Walking with Plato

Gary Hayden. OneWorld, $19.99 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-78074-656-2
After warming to “perambulatory excursions” in middle age, Hayden and his wife decide to take on the challenge of walking the entire length of Britain, from the Scottish John O’Groats to Land’s End. This detailed memoir recounts their 1,200-mile trek. Along the way, Hayden recounts his realizations about the deadening effects of modern living with help from writers such as Epicurus, Plato, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Bertrand Russell. His months-long deprivation and physical effort shape these brief philosophical reveries, which explore the power of simple pleasures. Hayden tempers these insights, admitting the difficulty of achieving happiness in small things without forced separation. The couple suffer soggy ground, sore feet, insect bites, and a constant fear of spending too much money or time on any one stop. Occasionally Hayden lapses into a dizzying litany of quaint place names and distances travelled. The work contains some truly amusing anecdotes and lovely writing, but might feel tedious and confusing to some American readers due to its long collections of British geographical references. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/09/2016
Release date: 07/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-1-78607-105-7
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