Ring of Bright Water Author:Gavin Maxwell In this beautifully written, thoroughly delightful book, Gavin Maxwell gives a superb account of his life in a lonely cottage on the northwest coast of Scotland, about the animals who shared it with him, and about the others who are his only immediate neighbors in a brilliant landscape of rock and sea. — "A latent Robinson Crusoe or Swiss Family ... more »Robinson instinct" drew Maxwell to the uninhabited, empty shell of a cottage that he calls Camusfearna. With unusual polish and precision, he describes his adventures in settling in, in furnishing his home with pieces found on the nearby beaches, of his first meetings with his neighbors, and of his efforts to lie off the land, whether by keeping a goat for milk, trying to find edible mushrooms, or subsisting on crabs and lobsters. He tells of the sea and the seashore, of the coming of spring, and the bird, animal and fish migrations that the changing seasons bring, and of the creatures of the sea that he observes from his doorstep - porpoises, dolphin, killer whales, and even a sea monster. But the hero and heroine of the book are by all odds Maxwell's incomparable pet otters, Mijbil and Edal. Mij came first. As intelligent and affectionate as any dog, Mij ran free all day, always retiring at night to sleep in the author's bed.
When by an unfortunate accident Mij was killed, it was obvious to Maxwell that his only consolation would be another otter. After many abortive searches, by mere chance he found Edal. Like her predecessor, Edal had little trouble adjusting to her West Highlands home. Less daring and self-confident than Mij, she was nevertheless just as fascinating a friend and just as productive of hilarious anecdote.
Ring of Bright Water marvelously evokes Gavin Maxwell's world of Camusfearna and supplies a view of the affections and background of a very accomplished writer. But it is in the portraits of his two otter pets that the author outdoes himself. Not since Elsa, the lioness of Born Free fame, have words and pictures captured the personalities of such appealing animals as Mij and Edal.« less