The uplifting true story of the couple who lost everything and embarked on a journey of salvation across the windswept South West coastline.
'A beautiful book, it really lives up to the hype . . . an enjoyable, gentle yet moving read' Pandora Sykes on The High Low
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER, WINNER OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF LITERATURE CHRISTOPHER BLAND PRIZE & SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2018 COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD & WAINWRIGHT GOLDEN BEER BOOK PRIZE 2018
Just days after Raynor learns that Moth, her husband of 32 years, is terminally ill, their home is taken away and they lose their livelihood. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall.
Carrying only the essentials for survival on their backs, they live wild in the ancient, weathered landscape of cliffs, sea and sky. Yet through every step, every encounter and every test along the way, their walk becomes a remarkable journey.
The Salt Path is an honest and life-affirming true story of coming to terms with grief and the healing power of the natural world. Ultimately, it is a portrayal of home, and how it can be lost, rebuilt and rediscovered in the most unexpected ways.
GUARDIAN BEST BOOKS OF SUMMER
'A beautiful, thoughtful, lyrical story of homelessness, human strength and endurance' Guardian
'Mesmerising. It is one of the most uplifting, inspiring books that I've ever read' i
'A thoughtful, lyrical story of homelessness, strength and endurance' The Week
'An astonishing narrative of two people dragging themselves from the depths of despair along some of the most dramatic landscapes in the country, looking for a solution to their problems and ultimately finding themselves' Independent
'The Salt Path is a life-affirming tale of enduring love that smells of the sea and tastes of a rich life. With beautiful, immersive writing, it is a story heart-achingly and beautifully told.' Jackie Morris
'The landscape is magical: shape-shifting seas and smugglers' coves; myriads of sea birds and mauve skies. Raynor writes exquisitely . . . It's a tale of triumph: of hope over despair; of love over everything' The Sunday Times
Michaela Höher, Thalia-Buchhandlung Berlin
(Vorab eine Anmerkung: Das Buch erscheint am 14. Mai 2019 in deutscher Übersetzung bei Dumont.) This is an achingly beautiful story, and even more so since it’s based on real life events. I kept having to remind myself that it wasn’t actually fiction; it reads just as smoothly as a novel, is very poetic, and is just as craftily constructed. Ray and her husband Moth, in their early fifties, are no dropouts who decide one day to quit their jobs and go off on a hike. They lose their dream, which they have worked very hard for all their lives, a lovely little farm in Wales, their family home (their daughter and son are “safe” at uni), their beloved animals, and then the rest of their savings over legal disputes and mistakes made under stress. It happens way too often that the law is far removed from justice. They find themselves homeless as well as penniless, but rather than going through the humiliation of having to file for social welfare, they decide to rough it and walk the famous coastal path, literally on a shoestring. An act of desperation, since Moth is newly diagnosed with a terminal illness. “Only one thing was real, more real to me now than the past that we’d lost or the future we didn’t have: if I put one foot in front of another, the path would move me forward and a strip of dirt, often no more than a foot wide, had become home.” It turns out to be a journey of extremes as they go from being parched to being drenched, burnt by the sun and freezing cold, and always hungry. The story is told from Ray’s point of view, and there is in fact very little coming from pain-riddled Moth, but the man is an admirable stoic. It’s amazing how Ray is keeping her humour, very rarely giving in to self-pity, although she feels that she must be living someone else’s life. “Everything we’d ever worked for or towards in our long years together was gone … the memories drained, worthless, because it was all gone.” It’s a fight, and they’re fighting very bravely. Together. They may have nothing, they have lost any “closed, safe sense of security”, spiralling down, but at the same time they have everything: they have each other, without any doubt. They hold on to each other. They truly are the loves of each other’s lives: “I was home, there was nothing left to search for, he was my home.” Needless to say, “nature” plays a big role in this book, as well as something that Ray may call “geology porn.” “I could stand in the wind and I was the wind, the rain, the sea; it was all me, and I was nothing within it.” “The sun was setting, lighting the sky in late July tones of gentle southern colour. The land ahead turned blue in the falling shadows and the lagoon fell silent, birdlife fading away as the water receded without wave or motion, leaving only channelled streams in the muddy sand.”