Book review: The Salt Path: A Memoir — by Raynor Winn

(Penguin Books)
Raynor and her husband of 32 years, Moth, face the devastating loss of everything they have built — their family farm, their livelihood, a lifetime of place-based memories — just days after Moth’s terminal diagnosis. With literally nothing left to lose, Raynor proposes they walk, and by walk she means the South West Coast Path, a 630-mile long trail along Britain’s Cornwall coast. Raynor’s vision of what this undertaking may entail pales in comparison with the enormously challenging reality — the trail rises and falls with every river mouth and the total height climbed has been calculated to be almost four times the height of Mount Everest. Mercifully, the fresh air and exercise actually help Moth’s condition, and over the course of the walk, the hopelessness they both felt is gradually reduced. Raynor’s descriptions of the stark beauty of their natural surroundings and encounters is beautiful, understated yet rich. If you’ve ever had a penchant for picking up and walking off, or starting off on a transformative journey, this book, and the books listed to the right, may satisfy that urge while you read them. A sometimes slightly sentimental look at a second chapter in an older couple’s lives.
— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons of The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury.
11 journeys in books
Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home, by Heather Anderson
In Patagonia, by Bruce Chatwin
To Shake the Sleeping Self, by Jedidiah Jenkins
Trespassing Across America, by Ken Ilgunas
Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
Birding Without Borders, by Noah Strycker
Rowing to Latitude, by Jill Fredston
Tracks, by Robyn Davidson
Lady Long Rider, by Bernice Ende
Finding Abbey, by Sean Prentiss
Rough Magic, by Lara Prior-Palmer

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