Birds, Beasts, and RelativesBook - 1969
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In this third memoir in the "Corfu Trilogy", Gerald Durrell (1925-1995) recounts more tales of his youthful misadventure, exploration, and amusement on an enchanted Mediterranean island just prior to the outbreak of the Second World War. A young naturalist with a sharp eye, extraordinary patience, and keen enthusiasm, Durrell accumulates and nurtures a large menagerie of animals. His two older brothers, sister, mother, and assorted locals have their lives 'animated' by young Gerry's enthusiastic animal collecting. Looking back after 30 years on his boyhood, Durrell writes engaging anecdotes, skillful caricatures, word pictures, and infectious humour.
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" Summer gaped upon the island [of Corfu] like the mouth of a great oven. Even in the shade of the olive groves it was not cool and the incessant, penetrating cries of the cicadas seemed to swell and become more insistent with each hot, blue noon. ... The sea lay as breathless and still as a bale of silk ... You had to row the boat out into deep water ... and dive over the side to get cool. It was like diving into the sky. Now was the time for butterflies and moths. ... you would get the great languid swallow-tails, flapping elegantly and erratically from bush to bush; fritillaries, glowing almost as hot and angry an orange as a live coal ... cabbage whites; clouded yellows; and the lemon-yellow-and-orange brimstones bumbled to and fro on untidy wings. Among the grasses the skippers, like little brown furry aeroplanes, would skim and purr, and on glittering slabs of gypsum the red admirals, as flamboyant as a cluster of Woolworth jewellery ...". (p. 211)
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