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The Whispering Land Paperback – Dec 1967


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New impression edition (Dec 1967)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140020837
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140020830
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 1.7 x 17.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 463,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Buenos Aires, decked out for spring, was looking her best. Read the first page
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Fiona on 18 Jun 2007
Format: Paperback
I love all of the late Gerald Durrell's books. This one is an account of his travels in Patagonia and the Argentine, and the entertaining characters, customs, and animals he encounters there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By EGB on 14 Oct 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
We were recommended to read this book as we are visiting Argentina next year. As an insight into life as it was there 50 years ago; it is a charming, well written and very entertaining read. Highly recommended (but make allowances for the fact that some things acceptable 50 years ago may not be so today!)
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13 of 24 people found the following review helpful By lidz_blake@mail.com on 9 May 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is another example of Durrell's ability to make nature interesting and amusing for those who otherwise shun the natural world. For others who enjoy the beauty of our world, it is a delightful collection of humurous and informative ancedotes
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 12 reviews
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful read with excellent descriptions. 16 Nov 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
To me, Gerald Durrell is the best descriptive writer who has ever lived. His stories of animal collecting trips to such exotic places as Africa, Argentina, Madagascar and more never seize to give me enjoyment. He not only chronicles his trip and the animals which he obtains but he also describes the many exotic and interesting people he meets. His sharp eye for the unusual and the eccentric grant him a place in the list of the best books I have read. This book tells of his trip of Argentina, where he manages to film and obtain myriad varieties of animals. The first half of the book chronicles the author's stay in Buenos Aires and how he manages to film penguins and seals in their natural habitat. Using words aptly and pleasingly, he describes the personalities of particular penguins or seals and through this particular specimen of the species he is studying, he traces the amazing habits of the species. In the second and admittedly more enjoyable half of the book, Durrell writes of his journey to Jujuy where he finds more of the tropical wildlife. Whether it comes to describing the ludicrous circumstances under which he comes to obtain a rare parrot from its naive owner or baiting a vampire bat with his own toe, Durrell does not seize to bring smiles to the faces of readers. Durrell sees the humourous side of life, which is not something which many people are able to do. When the end of the books comes, the reader is overcome by a feeling of wistfulness which cannot be obtained from any other author of this genre.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
a great book by one of the best zoologist authors ever 11 July 2003
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A charming little book about an animal collecting trip in South America. Durrell paints both an enchanting picture both of the Argentine people and of the flora and fauna of the country. He encounters vampire bats, a puma, and many birds. He rescues an ocelot from a cruel local owner who is starving the cat and convinces a baby Geoffrey's cat to eat by pairing it with a lovable tabby kitten who sets the example and provides it with company.
Durrell was one of the first naturalists to develop the notion of captive breeding to ensure the survival of endangered species. He obviously cares deeply about the animals that he collects and goes to extra ordinary lengths to make them happy and keep them healthy. His descriptions of caring for a sick taper, even sleeping beside her to comfort her, are delightful. His wrangle with custom's officials are amusing, and his description of a plain trip in Argentina is particularly hilarious.
Also, Durrell's tireless work and observations were sometimes the first and best studies into how to care for these animals in captivity. When possible, he takes his specimens from private owners, rather than taking them from the wild. People like Durrell were not responsible for the endangerment of these animals. He worked for the salvation of many species and was probably responsible for the continued survival of some today.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful 21 Feb 2002
By Benjamin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Even for a person with an insufferably short attention span, I was not once bored during this book. It's not a thriller, or anything of the sort, but it managed to truly involve the reader in the author's journey.
The story of an Englishman who is on a trip through Patagonia to collect animals for his own private zoo, this book manages to bring out the animal lover in any reader. The descriptions of the land, the people, and the animals are beautifully crafted in well done, straight forward prose. I highly recommend it.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Hunting for Wild Times (and Animals) in Argentina 9 July 2006
By James Paris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Gerald Durrell will make you roar with laughter even in a whispering land. The fact that this book is still in print after half a century gives you some idea that it is still quite readable: In fact, it reads as if it were written yesterday.

I devoured this book as part of a reading program I planned for myself for a trip to Patagonia. The first half of the book is set in two areas in Patagonia that I planned to visit: Puerto Deseado in the south, once visited by Darwin on his circumnavigation of the earth on the Beagle, and the large wildlife preserve at Peninsula Valdez, near Puerto Madryn. There, Durrell visited penguin rookeries; saw the breeding grounds of sea lions and elephant seals; and saw guanacos, Geoffroy's cats, rheas, and tinamous.

From Patagonia, Durrell went to the area around Jujuy in the tropical northwest of Argentina. There, he went into collecting mode as he employed locals to track down wild animals that were being kept as pets by the indigenous population.

Durrell's encounters with the local people are funny and at times heart-wrenching, as when he finds a self-taught naturalist named Coco who must work at a sawmill to make ends meet. But Durrell's encounters with animals are utterly hilarious, as his attempts to tame a captured Geoffroy's cat (gato montes).

One of the best chapters relates to the difficulties that Durrell has in exporting his animals and getting all his bureaucratic ducks in a row. His final departure on a ship bound to Europe is held up until a last minute solution satisfies a particularly mule-headed customs official.

I enjoyed this book so much that I plan to read several more of Durrell's works soon. It is hard to believe that the author is the brother of novelist Lawrence Durrell, author of THE ALEXANDRIA QUARTET.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful 21 Feb 2002
By Benjamin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Even for a person with an insufferably short attention span, I was not once bored during this book. It's not a thriller, or anything of the sort, but it managed to truly involve the reader in the author's journey.
The story of an Englishman who is on a trip through Patagonia to collect animals for his own private zoo, this book manages to bring out the animal lover in any reader. The descriptions of the land, the people, and the animals are beautifully crafted in well done, straight forward prose. I highly recommend it.
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