Ring of Bright Water (Anglais) Broché – 31 mai 2009
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Fans of this book should take pains to search for the two out-of-print sequels: "The Rocks Remain" and "Raven, Seek Thy Brother". Neither is as joyful or cohesive as "Ring", but you will indeed find out what the life of a reclusive-yet-famous nature writer can be like. I also highly recommend Maxwell's autobiography of his childhood, "The House of Elrig".
The first third of the book traces his introduction to Camusfearna, an invented name for a real place on the Scottish coast. This part of the book drags a little if you're waiting impatiently to get to the otters, but there are some shining spots in which Maxwell describes life where the green hills and cascading falls meet a wind-swept sea; for instance, he describes in welcome detail how incomputable numbers of elvers (eels) struggle mightily up the burn (river) and falls near his remote country home, the eels facing stalwartly a long, difficult battle coming at the end of unending miles of swimming through hunted waters.
The rest of the book brings a smile, because it recounts Maxwell's introduction to the antics and fascinating viewpoint of otters, whom he finds are "extremely bad at doing nothing . . . (being) either asleep or entirely absorbed at play". The pages where the unprepared author learns just how raucous, intelligent, joyous, persistent, and dextrous otters can be, especially in situations requiring the author and his slithery new companion to be inconspicuous, are alone well worth the price of the book. This book should be on the reading list of any pet lover, especially those who love ferrets. There are a few places where we are sobered and saddened by the fragility of our loved ones in the face of unexpected danger. This book begs the question of whether it is correct to domesticate more wild animals, but does not address the question signficantly.
The book seems a little incomplete in that it ends by the author simply ceasing to tell the story, which leaves one with a feeling of lack of resolution. One might like to know how the second half of Edal's life went, but then one might have to read of her end, and it might be better to end with the images of her playing good naturedly on the sofa by the fireplace.