The Garden of the GodsPosted: January 10, 2017
Gerald Durrell wrote three books about his childhood in Corfu. The first was My Family and Other Animals, first published in 1956. I read that book as a diversion when I was in college in the 1970’s. The second was Birds, Beasts, and Relatives, published in 1969. Garden of the Gods was originally published in 1978. When it popped up for $2.99 as an Early Bird books sale I grabbed it.
You may have noticed that PBS ran the British series The Durrells of Corfu last fall. The series was based on this trilogy, although with a number of liberties taken. The present book is, for the most part, lighthearted. There are some grim moments, to be sure, but Durrell writes through the eyes of his thirteen year-old self and never takes himself very seriously.
The trilogy is built around the context of Durrell’s widowed mother taking him along with his two brothers and one sister from England to live on the Greek island of Corfu. Young Durrell was a budding naturalist even before leaving England and was quite in his element in Corfu. The episodes describe the family, the residents of the island, and Durrell’s forays into collecting animals for his menagerie.
Like My Family and Other Animals, Garden of the Gods is an enjoyable diversion.