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Justine
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If you haven’t read My Family and Other Animals, do so – preferably with a child

10 April 2016 4:00 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

It’s great that ITV is showing The Durrells so a new generation can meet this family of talented oddballs but read the book before you watch it

Growing up in America, my only association with the Durrell family involved Lawrence and a beautiful set of The Alexandria Quartet on my parents’ bookshelves. In the 1960s, when my family moved in moderately intellectual Boston circles, I spent a bookish childhood nosing into novels I couldn’t possibly understand.

I picked up Justine when I was 12, about the time the Anouk Aimée/Dirk Bogarde film came out. Book and film both promised sexual enchantment, risque pleasures, the sultry mysteries of Cairo. So I dived in, expecting enlightenment, titillation, adult pleasures – all of which failed to materialise. I remember the frustration of trying to make sense of Durrell’s adult prose. Worse, this sexually progressive (ie, obscene) novel seemed to have no sex scenes in it. »

- Meg Rosoff

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