The Electricity of Every Living Thing: A Woman’s Walk in the Wild to Find Her Way Home

Katherine May. Melville House, $17.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-61219-960-3
In this powerfully descriptive work, a grueling hike becomes a metaphor for a woman’s experience with Asperger’s syndrome. At 38, May (Wintering) sets off on foot along England’s 630-mile-long South West Coast Path, “a difficult, craggy and bloody-minded walking route.” May’s motivation: “something about the feeling that I am probably now halfway through my life; that time is running out; that it’s now or never.” She does the hike in stages, sometimes alone, other times with friends, and almost always with her husband, “H,” and her three-and-a-half-year-old son, Bert, meeting her for dinner. May’s vivid snippets of “mental suffering,” domestic struggles, conflicts at school and work—all heart-wrenching testimony to her and her family’s strength—are interwoven with descriptions of the trail as she seeks in nature the solace she needs to deal with the world. Her writing is sharp as she navigates the “self-flagellating zig-zagging” of the trail and her life: “I am a testament to the confabulatory powers of the human brain. I have made a whole, gleaming, normal person out of jagged shards of a broken one.” Candid, rough, and uplifting, this moving account shines. Agent: Madeleine Milburn, Madeleine Milburn Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/03/2021
Release date: 10/19/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
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