The Rocks Remain

by Gavin Maxwell

This is Gavin Maxwell\’s sequel to Ring of Bright Water, his famous novel about the otter. I found it interesting and enjoyable, and kept finding excuses to sit down in quiet so I could finish it. But I also felt let down and confused by it. I remember having trouble at first getting into Ring of Bright Water because the first chapter or two describe some of Maxwell\’s experiences traveling abroad, and it took some time for the story to get around to the otter, which was my main interest in reading it. As most of the events led up to how Maxwell acquired his first otter, Mijbil, and how he transported it home, it was, however, still pertinent.

I can\’t say that about the chapters that appeared superfluous to me in The Rocks Remain. It opens with an entire chapter about an earthquake in Agadir. While I appreciate that Maxwell was in Morocco at the time and could describe first-hand the devastation there, I failed to see how it related to his story about otters. But then, half the book was not about the otters. Maxwell describes difficulties living at his remote Scottish hideaway, efforts he made to modernize the place, and frustrations when fans of his first book discovered the location and came visiting without notice, as tourists. He goes into detail about many mishaps and accidents that befell them: a near-shipwreck on an island in the dark, a fire in the kitchen, a broken tank that flooded half his house. Other chapters veer even farther, covering more of his travels in Morocco, and one section all about a local man named Dugalt who played elaborate pranks on the local priest. While these divergences were annoying, they were also very well-written and entertaining.

I was expecting that the real meat of the book would be the parts about the otters: two from North Africa and two European otters, which he acquired from various people who could not keep them. It was fascinating to read about the otters\’ very different personalities, and how they responded to people, each other, and Maxwell\’s dog. It also quickly became apparent that the otters were very much wild animals, difficult to keep contained, and potentially dangerous. When Maxwell finally gave up trying to keep some of his otters from escaping and let them roam free, I was surprised that he gave no thought (or did not express it) to the impact of releasing a foreign species, and a predator at that, into the local environment. The book ended abruptly at this point, and even though I felt dissatisfied, I\’m anxious to read the next one and find out what happened, as I can only assume there were negative consequences.

Rating: 3/5                  192 pages, 1963

More opinions at:
JRC-1138

4 Responses

  1. Jeez, I hate it when a novel ends abruptly. It\’s like the author said, okay, I\’m tired of this, so I\’m quitting NOW! It\’s just not right.I didn\’t realize that Maxwell was so popular, either. Interesting…BTW, I always chuckle at your cat when I visit this site. (It is your cat, isn\’t it)? Her tail is a giant \”C,\” like she knows she\’s a cat, and she\’s proud of it!

  2. Chartroose- I\’m glad my kitty makes you chuckle. He\’s quite proud of being a cat- often obnoxiously so!I knew Ring of Bright Water was popular, but I had no idea how extensive its fame was until I read about how much tourists bothered the author.The book ended so suddenly I was astonished, and annoyed. If anything, it\’s urged me to seek out the third installment, even though I know it will be hard to find (my public library has nothing by Maxwell).

  3. I read Ring of Bright Water as a RD condensed book. Sounds like that was a good thing. The otters were also my interest. This one sounds a little too disjointed for me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

DISCLAIMER:

All books reviewed on this site are owned by me, or borrowed from the public library. Exceptions are a very occasional review copy sent to me by a publisher or author, as noted. Receiving a book does not influence my opinion or evaluation of it

SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL:

Subscribe to my blog:

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

VIEW MY PERSONAL COLLECTION:

TRADE BOOKS WITH ME ON:

ARCHIVES: 

