Bookish Photo A Day Challenge – February 2015: 23. Unfinished Book.

In response to Bluebookbelle’s Bookish Photo A Day Challenge – February 2015 #AWORphotoaday

My unfinished book is Otter Country by Miriam Darlington.

otter C

By now, if you have been following my bookish challenge, you may have noticed that I have a lifelong obsession with Otters and those who have written about them.  Gavin Maxwell’s Ring Of Bright Water, Henry Williamson’s Tarka The Otter and now a modern-day writer & poet Miriam Darlington.  Some might say that she’s perhaps standing on the shoulders of the latter two greats, but this book puts her firmly alongside them; if she stood in the middle one could say ‘a rose between two thorns’ (tongue in cheek of course).

A great writer and poet, Miriam’s interest in the increased resurgence of otters in the UK leads her to travel the country in a camper van in pursuit of otters and their habitats and write about the experience. (wouldn’t you just love to do that?! – awesome!) The result is a beautifully written account of the journey and amongst which there are Miriam’s thoughts and musings; often very entertaining, sometimes poignant.

Hugh Warwick’s Guardian review touches on this.  Here are some examples:

‘After walking among the Sandaig scenery in Scotland, which she fell in love with through Maxwell’s writing, she comes to a waterfall and is irresistibly drawn to swim in its peaty depths. But before she loses herself in the sort of contortions that some writers mistake for poetry she segues into slapstick as she tries to dress her damp body amid a swarm of midges.’

A local man once shouted to Miriam – “If you want to find otters, you have to be an otter,”  Borrowing waders, with her feet wrapped in tinfoil for extra insulation, she edges into water at dawn, and eventually meets an otter close-to, its whiskers “webbed with water”.

guardian otters

Photograph: Nicole Duplaix/Getty Images/National Geographic

Now that I have chosen this book as my ‘unfinished’ book, I cannot remember why I stopped reading it!  I think I may have taken it on holiday to read but unfinished, returned it home and placed it back into the bookcase.  I knew I hadn’t finished it and I guess it’s been waiting for me to pick it up again.  Thanks to this challenge, I certainly will add it back into the pile of books to read now.


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