7th June, 2019

Review: The Salt Path by Raynor Winn (Penguin)

The Salt Path
is an inspiring memoir about homelessness, grief and hope. Ray and Moth find themselves homeless after a bad investment and when Moth gets a horrible diagnosis on top of that, the couple decide to hike the South West Coast Path. They are on a tight budget and faced with adverse conditions like always having to find a place to pitch up their tent, being faced with strangers' derogatory comments about "tramps", etc. Still, they find strength in each other and continue on their journey.

Essentially, this is a story about people triumphing over adversity. Well, they are not exactly triumphing but they are not giving up and that is what counts. It is a tale about the restorative powers of nature (and exercise) and about the beauty you can find in even the simplest of moments. Moth and Ray need to stretch their funds and survive on instant pasta, tinned sardines and the like but their resourcefulness also gives them strength. They are also constantly faced with nosy tourists being fascinated by the "elderly" couple (they are only middle-aged, mind you) with their backpacks but as soon as the two reveal their life story, people become mistrustful.Other travellers are eating elaborate meals and considering the hike a "jolly adventure" but for the protagonists their journey is something more.

What I especially loved about this story was the calm pace and the vivid descriptions of landscapes and those tiny instances of peacefulness in a hectic world. It is a tale of endurance and and love, and even though the journey did not produce a miracle cure for Moth, it did have a positive effect on his health. The Salt Path makes you think about what it means to have and/or rebuild a home and about how rediscovering the purpose of life is possible even in the most detrimental of circumstances.

I switched back and forth between my print copy and the audiobook, depending on where I was, and I loved both. The audiobook narration is amazing, so if you are more into this medium, I can very much recommend it.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars.

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