2023
January 2023 (26)
2022
January 2022 (12)February 2022 (7)March 2022 (13)April 2022 (16)May 2022 (13)June 2022 (21)July 2022 (15)August 2022 (27)September 2022 (10)October 2022 (17)November 2022 (16)December 2022 (23)
2021
January 2021 (14)February 2021 (13)March 2021 (14)April 2021 (7)May 2021 (10)June 2021 (5)July 2021 (10)August 2021 (27)September 2021 (16)October 2021 (11)November 2021 (14)December 2021 (12)
2020
January 2020 (14)February 2020 (6)March 2020 (10)April 2020 (1)May 2020 (10)June 2020 (15)July 2020 (13)August 2020 (26)September 2020 (10)October 2020 (9)November 2020 (16)December 2020 (22)
2019
January 2019 (12)February 2019 (9)March 2019 (5)April 2019 (10)May 2019 (9)June 2019 (6)July 2019 (18)August 2019 (13)September 2019 (13)October 2019 (7)November 2019 (5)December 2019 (18)
2018
January 2018 (17)February 2018 (18)March 2018 (9)April 2018 (9)May 2018 (6)June 2018 (21)July 2018 (12)August 2018 (7)September 2018 (13)October 2018 (15)November 2018 (10)December 2018 (13)
2017
January 2017 (19)February 2017 (12)March 2017 (7)April 2017 (4)May 2017 (5)June 2017 (8)July 2017 (13)August 2017 (17)September 2017 (12)October 2017 (15)November 2017 (14)December 2017 (11)
2016
January 2016 (5)February 2016 (14)March 2016 (5)April 2016 (6)May 2016 (14)June 2016 (12)July 2016 (11)August 2016 (11)September 2016 (11)October 2016 (9)November 2016 (1)December 2016 (3)
2015
January 2015 (9)February 2015 (9)March 2015 (11)April 2015 (10)May 2015 (10)June 2015 (2)July 2015 (12)August 2015 (13)September 2015 (16)October 2015 (13)November 2015 (10)December 2015 (14)
2014
January 2014 (14)February 2014 (11)March 2014 (5)April 2014 (15)May 2014 (12)June 2014 (17)July 2014 (22)August 2014 (19)September 2014 (10)October 2014 (19)November 2014 (14)December 2014 (14)
2013
January 2013 (25)February 2013 (28)March 2013 (18)April 2013 (21)May 2013 (12)June 2013 (7)July 2013 (13)August 2013 (25)September 2013 (24)October 2013 (17)November 2013 (18)December 2013 (20)
2012
January 2012 (21)February 2012 (19)March 2012 (9)April 2012 (23)May 2012 (31)June 2012 (21)July 2012 (19)August 2012 (16)September 2012 (4)October 2012 (2)November 2012 (7)December 2012 (19)
2011
January 2011 (26)February 2011 (22)March 2011 (18)April 2011 (11)May 2011 (6)June 2011 (7)July 2011 (10)August 2011 (9)September 2011 (14)October 2011 (13)November 2011 (15)December 2011 (22)
2010
January 2010 (27)February 2010 (19)March 2010 (20)April 2010 (24)May 2010 (22)June 2010 (24)July 2010 (31)August 2010 (17)September 2010 (18)October 2010 (11)November 2010 (13)December 2010 (19)
2009
January 2009 (23)February 2009 (26)March 2009 (32)April 2009 (22)May 2009 (18)June 2009 (26)July 2009 (34)August 2009 (31)September 2009 (30)October 2009 (23)November 2009 (26)December 2009 (18)
2008
January 2008 (35)February 2008 (26)March 2008 (33)April 2008 (15)May 2008 (29)June 2008 (29)July 2008 (29)August 2008 (34)September 2008 (29)October 2008 (27)November 2008 (27)December 2008 (24)
2007
August 2007 (12)September 2007 (28)October 2007 (27)November 2007 (28)December 2007 (14)
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
1990
1989
1988
1987
1986
1985
1984
1983
1982
1981
1980
1979
1978
1977
1976
1975
1974
1973
1972
1971
1970
1969
1968
1967
1966
1965
1964
1963
1962
1961
1960
1959
1958
1957
1956
1955
1954
1953
1952
1951
1950