The recent TV award winning adaption The Durrells left its 7 million fans with questions: What happened to the family - and what took them to Corfu in the first place? This book has the answers.
Simon Nye's TV series, The Durrells, is based loosely on Gerald Durrell's Corfu Trilogy and in particular his much-loved bestseller, My Family and Other Animals. These books in turn are based somewhat loosely on actual events. The real-life Durrells went to Corfu at the urging of Lawrence Durrell, who was already living on the island with his wife, Nancy Myers. Their intent was to keep the family together as his mother, Louisa, was drinking heavily and recovering from a breakdown; 'We can be proud of the way we brought her up,' Larry said, only half-jokingly, of the family's subsequent Corfu sojourn.
Michael Haag's book covers the background to the Durrell family's years in Corfu, including their time in India, where all the children were born, and where their father, a brilliant civil engineer, had died. It recalls the real life characters the Durrells encountered on Corfu, notably the biologist and poet Theodore Stephanides, and the taxi driver, Spiros Halikiopoulos. And Haag tells the story of how the Durrells left Corfu, including Margo's return intent on joining the Greek resistance, and Leslie's romance in England with the family's Corfite maid and friend, Maria Kondos. Further chapters cover what happened to the family in later life; here, Lawrence and Gerald Durrell's biographies are well known, but little has previously been written of Margo, Leslie and Louisa. Haag has fascinating stories to tell of them all.
About the Author
Michael Haag knew Lawrence and Gerald Durrell (and met Margo), and is currently writing a biography of Lawrence for Yale University Press, which also published his Alexandria: City of Memory, a definitive study of Cavafy, Forster and Lawrence Durrell in the city. Haag has also written widely on the Egyptian, Classical and Medieval worlds and is the author of a dozen books including, for Profile, The Templars: History and Myth and The Quest for Mary Magdalene. Originally from New York City, he lives in London.
This real life story of the Durrell family is fascinating - Haag brilliantly traces their footsteps in pre-war Corfu, England and India -- Simon Nye, Writer, ITV 's The Durrells
Family stories are worth telling, and this one is fascinatingly put together by Michael Haag. For few families present such an entertaining patchwork tale as the Durrells. * Daily Mail *
A lively and appreciative study. * Times *
Given their talent for mythmaking, The Durrells of Corfu is probably as fine an introduction to the real lives of this remarkable family as could be written. * Sydney Morning Herald *
Haag vividly evokes the time and the place with sumptuous descriptions ... [he] has written a love letter to an extraordinary family. As families and other animals go, the Durrells are a breed of their own. * Daily Express *
Haag adds sadness and depth to a story that is superficially golden and charming, and which never stops being so. There is so much lustre here that nothing can tarnish it; the complications and grievances only make you admire the Durrells more. What a family, and what lives well lived. * Sunday Times *
These pages conjure the restorative, redemptive atmosphere of sunlight on stone. * Observer *
Praise for The Quest for Mary Magdalene:
[A] well-researched and page-turning history ... a narrative as clue-rich as a thriller. * Sunday Times *
Praise for The Tragedy of the Templars:
'Haag is a romantic pluralist, with an instinctive taste for the esoteric, the independent and the defeated; and a corresponding distrust of victors and orthodoxies. * TLS *
Praise for The Templars: History and Myth:
'Here at long last is a history of the Knights Templar - and their secrets - that you can believe in. * Scotsman *
Given that talent for mythmaking, The Durrells of Corfu is probably as fine an introduction to the real lives of this remarkable family as could be written. * Sydney Morning Herald *
An absolutely riveting read. * The Mail on Sunday *
A brief but rip-roaring biography of the multi-talented Durrell family. -- Marcus Berkman * Daily Mail *