Book: 288 pages (hardcover and eBook)
Publisher: Michael Joseph, 3rd September 2020
Nature holds the answers for Raynor and her husband Moth.
After walking 630 miles homeless along The Salt Path, the windswept and wild English coastline now feels like their home.
And despite Moth’s terminal diagnosis, against all medical odds, he seems revitalized in nature – outside, they discover that anything is possible.
Now, life beyond The Salt Path awaits. As they return to four walls, the sense of home is illusive and returning to normality is proving difficult – until an incredible gesture by someone who reads their story changes everything:
A chance to breathe life back into a beautiful but neglected farmhouse nestled deep in the Cornish hills; rewilding the land and returning nature to its hedgerows becomes their new path.
Along the way, Raynor and Moth learn more about the land that envelopes them, find friends both new and old, and, of course, embark on another windswept adventure when the opportunity arises.
The Wild Silence is a luminous story of hope triumphing over despair, of the human spirit’s instinctive connection to nature, and of lifelong love prevailing over everything.
I was so excited to see that there was a follow up book the The Salt Path having devoured it last year on holiday. I live a few miles from the coast in Dorset and we regularly visit Cornwall so we have walked a few of the paths Raynor and Moth walked on their epic journey. And, of course, we all wanted to know how Moth was doing now.
The book starts pretty much where the first book left off – Raynor and Moth are living in the chapel and trying to adjust to life back in the real world, alongside trying to accept and live with Moth’s illness.
The book is split into 4 parts. The first examines their lives after the walk and sees Moth studying his degree and Raynor struggling to wrench herself away from the freedom she felt on their walk and to uproot herself back from the earth she feels such a connection with. In this part of the book, Raynor has to confront the reality of Moth’s future head on after some terrible news and some big decisions. I found this part of the book so heartfelt. Raynor examines her childhood and her relationship with her parents as well as the start of hers and Moth’s relationship. The flashbacks are interwoven with the narrative from the present – almost as if you are there in the room watching Raynor close her eyes and remember.
At the end of the first part, Raynor has decided to write about their walk so that Moth has a way of remembering what they did. This leads into the second part – her writing the book and the book deal. Again, this part of the story is told with some lovely flashbacks and memories of her’s and Moth’s early relationship. It’s Raynor’s way of keeping those memories in writing so Moth can look back on those too. The publication of the book leads to a very unusual and generous offer from a stranger and another life changing decision. This leads into……
….part 3! I really loved this part as I could really see Raynor and Moth struggling internally with their decisions and also struggling physically. This part also re-examines Raynor’s connection with the earth and ‘the outdoors’. There are also some strange coincidences which pop up here, linked back to part 1 and Raynor’s childhood. At the end of part 3, Raynor and Moth have decided to do another, much shorter, walk – reconnecting with something they used to do regularly when they were younger.
The final part of the story is the final part of their journey. As the reader you are rooting for them. As the first book examined people’s attitudes to homelessness, this book examines attitudes towards limitations, age and physical ability.
I really loved how the book ended and the glorious story of friendship, community and acceptance.
If you love walking, mountains, nature, birds, animals, triumph over adversity…….anything really, then you will love this.
Also – don’t forget to read the acknowledgements.
I hear there is a 3rd book being planned and I can’t wait to read it. And I will continue to follow their story and wish Raynor, Moth, Rowan and Tom all the best for the future.
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