(My Rating 4 / 5)
This was my first Durrell book and I don’t know why I have waited so long!
As part of the conservation efforts of Durrell’s wildlife trust, he made two trips to Mauritius in the 1970’s. Golden Bats and Pink Pigeons is an account of those eventful trips.
The book is an entertaining read and I was laughing out loud for most of the novel! The parts about the Jak fruit, in particular, had me in splits.
In the process I also learnt a lot about the flora and fauna peculiar to Mauritius and how one goes about safely capturing endangered animals for breeding in captivity. How I wish I had read this book before I visited beautiful Mauritius many years ago, as a teenager. I am sure my appreciation for everything I saw would have been much greater!
The chapter entitled The Enchanted World, where Durrell describes underwater life in Mauritius is truly like being read a fairy tale. I have been snorkelling in Mauritius and more recently in the Andaman Islands, when I accompanied my husband on a diving trip and I was bewildered by what I saw – it is an entirely different world that exists under water! Then when I heard about the experiences of those who actually went diving, deep into the water, I realised how much more there was to it! Now, while reading Durrell’s description I realise that what he saw was in the seventies, when sea-life must have been even more breathtaking on account of being less affected by things like pollution and over fishing.
I really enjoyed Durrell’s style of writing and his sense of humour. He appears to simply be enjoying recounting his adventures to us, but in the process he also ends up educating us and informing us about the crucial and urgent agenda of saving endangered species. I guess when people really love what they do, it shows and their enthusiasm becomes contagious.
Since my father, whose book this is, has quite a large Durrell collection, I eagerly look forward to devouring more of it; in particular, My Family and Other Animals.
If only people like Gerald Durrell, Bill Bryson, Margaret MacMillan and William Dalrymple were entrusted with the task of authoring high school Science, History and Geography textbooks!
You can read about my 2016 Reading Challenge and the books I have already completed as part of the challenge here.