[ilds] Robin Collins

Richard Pine pinedurrellcorfu at gmail.com
Tue Mar 29 03:20:46 PDT 2016


Robin Collins says:
The irony was that what I learned through the experience of reading LD was
that (can I say this here?) brother Gerald Durrell wasn't a very good
writer. He wrote for the cash to fuel his zoo, and every of his books (the
ones I read) was exactly the same. Got up, went to exotic location,
captured some animals, brought them back, the end. Plodding like a boring
green grocer.

As the former director of the Durrell School of Corfu I have to argue with
this:
it may be a heresy, but I consider the first two books of Gerald's "Corfu
Trilogy" superior to "Prospero's Cell", as far as the author's empathy with
the island and its people is concerned. (Not the third, volume, I admit)
As for "every one of his books was the same.... went, captured,,,,brought
them back", well that's the Aristotelian unities isn't it, and if Mr
Collins reads a passage like, for example, the conclusion to "Two in the
Bush" he will at work a serious mind which focussed on the perils of the
natural world as effectively as his brother did on the fictitious world.
Yes, Gerald did not attempt 'great' literature, but he did not envy his
brother. It was rather vice versa. Gerald Durrell's books are a monument to
a pioneering intellect in the science of species preservation, not fairy
stories. They should be read as such, by the grocer as much as by the
princess (which they are). Reflect on this: every one of Aesop's fables is
'exactly the same' - sets out a dilemma or a particular situation, dissects
it, and brings it to an acceptable conclusion. Just like Jane Austen or
Lawrence Durrell (who also 'wrote for cash to fuel' his marriages,
children, tax bill...').
RP
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