11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A Beautiful Myth,
This review is from: The Ring of Bright Water Trilogy: Ring of Bright Water, The Rocks Remain, Raven Seek Thy Brother (Paperback)
It seems a long time ago that I first read Gavin Maxwell's trilogy of books relating the development and eventually the destruction of his idyllic existence on the West Coast of the Scottish Highlands.
Despite the fact that I was just a teenager coping with all the excitements and problems that period of life engenders, Gavin Maxwell's descriptions of life in a simple house located on the sea shore of a remote bay made such an impression on my eager young intellect, an impression that has never been subdued or diminished by time or cynicism.
Maxwell was not, in my humble opinion, a great author but his books "Ring of Bright Water" and the subsequent "The Rocks Remain" and "Raven Seek Thy Brother" remain classics of the Twentieth Century.
This trilogy of books has, by necessity, been edited down somewhat to facilitate them being published as a single book and in my mind this does detract from the originals.
This compilation emphasises the nurturing wild otters as pets yet allowing them to live, as near as possible, an existence which at least had similarities to life in the wild. To me the original trilogy was as much about conceiving and attempting to build a dream as the rearing and welfare of adopted wild otters which had been orphaned by man's pointless lust for blood.
I am just one of the many whom, after reading Maxwell's books, had a deep yearning to travel northwards and to discover that storm-blasted, shell sand bay wherein his primitive house, Camusfearna, stood. I have never been to the exact location but I am pleased that I did not become one of the "disciples" that innocently yet selfishly caused more harm to that environment than they could have foreseen.
Apart from describing the sheer joy of living in what at times was almost "Heaven on Earth", The "Ring of Bright Water" Trilogy does contain the elements of melancholia, disappointment and depression caused by the realisation that Camusfearna was (in Maxwell's own words) a myth, an unobtainable illusion. Gavin Maxwell spent a great deal of his life living with the Marsh Arabs in Iraq and it is ironic that an old Arabic proverb sums up his life and dreams so well - "Beware of that which you desire for you shall surely receive it".
Yet despite this, Maxwell's accounts of life on a desolate yet beautiful stretch of Scottish coastline still fill my mind with wonder; I still want to be there, all of the time.