Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

This was my favourite December book. I found out about it when I read this review in The Guardian, which appeared at the beginning of December. I knew I had to read it. I sent the review to Bill, who felt the same and he requested it from the library. It arrived just before they closed for a couple of weeks over the holidays.
isn't the cover art beautiful?
Both of us loved this book. For me, it was one where I would sit down and be lost in it--I completely entered the world of the book and when I'd look up, I had to take a bit of time to adjust and get my head back into the world I inhabit.

The author and her husband, Moth, take a battering from life in a really short period of time when, in a matter of weeks, they lost their home, which wass also their business, and Moth gets diagnosed with a terminal brain disease. Since they have no income other than £48 per week in benefit payments, finding a place to rent is impossible. On the day when the people are pounding on their doors to force them out of their home, they are hiding in a cupboard under the stairs when Raynor spots a book about a guy who walked the South West Trail, and she says, 'Let's do that.' So they get some cheap camping equipment and set out, wild camping along the way.

Given the reason they set off on this experience, one could easily think this is a depressing book, but that is definitely not the case--far from it. There are some sad moments, to be sure, not least of which come from people's reactions to them when they find out they're homeless. Many people they encountered along the trail would ask them how they had time to do what they were doing. At first they would tell the truth--that they'd lost their home and business, so were walking the trail. People recoiled from them and scurried away as fast as they could go. They got into the habit of saying that they were having a 'midlife experience' and had sold their home so were free to take the time. People admired them and wished them well when they said that.

The review I linked to above does a good job of both describing the book and giving a peek into what Raynor and Moth are doing now, so I won't repeat what is said there. In short, the book addresses so many things in such a beautiful way. She describes the natural world they are moving through, their experiences of the different places and how those experiences change them. She gives insight into rural poverty and homelessness, which is often hidden. She reflects on their relationship with each other, how it is strengthened by this hardship and how her relationships with her grown children change. She is able to see the good things that arise from this experience and the ways in which she has been enriched by it. This is a really wonderful book.

1 comment:

Brenda said...

To be released in March by Amazon!! I will try to get it from the library after release date here! Sounds fascinating!!