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The Durrells of Corfu

Michael Haag

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This book written to flesh out the background to the three books Gerald Durrell wrote about their time on Corfu.

So first author gives a lot more balance by crediting eldest brother Larry with a high level literary career.

And he explains why they ended up on Corfu after the tragic death of their father in India. Mother became an alcoholic, and family conspired to shift her to Corfu to dry out and to try to sustain finances. And after the war, Leslie, the middle brother, goes bad - embezzled money from school he was working at and had to flee Africa; eventually dies of a heart attack in a pub.

But the worst part is the destruction of the idyllic scenes that Gerald portrayed. Germans bombed Corfu to stop Allies using harbour, destroying many of the houses, then post war overrun with tourists (partly motivated by Gerald's books) and their hotels.

And everyone dies - Spiro, the partly-Americanised taxi driver dies just as the English populace were hurriedly evacuating ahead of Axis invasion, and then, one by one, all the characters drop off.

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