The Wild Silence came to me in a wonderful pile of loaner books from my dear poet friend Mary Barnes. Joy Harjo, Sharon Butala, Richard Powers— hard to know where to start. But my hand went quickly to Raynor Winn’s sequel to The Salt Path.
I am a walker. When all else fails me, I go for a walk. No surprise then that I would pick up a book about a middle-aged couple who decide that a reasonable response to a diagnosis of terminal illness, and the loss of their home, their income and their savings, is to walk England’s SouthWest Coast Path’s 630 up and down miles. That was The Salt Path. Along with (literally) about a million other readers, I was hooked with the first book. Of course I wanted to know what happened next.
The Wild Silence is about finding a home. It’s about ecological restoration on a piece of overworked, neglected farmland. And it’s about illness, health, life, death and the place of writing in all of that. Despite its many successes, the book is unassuming, humble. I loved that about it, perhaps most of all.