The second of the huunuu book club reviews. We discuss, The Salt Path by Raynor Winn.
‘I still didn’t cry, but a silent internal howl took hold and screwed me tight, making it hard to breathe.’
Most of us have had moments in our life when we feel like this. We all understand heartbreak and how upsetting and traumatic that can be. But what is quite exceptional in this story of a couple’s life turned upside down, is what happens next.
It makes you question yourself – what would I do in such a situation? Would I display fortitude, or would I accept my fate, or would I crumble? This is what makes this true story all the more compelling. I could easily empathise with Raynor and her husband, they are such a likeable pair, and I found myself rooting for them at every twist and turn.
Without giving too much away, the pair loose everything and their foundations and the things they could once rely upon (including health and home) are dramatically taken from them. They then take to the South West Coast Path, starting again, one shaky step at a time.
Moth, Raynor’s husband has a life-limiting condition. I was worried for him and delighted for him. Theirs was a journey in every sense. Fear, sadness, hunger, safety. Elemental things we rely upon were stripped away. They are left with their indomitable spirit and instinct of what they need and what could nourish them at this time.
This is also a beautiful ode to nature and the healing power of the great outdoors. Having recently moved to the south west and feeling at times a bit shaky about the decision, I thoroughly agreed with them; on the power of the sea, the waves, wildlife and of course the salt.
I experienced their shock and their pain and eventually acceptance and realisation. It discusses the power of having difficult conversations and how we can put these off. Yet these discussions can bring great comfort and relief, when we finally discuss the elephant in the room.
There were moments when I wiped away a tear, moments that made my giggle. I felt frustrated and angry at times too. I questioned some of my own beliefs. Yet, ultimately this is inspirational, and life-affirming. This isn’t Bear Grylls and a feat to be amazed at, these are real people with all their foibles and that makes it such a rich and rewarding read. Their journey is a triumph because of who they are.
I felt that this was a story about love, and how you can always have that even in your darkest moments. Be that the love of someone dear to you, a partner or friend, or self-care or love of a passion, a subject, something that brings you joy.
Love can indeed save the day.
1. What has been the emotional impact of this book and why?
2. Did you empathise with or relate to any particular character in the book? Why?
3. If you had the chance to ask the author of this book one question, what would it be?
4. Was there a place in this book that sparked your imagination and would like to see for yourself? Why?
5. Have any of your attitudes changed after reading this book?
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