Gerald "Gerry" Malcolm Durrell
was an English naturalist, zookeeper, conservationist, author and television presenter. Obsessed with animals, he devoted his life to the conservation of endangered species, and founded the Jersey Zoo and the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust (now called Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in his honour).
He is the author of many books, mostly autobiographical works about his childhood in Corfu and his expeditions to various places in the world, as well as some humourous novels and children's books. His recurring themes are animals with loveable personalities, eccentric and unusual people, and the fragility of nature. He is also the presenter of a handful of radio and television programmes.
He is also the younger brother of Lawrence Durrell
, the author of the Alexandria Quartet
.His notable works include:
Fiction:Tropes associated with him:
- Cloudcuckoolander: Almost all people in his books are portrayed as eccentric.
- Derailed For Details: In his "Corfu Trilogy", he relates that this was the only way he was able to learn history. His tutor told him all about Lord Nelson's butterfly collection and the names of Hannibal's elephants.
- Friend to All Living Things: He was obsessed with animals of all size and shape.
- Genre Adultery: His books are usually comedic stories about animals and eccentric people. However, he also wrote "The Entrance", a straightforward, non-comedic Gothic Horror story, as well as The Talking Parcel, a fantasy book for children.
- Green Aesop: The conclusion of most of his books and shows is that nature is beautiful, fragile, and the most important thing a man can do is to protect it.
- Hilarity In Zoos: Many of his books (most notably, Menagerie Manor and Beasts in my Belfry) take place in a zoo, where a lot of amusing things happen. (A Zoo in my Luggage, despite its title, is not an example: it is about an expedition to Cameroon.)
- Pet Baby, Wild Animal: He kept a lot of them as a child.
- Unreliable Narrator: His books may be autobiographical, but many details, incidents and scenarios depart from an objective account.
- Voice for the Voiceless: He often presented himself as the voice for endangered animals.