Martha Kennedy reviews A Walk to the Water

24472912._UY200_Fellow walker and writer Martha Kennedy reviews  A Walk to the Water.

Kennedy (1952 – ) was born in Denver, Colorado and earned her undergraduate degree in American Literature from University of Colorado, Boulder and her graduate degree in American Literature from the University of Denver. Martin of Gfenn is the winner of two awards: Editor’s Choice Award, Indie Authors, Historical Novel Society, 2015 and B.R.A.G. Medallion, 2015.

To learn more about Kennedy and her work please visit her blog, I’m a Writer, Yes I Am or take a look at her Amazon page.

Martha Kennedy reviews A Walk to the Water

A Walk to the Water by Daniel Graham, SilverWood Books, 2015, 302 pages

I like to hike, and I’ve enjoyed Daniel Graham’s WordPress blog, “Scuffed Boots,” so when I learned of his book, A Walk to the Water, I immediately ordered it. I communicate a bit with Graham through our blogs; we’ve exchanged the titles of books we’ve enjoyed, commented on each others walking stories, so I was very optimistic that I’d enjoy his book — I did.

Essentially, this is the story of a looonnnggg walk taken by Graham and his brother, Jake, from their home in Bristol, England (yes, it begins at their front door) to Menton on the French Riviera culminating in a jubilant dip into the Mediterranean Sea. At the end of the book, Graham does the math — 3000 km/1800 miles in six million steps over the course of four months mostly over the Grande Randonnée 5. When the moment comes that they must leave the G5 for a sub-route, the G5-2, Graham writes, “…we felt sad to be leaving the highs and lows of the foot-wide abrasion that had been our home for more than a quarter of a year.”

For the most part, the brothers spend their days and nights on the trail, pitching their tent — Ted — wherever they’re able to find level ground. The brothers endure the expected agonies — blisters, hunger, digestive problems. Throughout the journey, the reader meets friendly, helpful people Graham calls “Trail Angels,” endures slug infested boots, observes the hunting and gathering methods of ants, meets fellow wanderers such as “Tim,” “Spiritual” and “The Friendly Eyed-Scot.” Graham seems to view human beings with the same curious, well-humored perspective he turns to the insects he names.

Graham writes about being “addicted” to walking, something I’m pretty well acquainted with. While there is (no question) a chemical component to that, there is also something elegant and liberating about a trail. It conveys a certainty that normal meandering through daily life doesn’t. As the brothers confront their journey’s final days, Daniel asks his brother if he’s excited about finishing the hike, and Jake responds, “Yes and no. I’m a bit scared.” Graham himself wonders, “How would we survive without the small comforts that we had come to love from the path, and with that the grandeur of the animals and trees, the water and the rocks? It was going to be hard to adjust, and, like Jake, I, too, was scared.”

I enjoyed the book very much. Graham’s writing is clean and clear, in rhythm something like a walk on a trail, each moment deserving attention. He skillfully balances the emotional challenges — missing family and girlfriends, for example — with the wonderment the brothers feel, and share, at their adventure and nature’s small and large revelations. Graham is an observant hiker, and the book is filled with luminous descriptions of  “ordinary” things, for example, “…the route dropped into great meadows, where cattle-trodden terraces bloomed with sleepy buttercups, whilst huddles of gossiping mushrooms whispered beneath the shade of their golden caps.”

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Books in the ether – A Walk to the Water

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In recent months I have relied on the thoughts of my readers in the production and release of my first published book, A Walk to the Water. And what marvelous contributors you were. Now drifting about the ether, I thought it the right time to share some of the wonderful feedback the book has received. So here it is.

Holding a book launch in my home city, I was delighted to see many friendly faces.

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Trail Angels from the path were bountiful, and how fortunate we were for their help. After A Walk to the Water was released, I sent them all a copy.

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The Fondue family. We stayed with Mamie, Lea, Mauricette and Charlie for three days in France – their kindness was overwhelming. Here they are with A Walk to the Water in their hands.

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Hoeveterras de Vlienthoeve. Noor and Marte, along with the rest of the family, took us in for the night in Belgium. The trail was hard going that day and we were grateful for their hospitality.

Of all the reviews received, my favourite are those written by hand.

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A Walk to the water has been featured in a number of realms, including The Great Outdoors magazine and Hostelling International.

“For lovers of intrepid travel,” Hostelling International wrote, “this is the ultimate read for the road.”

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Some years ago I undertook a degree at Plymouth University on the south coast of England. My time there was invaluable. After hearing of A Walk to the Water, the university produced a case study.

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A Walk to the Water can be bought from all major online book stores as a paperback and an ebook. To get your hands on copy of A Walk to the Water, please follow the links below:

A Walk to the Water Paperback

A Walk to the Water Ebook

 

Books by candlelight

A Walk to the Water book launch

A Walk to the Water book launch

With a large bowl of scroggin in tow, a box of books and a table spilling with topographical maps, the book launch of A Walk to the Water proved itself to be a wonderful night.

Books and candles

Books and candles

Alongside friends and family, I was fortunate enough to be joined by my old geography teacher and walking mentor, Mr Wright, along with one or two new faces. Perhaps it was the scroggin they were really after?

A Walk to the Water publication and book launch

A Walk to the Water: Six Million Steps to the Mediterranean Sea is now available. To get a hold of a copy please visit SilverWood Books, or any other major online bookstore, including Waterstones, Blackwell’s and Amazon.

I will be holding a book launch at the Spotted Cow pub in Bristol, from 7.30pm – 9.00pm on the 9th November 2015. Please do feel free to stop by should the distance be achievable.

For more information and regular updates, head over to my author website: danielegraham.wix.com/author

A Walk to the Water - Daniel Graham

A Walk to the Water – Daniel Graham