“The Salt Path” – Quarantine Book Club #5

(A memoir by Raynor Winn)

Nina Pschar

“The Salt Path” by Raynor Winn is one of those books you stumble upon at a local bookstore/coffee-shop combo.

“When you tell a story, the first person you must convince is yourself; if you can make yourself believe it’s true, then everyone else will follow.”

If not for the cozy vibe of this quirky bookstore in Bar Harbor, I wouldn’t have ever become so enthralled in the life of an English couple thousands of miles away. Maybe it was the cover art, or maybe my desire to step out of fiction- whatever it was, I am glad I chose to buy this memoir.

(It was a debate between this book and one about a physics-student-turned-poet, which I regret not adding to my bag. I am still on the hunt for that title.) 

Winn’s memoir begins as she learns her husband, Moth, is terminally ill. On top of this, they just went bankrupt. (Yikes, right?) With nothing left, the couple decides to embark on a journey they had dreamed of- hiking 630 miles along the coast of England. 

For readers looking for an escape from the monotony of staying at home (every…single…day…) Winn’s writing is the book to read. The memoir is authentic as she explores the balances of pain and beauty, dread and graditutde. Her narration feels as though you are hiking with them, from the description of mist to the salty taste of wild blackberries. The witty dialouge lightens the tone just enough to make this both a deep and enjoyable read – something I cannot often complement! 

“Most people go through their whole lives without answering their own questions: What am I, what do I have within me? The big stuff. What a waste.”

The hardships of Winn’s experience is not sugarcoated, but she gracefully shifts the focus away from complaining and toward graditude. A shower, a warm meal, shelter from the rain- it’s easy to take those things for granted until you no longer have them. Winn’s story is one of no longer having, but finding more.

If you choose to pick up “The Salt Path,” let me know what you think! Happy trails and happy reading!