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THE JOURNEY OF WATER by Katherine Davies Kirkus Star


by Katherine Davies

Pub Date: March 27th, 2023
ISBN: 9781739184032
Publisher: Spring Publishing

Davies’ novella follows one woman’s journey to find herself—on foot.

Elena Lees is tired—tired of her nursing job, tired of her boyfriend. Basically, she’s tired of her life. So, one day, the Australian ex-pat quits her job in London and starts walking. And walking. And walking. Save for the ferry from Dover to Calais and a couple of train rides, she walks from the bustling city of London through the beautiful countryside of France to the Alps. Elena’s journey is mostly premeditated—she takes practice walks and self-defense classes, and discards needless possessions before her hike—but the journey itself brings some unplanned moments, including meeting (and sleeping with) a man dressed as a priest, picking up a guitar and soothing passengers on a stalled train outside of Paris with her music, and stumbling across an injured hiker named Dev, who helps her along her way. All the while, she often dreams, or hallucinates, about her mother, her co-workers, her former patients, and other people in her life. Eventually, the trek does its trick, and Elena is refreshed and ready to go—but whether that means back to London or forward to more adventures on the road is left up to readers. (“The only thing I know right now, is I have a mountain to climb. The rest will somehow become apparent. I strangely trust that.”) Though the book recalls Cheryl Strayed’s Wild (2012) and Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild (1996), those bestsellers about isolation in the wilderness are much more menacing than this mild amble. Elena has her rough days, and one particularly scary tumble, but her journey is largely devoid of real drama, and that’s fine; instead of fearing what waits around the next corner, readers can enjoy the author’s lyrical prose and the endearing Elena. Davies has created a character and a scenario that many readers can relate to, and while most won’t shut their doors and set out to walk across entire countries, they can certainly relate to the impulse—and maybe learn a bit from Elena’s journey.

A beautifully written tale of a woman trying to find herself via a walk through England and France.