The Durrells are back on Sunday evening TV, bickering and creating mayhem against the heavenly backdrop of Corfu. Simon Nye’s adaptation is gorgeous escapism, much as the island was for the real Durrells in the years before the second world war. And the tales it spins are about as misleading.
Some years ago I became so fascinated by the family, and elder brother Larry in particular, that I wrote a novel inspired by his traveller’s life – and four wives along the way. I loved Gerard Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals from the moment I opened it aged about eleven. It was the funniest book I had ever read, and Gerald’s vicious yet loving lampoon of writer Larry sparkled in a glittering sea of hilarious set pieces, the 'diminutive blond firework' by turns pompously literary and infuriated by marauding beasts and insects.
But as ever with the Durrells, the truth was never allowed to get in the way of a good story. As sister Margo once said: “I never know what’s fact and what’s fiction in my family.”
To read more, please hop over to Katherine Sunderland's BiblioManiac blog. This is the opening of a guest post I've written for her.
I'm still fascinated by the Durrell family, their books, adventures and the truth behind the stories, and have recently read and thoroughly enjoyed Michael Haag's The Durrells of Corfu. It's a great overview of their real lives, with some poignant new photos that have never been released before, though it doesn't reveal much of the darker, and possibly most fascinating aspects of their stories. Still well worth reading if you're loving the TV series, and I bet you'll want to find out more...