Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ring of Bright Water - Review

Thank you Steve Donoghue over at Stevereads, an Open Letters Monthly blog, for the great review of Ring of Bright Water: A Trilogy. The new Godine edition is hot off the presses this week and available now.

Here's an excerpt from Steve's review (the rest can be found here):

Our book today is Gavin Maxwell’s immortal 1960 nature classic, Ring of Bright Water, the story of his life in the West Highlands of Scotland in a picturesque little house he calls Camusfearna in the book – and more than just the story of that life: of course, as millions of readers have discovered to their delight over years, it’s the story of the friendships Maxwell forms with first one remarkable otter, Mijdil, and then a second, Edal. So memorable is the impression the book leaves of these two remarkable animals that the returning reader is surprised to find that Mij doesn’t even appear until 80 pages have passed – you remember it as his book from first to last, but Maxwell actually sets the stage for many pages before his acquires his friend in Iraq and brings him half-way around the world to the cold lakes and waterfalls of Scotland. We get many beautiful descriptions of the majestic bleakness of that part of the world – a bleakness that’s ultimately impossible to capture in words, although Maxwell comes closer to doing it than any other author I’ve ever read. Even when he’s in haste to tell an unconnected story, his descriptions are wonderful:

It was a cloudy night with a freshening wind and a big moon that swam muzzily through black rags of vapour. By eleven o’clock it was blowing strong to gale from the south, and on the windward side of the islands there was a heavy sea beginning to pile up.

A couple photos from Ring of Bright Water:


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