My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

Somewhere between novel and autobiography, My Family and Other Animals is the story of 10-year-old nature enthusiast Gerald Durrell and his family’s four-year migration from England to Corfu in the 1930s. Gerald’s enthusiasm for the natural world finds the perfect outlet on the island and the book is filled with his richly detailed descriptions of the local flora and fauna, as well as hilarious tales of the behaviours of the other members of the Durrell family. Each chapter is devoted to a new local find, ranging from the mating habits of tortoises to the best way to get a free lunch from the locals.

This book is an absolute delight to read. With a fascinating cast of characters, both human and animal, and the beautifully evocative way that life on Corfu is recounted, the more you read about Gerald’s life, the more you will feel your own is highly inadequate.

Ruth Pirrett