One Wild Song

by Paul Heiney

This has been a difficult to pick up and to recommend, but it's beautifully done.

Paul Heiney's son, Nicholas committed suicide at the age of 23. He was a very talented young man and his poetry and journals have been published posthumously. He was also a sailor, like his father.

When Paul decided to set out on another adventure, with much of his journey to Cape Horn spent sailing alone, he thought this would also be an opportunity to ponder his son's life and address the grief that he felt in his loss.

The book is unsentimental but incredibly moving and poignant. It celebrates a young man's achievements and experiences and forces us to think of what we perceive as a life well lived. It explores grief and loss, and how to live when we have been left behind. But the book also describes the life of a sailor, and this is fascinating - just as much to someone who doesn't enjoy sailing, as to someone who does!

It's a brilliant book, I think, and there are passages I'll turn to again and again. It's written with compassion, humility and a tremendous depth of emotion.

Review date: May 2016
One Wild Song by Paul Heiney