Durrell’s zenith & nadir

I picked this up just before Christmas “The Picnic and Suchlike Pandemonium!” by Gerald Durrel.

A second-hand purchase from our nearest bookstore.

Imagine that a place where you can go and buy stuff! Ah, those were the days.

It’s a slim book which contains six short stories, and it starts off with all the riotous joys that only the Durrell family can offer.

Within moments I was “watching” Keeley Hawes and the rest of the family go about their dysfunctional business.

My impression being that Gerry was a shrewd observer, and writes with the exaggerated style employed by Jeremy Clarkson.

It was real laugh out loud stuff, so good I had to get up and read a page to my wife in the adjacent room.

Picnics, voyages, and all the usual Durrell interaction make first class reading.

Then the last (and longest story) at the end of the book betrays what we are told are Gerry’s interest in the occult.

Written in the style of a sinister ghost story, “The Escape” did nothing for me. The story didn’t add up, and was preposterous. NIL stars for this portion of fanciful garbage!

What a shame, up until those last 50 pages it would have been a 5 Star purchase.

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