I am reading Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals, which I bought for a quarter at a book dump in San Marcos 4 years ago. Here’s an excerpt:
Having constructed battlements of books round the outer perimeter, Larry would spend the whole day in there with his typewriter, only emerging dreamily for meals. On the second morning he appeared in a highly irritable frame of mind, for a peasant had tethered a donkey just over the hedge. At regular intervals the beast would throw its head and let forth a prolonged and lugubrious bray.
“I ask you! Isn’t it laughable that future generations should be deprived of my work simply because some horny-handed idiot has tied that stinking beast of burden near my window?”
“Yes, dear,” said Mother, “Why don’t you move it if it disturbs you?”
“My dear Mother, I can’t be expected to spend my time chasing donkeys about the olive groves. I threw a pamphlet on Theosophy at it; what more do you expect me to do?”
(They sound like Ignatius and Mrs. Reilly, do they not?)
Turns out Larry is Lawrence Durrell. And Gerald is his younger brother. And this book came out before The Alexandria Quartet. It’s been re-released in a pretty new paperback (my copy’s from 1970, and has cool psychedelic colors and animals on the cover).
Anyway… who knew the Durrells had a sense of humor?