HOW TO SHOOT AN AMATEUR NATURALIST by Gerald Durrell

HOW TO SHOOT AN AMATEUR NATURALIST

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A chronicle of the ups and downs of shooting a TV nature series for the BBC by the author of 18 previous nature books and novels. For those of us who have curled up on a Sunday evening to let public television transport us around the planet on orgies of naturalism, this is a wonderful little book which answers the question--does David Attenborough ever get bitten by mosquitoes? Yes, he does, and so did Durrell in shooting The Amateur Naturalist. But mosquitoes are only part of the problem. In 10 chapter vignettes which coincide with the locales of his series, Durrell lovingly and humorously gives the inside scoop on the world of televised nature. The viewer may wonder how a narrator managed to position himself at the bottom of a 500-foot cliff: Durrell narrates every fearful inch of his belly crawl down a Shetland cliff path. The viewer may question how the camera just happens to be there when a mother road runner chooses to feed one of her dead chicks whole to another of her babies. Durrell relates the hours of waiting for stubborn animals to do their thing and the ""planting"" of animals for their starring roles. Durrell is a marvelous anecdotalist with a flair for finding just the right metaphor. An avocet moves ""elegantly. . .in a black and white suit, obviously designed by the most expensive Paris fashion-house. . ."" Unable to dissuade the mosquitoes of the Camargue from biting, despite bottles of repellent, Durrell conjectures that they ""apparently looked upon the foul-smelling repellent as a sort of aperitif before getting down to the main meal of blood."" A sloth's movements are ""as slow as bureaucracy."" For so many little reasons like these, a fine companion for one of those Sunday nights when the television breaks down and one needs his nature fix.

Pub Date: Sept. 5th, 1985
Publisher: Little, Brown