Thursday, 29 January 2009

Poet hails Lawrence Durrell's Corfu

Corfu is indelibly associated in many holiday makers mind with Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals - massively popular with generations of children and adults alike.

Readers of the book will be familiar with the author's elder brother Lawrence, who - although he appears in Gerald's childhood memoir as something of a pretentious buffoon - went on to have a successful literary career of his own.

Lawrence Durrell's work was equally influenced by Corfu, particularly his novel Prospero's Cell.

Now, poet Brian Patten - who was friends with the author - has revealed that, after ignoring advice given to him by Durrell 40 years ago to travel to the "unspoilt" island, he finally followed it, and has recently enjoyed a holiday there.

Staying at Durrell's old apartment, by the sea on the bay of Kalami, north east of the island, Patten wrote last week that "in truth, this corner of Corfu has so far escaped mass tourism, and Kalami has been developed far less than many other places."

"There is nowhere on Corfu more beautiful than the dozen or so sea miles between Nissaki and Kassiopi on the island's north-eastern coast, where Mount Pantokrator spills down to pine and cedar-coated cliffs before plunging into crystal clear and temperate waters," he added, in an article written for the Independent newspaper.

Patten also told that his journey had represented almost a rediscovery of his old friend: he came across black and white photographs of the author in local tavernas, which seemed to him like "sun-bleached ghosts staring across the years".

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