The Wild Silence by Raynor Winn

This is the sequel to The Salt Path, Raynor Winn’s extraordinary, true story of becoming homeless with her husband, Moth in their 40s and deciding, with nowhere to go, to walk the 630 mile South West coast path from North Devon to Dorset. The Salt Path ends in Cornwall. Raynor’s new book picks up where she left off. It’s the what happened next. I was sent a preview copy of her new book by her publisher. I was a little reluctant to read it. I find sequels hard if I have really loved a book. ‘Don’t worry!’ said Olivia, the publicist who sent me the Wild Silence, “this one is even better”. I assumed this was just PR speak. But it turns out she was right – well almost. The Wild Silence isn’t better than the Salt Path, but it’s just as good. In it Raynor explains how she came to write the Salt Path (a secret birthday present for Moth), she tells of her struggle to settle down in a village having never lived among so many people before. She goes back to her early life with Moth and her parents disapproval and disappointment at her marriage. And she digs back over her relationship with her mother as she sits by her hospital bed as she is dying. The overriding theme is nature and its power to heal – both Moth, who’s struggling with a terminal illness and herself, as she readjusts to their new life. The chapter when she gives Moth the Salt Path, freshly printed on A4 paper and tied up in string, was so moving that I couldn’t stop reading it on the tube platform at Victoria, missed two trains and had to put my sunglasses on. Raynor Winn proves in her second novel what a truly beautiful and natural writer she really is. 

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