Sunday, September 16, 2012

Top ten literary otters

Miriam Darlington is a prizing winning English poet. Otter Country, her new book, is an account of the author's search for wild otters in the remote places of Britain, which blends natural history, memoir, literary history and travel writing. Darlington travelled from her home in Devon to the wilds of Scotland, to Cumbria, Wales, Northumberland, Cornwall and Somerset in search of the aquatic mammals.

For the Guardian, Darlington named her top ten literary otters, including:
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

In this children's classic, Otter and his son Portly are astutely portrayed. He complains disapprovingly of the noisy and materialistic behaviour of the other anthropomorphised animals on the river. He possesses one attribute in particular that is very ottery: he frequently disappears mid-conversation with no consideration for manners. Portly, meanwhile, goes missing and a search party has to be drummed up to find him. These well-observed characteristics of otters and their disappearances will be recognisable to anyone who has attempted to watch otters in the wild.
Read about the other otters on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue