[T]his is a damn good book. Plain and simple ... The premise is absolutely horrific ... Raynor Winn puts it so bluntly. And honestly, this book spooked me a little bit. It drew back the curtain and showed life as it really is, stripped of the trappings ... as they start walking, you’re swept away by the waves of Raynor Winn’s really-quite-impressive prose. Nature writing can so often be dull, or at least a bit monotonous, but she does a great job of giving each area they visit its signature imagery. More difficult to digest are the plentiful descriptions of physical pains they’re both going through, which are so vivid on the page that it’s a bit traumatizing. Screaming joints, peeling noses, sweat-soaked clothes hanging off gaunt ribs: it’s the full works here. I haven’t seen a book deal so candidly with the facts of physical illness, well, ever ... This is my kind of love story. Read it, I dare you.
The Salt Path begins in the dark interior of a cramped closet, and ends in bright sunlight on a cliff above the sea. Taken together, the opening and closing scenes are symbolic of what this thoughtful memoir is about: coming out of darkness into light, moving from despair to serenity ... Winn’s prose is powerful. She excels at description, and her apt metaphors are rooted in nature ... Shortlisted for the Costa Prize in biography, The Salt Path is an inspiring read, reminding us that there is salvation in nature, movement and the out-of-doors.
As they trek, the author’s disillusionment falls away. As though scrubbed clean by the salt air, she and Moth begin to cobble together plans for a new life. Though the two never seem to bicker, Winn quickly dispels romantic notions about the trip, describing pelting rains; cold, sleepless nights; and stomach-grinding hunger when they run out of food (or money). A beautifully written and deeply satisfying read.