Marrying Off Mother and Other Stories

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9780006378167: Marrying Off Mother and Other Stories

A collection of short stories by a world-renowned naturalist and author of My Family and Other Animals introduces an eccentric cast of characters including a prize-truffling pig in France and an aging Memphis belle.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Beginning with Esmeralda, a champion truffle pig who smells of Joy, this collection of eight stories finds Durrell on a familiar anecdotal high. Fact or fiction, his tales are full of the unique tricks and deftly timed scenes that characterize his other writings, from the nun who finds her truer calling in a Monte Carlo casino to the beloved cruise captain who drops dead as his ship crosses the dateline. But, memorable as they are, the manner of their introduction has more enduring appeal. With his natural storytelling rhythm and sunny, generous stance, Durrell not only pins down the precise idiosyncrasies of his unlikely subjects (the devoted Greek friend who swears ``My lips are seals'') but validates them as well, allowing, for example, the former hangman rattled by his past to confront the men he executed before determining his own death. In the title story, Gerry and his siblings at a younger age, endowed with the same dubious qualities they've had in previous appearances, try to arrange a wildly inappropriate match for their widowed mother; she responds with a vastly superior scheme of her own. In another piece, a perpetually cursing parrot inadvertently hastens the downfall of a wayward vicar. On two legs or four, these improbable creatures offer softened charms and certain satisfactions for old fans and newer enthusiasts. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

In these eight stories, which feature the author himself, naturalist Durrell contrasts human and animal behavior. The entire collection is prefaced by an epigram from Ambrose Bierce's Devil's Dictionary : "Bride--a woman with a fine prospect of happiness behind her." The reader soon finds the same prospect, for the epigram's minimal relevance indicates the problem: Durrell does not seem to know when he has made his point. The title story shows how the author's widowed mother cleverly stops her meddlesome children from trying to get her remarried. "Retirement" aims for profundity with the sudden death of a retiring sea captain but becomes silly. "The Jury," about a hangman in Paraguay haunted by his victims, has potential but grows tired and predictable. There are many wonderfully descriptive passages and images, but they ramble. A valiant effort drowned by purple prose. Not recommended.
-Kenneth Mintz, Hoboken P.L., N.J.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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