[ilds] Corfu memoirs

Michael Haag michaelhaag at btinternet.com
Wed Jul 4 08:34:11 PDT 2007

No big theory.  But Gerry is writing about his family and other  
animals, and it suits him that animals and family are all under one  
roof.  His older brother is too good material to leave out, and it is  
too annoying having him living elsewhere and coming only for visits;  
Gerry wants him under the same roof where he can drop spiders on his  
head at will.  I would also guess that it somewhat recreates earlier  
days when the family did indeed live under one roof in South London  
before Larry had flown the coop and got himself a girl.  A further but  
possibly not very important point is that by the time My Family was  
written Nancy herself was long gone from being one of the fauna and  
Gerry did not want to bring up delicate memories.  But principally the  
guy had a story to write, and the idea was to put a madhouse under one  
roof, no distractions allowed.

Nancy in Prospero' Cell is N, just as Eve in Marine Venus is E -- a  
mysterious letter of the alphabet.  Nancy is a presence; Durrell is not  
writing about her or his relationship with her, he is writing about a  
lightness of youthful being with presences in attendance, and N does  
that nicely.  Like Gerry he has his story to write, and it would get in  
the way if he mentioned how often they left the White House at Kalami  
for calmer weather to the south and mother's home cooking.  No this is  
the writer on his bare rock, and no time for sentiment, much less  
cluttering elements like family.

Gerry is a boy growing up among beetles.  Larry is an artist growing up  
on a bare rock.  That is the party line.  Both stories are far more  
complicated and sadder than that.


On Wednesday, July 4, 2007, at 02:54  pm, Bruce Redwine wrote:

> Michael:
> "I do wonder, though, why Gerald chose to describe in detail scenes  
> involving his family, including his brother Lawrence, but did not  
> mention Nancy even in passing."
> My recollections of LD's and his brother's accounts of Corfu are too  
> sketchy to know if this author got the facts right.  I guess you have  
> a theory why Nancy is left out.  She's not much of a presence in  
> Prospero's Cell either, as I dimly recall.
> Bruce
> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Michael Haag <michaelhaag at btinternet.com>
>> Sent: Jul 3, 2007 4:46 PM
>> To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
>> Subject: [ilds] Corfu memoirs
>> http://isralit.wordpress.com/2007/07/03/the-transforming-lens-of- 
>> memory/
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