all the lines, gets the costumes, scenery, wit and "times" just right. I would love to see this series with the child, Gerry, as the focal point and his perspective the dominant one, as in the books.
Truly funny and candid descriptions of the politics of family life will be familiar to many listeners, regardless of the era. Lovely descriptions of nature and the wonder we each felt as children when we first "discovered" the microcosms will bring back childhood memories. I highly recommend this refreshing listening as it will transport you!
"My Family And Other Animals."
I loved this book so much! The story line is so creative and the work man ship is perfect for adventurers' like me. 5 stars. For My Family And Other Animals.
"Why couldn't they have the full book?"
I simply cannot understand why this needed to be abridged. One of the most wonderful storytelling.
"DEVASTATING THAT THIS BOOK HAS BEEN ABRIDGED. WHY?"
The story and the narrator.
It was lighthearted and descriptive.
He is perfection.
I cried when I found that it was abridged.
Ask Hugh to do an unabridged version.
"This should be required reading"
I would, and I do listen to this fine work, a good bedtime story too....absolutely delightful. It is out of print, and everybody who has curiosity and a sense of humor, or loves animals, and critters, or who hates them should read and enjoy this book...
For story telling, maybe Harry Potter, or Wind in the Willows. A wonderful true tale of a boy and his adventures. Hated to see some critters sacrificed, but that's how we learn.
He was easy to listen to, and character voices were identifiable and delightful. Not since Harry Potter narrator have I enjoyed a performance as well. And it was a performance. I had to remind myself that this is a true story, of a boy, and how he grew up to become what he did..
This was loaned to me, because my friend from the gardening club thought the antics reminded her of me...it was a paperback, and I am ever so hard on books, so I borrowed it from the public library, then lost it. It is out of print and the replacement cost was $40, then I found it on Audio, but didn't know how to listen to it. Now I do, and would pay to replace the lost book, and have a hard copy for myself.I laughed, wondered, and enjoyed every moment, then cried when it was the end.
A must read for any kid who likes or hates bugs and things, and their moms too.
"Why would you abridge this!?"
Hilarious, warm, evocative
The accents were a bit questionable (the Greek ones, that is)
The whole problem with this audiobook is that it's ABRIDGED! It's hugely shortened and some of the most memorable and hilarious anecdotes have been left out - not to mention many of Gerald Durrell's beautiful, enchanting word-paintings of Corfu, his family, and his adventures. I am bitterly disappointed by this and find the whole book has lost a tremendous amount of impact because stories and moments which served as ties and punchlines throughout the book have been left out. It's a real shame.
"Unusual! ! !"
A teenager or young person.
Absolutely, he made the book tolerable. Very animated.
Not a book for adults. To childish.
"A rare ole time!"
Gerald Durrell's autobiographical account of his childhood days in Korfu is hilarious and has, in my opinion, stood the tests of time just fine. Hugh Bonneville's reading is very good, he underpins the story without stealing the limelight.
Highly recommended if you don't crave dystopian modernity.
"Humorous and undemanding"
A gentle and comical reminiscence about the the author's childhood in Corfu with interesting insights into the lives and attitudes of other members of his family including his elder brother Lawrence.
"A joy to listen to!"
Listening to the sample of Hugh Bonneville reading this book sealed the sale for me. He reads it with such expression that it was an absolute pleasure to listen to. Gerald Durrell's writing is a wonderful snapshot of his early years in lovely Corfu, a place I'm extremely fond of. His detailed & vivid descriptions of the wildlife, his family, the landscape & the locals are given equal billing. Will definitely buy more in this series.
This has been and always will be my favourite childhood book, wonderful for both children and adults alike. The story of Gerald Durrell's childhood in Corfu it's both touching and funny, with a real sense of wonder about the world and all the animals in it.
I highly recommend this as a perfect way to pass a dreary winters evening.
An entertaining listen.
Larry, an intolerant, selfish young man - but added colour to the story.
The scene with the scorpions in the matchbox.
No. easy to listen to a little at a time. A gentle tale.
Read the book as a child and loved it, now 40 years later listening to the book was every bit as good as I remember. Totally recommend it. It's amusing, and very well read.
"Love love love "
I really loved to read this book and thought I couldn't fall more in love with it till I listened to it. I can practically see myself on that Island experiencing everything and I constantly marvel at how Jerry can make the most ordinary of nature very beautiful.
"Brilliant story & performance"
I had forgotten how brilliant this story is & the audio really brought it to life. Enjoyed by all ages. Brilliant
"Loved every minute of it,"
I had forgotten how funny this book was. Both my husband and I enjoyed it.
Lovely book with lol moments. Sleepy Olive Groves in the shimmering heat against the deep blue sea. Perfect .....
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