Two in a Boat: A Marital Voyage
In her forties and recovering from a struggle with depression and, along the way, alcoholism, Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis decided to trade in her landlubber life - a house in Cardiff and a responsible job at the BBC - for life aboard a small yacht with her husband Leighton, a former bosun with the Merchant Navy and now in his mid-sixties.
After buying a yacht - Jameeleh - and teaching themselves to sail her (a process not without its fair share of disasters, from psychotic seas off St Govan's Head to a battle with buoys off Ballycotton), Gwyneth and Leighton set out to cross the Atlantic. But Gwyneth's seasickness and Leighton's daily deterioration into Captain Bastard were not the only catastrophes with which they had to contend. This strange, stirring and often hilarious account of their voyage is as much a beginner's guide to sailing as it is a portrait of a marriage under pressure.
Gwyneth Lewis's training as a poet and film-maker lends her prose a wonderfully visual quality, and her contagious optimism in the face of inconceivable adversity - not much more could possibly have gone wrong - makes this unique book both witty and wise.
"Her yearning to belong to the age-old community of sailors is touching and inspirational. She learns to sail for the same for the same reasons many of us travel far from home. To be competent under trying and unfamiliar conditions is to feel free. [This is] an odd, charming memoir." New York Times
"Funny, profound and moving... Don't pack it away in the boat; take it home." Guardian
Gwyneth Lewis writes with clarity, beauty and metaphorical precision... A triumph." Guardian
"Lewis learns how the sea is an unanchored otherworld that tests everything that comes into its power... I have never read a better description of this process of discovery." TLS