Gavin Maxwell was a romantic, self-destructive aristocratic adventurer, who worked as secret agent, shark fisherman, racing driver, poet and travel writer. His books on Iraq, Sicily and Morocco were acclaimed, but his fame as a writer rests on his bestselling story of the otters he lived with in a remote cottage on the west coast of Scotland, Ring of Bright Water.
Maxwell’s private life was every bit as turbulent. His homosexuality was masked by the love of a number of women, for whom he was a serially unsatisfactory partner. This biography is a magnificent evocation of the man, his time and the places and animals that formed such an important part of it. Never was the simple life of a nature-loving conservationist pursued by so complicated a character.
Douglas Botting was a trusted friend of Gavin Maxwell in the last 12 years of his life and a fellow explorer-traveller-writer, so was uniquely equipped to understand both the creative and destructive demons that drove him. He has created an empathetic study of a man, which reads like the most bizarre and eccentric adventure story.
‘Could hardly be bettered…Botting’s great achievement is to have looked his friend square in the face, portraying his frailties while remaining loyal to his gifts.’ Fraser Harrison, New Statesman
Gavin Maxwell: A Life
Format: 640pp demi pb
Place: Scotland, Scottish Isles