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Today's quote:

Monday, November 9, 2020

Ring of Bright Water


Ring of Bright Water" is an adaptation of Scottish author Gavin Maxwell’s autobiographical book of the same name. As much as I enjoyed watching the movie, it was the book, the true version without the glossy sentimental stuff added for the film, that got me hooked:

"I sit in a pitch-pine panelled kitchen-living room, with an otter asleep upon its back among the cushions on the sofa, forepaws in the air, and with the expression of tightly shut concentration that very small babies wear in sleep. On the stone slab beneath the chimney-piece are inscribed the words 'Non fatuum huc persecutus ignem' – it is no will-o'-the-wisp that I have followed here."  [Keep reading here - I know you want to]

Gavin Maxwell's foreword to the book describes best what Camusfeàrna, this "Ring of Bright Water", was to him:

"... these places are symbols. Symbols, for me and for many, of freedom, whether it be from the prison of over-dense communities and the close confines of human relationships, from the less complex incarceration of office walls and hours, or simply freedom from the prison of adult life and an escape into the forgotten world of childhood, of the individual or the race. For I am convinced that man has suffered in his separation from the soil and from the other living creatures of the world; the evolution of his intellect has outrun his needs as an animal, and as yet he must still, for security, look long at some portion of the earth as it was before he tampered with it. This book, then, is about my life in a lonely cottage on the north-west coast of Scotland, about animals that have shared it with me, and about others who are my only immediate neighbours in a landscape of rock and sea."

No will-o'-the-wisp, indeed, but a latent Robinson Crusoe or Swiss Family Robinson instinct drew Maxwell to Camusfeàrna in a kind of knightly quest to achieve an ideal life and find an ideal Avalon.

Googlemap Riverbend


Other books by Gavin Maxwell:
People of the Reeds
Harpoon Venture
The Rocks Remain
Lords of the Atlas : the Rise and Fall of the House of Glaoua
The House of Elrig
Raven Seek Thy Brother
The Ten Pains of Death
The Otters' Tale
To read any of these books, SIGN UP (it's free!), LOG IN, then BORROW
Three others, "Bandit", "God Protect Me from My Friends", and "A Reed Shaken By the Wind", are not available online.