I had two great scores at Mr. K’s used books the other day. Hiding in the biography section was Gerald Durrell’s Fauna and Family – the third volume of his Corfu memoirs – and Douglas Botting’s biography of Durrell. Both out of print in the US. (Yes, yes, I know I could buy used copies online at any point and probably for pennies. But, choosing a used book is not something I can do sight unseen. I like to know it’s not a crumbly, musty bundle of yellowed pages first.)
The first two books of the “Corfu trilogy,” My Family & Other Animals and Birds, Beasts and Relatives, are available in paperback from Penguin, but the third Corfu volume is not currently available in a single volume edition. I’ve been suspicious that the reason the third volume wasn’t available was simply because it wasn’t much good, but the first few chapters quickly disproved that theory. The whole family is already sick of me collapsing into hysterics and not being able to stop laughing long enough to explain the joke. C’mon Penguin, bring this out in paperback so fans can complete the set.
I haven’t begun Botting’s biography yet, but having skimmed a couple of chapters and perused the several photo sections I’ve already found it fascinating for divulging some of the untold stories and facts behind the memoirs, and it’s always cool to see what people really looked like.