It was too late when I realised that Raynor Winn’s “The Salt Path” was autobiographical non-fiction. These days I rarely read non-fiction; the days of racking up books on sports, history, biography are something of a distant memory. “The Salt Path” being in my possession was, it seems, an example of me not reading the blurb properly..!
And it does what it says on the tin. It’s a story – a real story – of hope and love, of a remarkable journey by two people against whom life has conspired. But perhaps that’s over-simplifying it. Perhaps they were insufficiently worldly-wise, and so found themselves in an extreme predicament which saw them homeless and virtually penniless. If so, then perhaps if was also this naivety which drove their decision to undertake a 630-mile hike in a small tent, wild camping and living off noodles and little else. At those rare moments when they found money to indulge in chips or even a proper cup of tea, I was glad for them. And that says it all.
If there’s an element of ‘wow!’ or awe in our reaction to their story, I suspect it is a gentle one. And maybe part of our experience in reading about their journey – of being glad for what we have, knowing how close we could be to finding ourselves in their situation – is the whole point.
There’s a follow-on book, but I won’t be reading that. Not because “The Salt Path” isn’t well written, nor because I didn’t take to Moth and Ray (Moth, I think, is something of a Superhero!), but because I’m satisfied that I saw them to the end of their journey.