The documented history of men walking the earth for pleasure or purpose, discovery or whim, is plentiful. The women's story is far more elusive. Whether these women were by the adventuring men's sides the entire time or roaming on their own, their stories were mostly lost or never recorded for posterity. Author Annabel Abbs is bringing to light the stories of various notable women — Georgia O'Keeffe and Daphne du Maurier to name just two. These are women who often risked reputation and safety to achieve discovery, a freedom that we modern women take for granted. And while the politics of our past are difficult to reason with, through modern eyes Abbs brings to life the joys and inspirations that only a nature walk can provide. Recommended By Corie K-B., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Annabel Abbs’s Windswept: Walking the Paths of Trailblazing Women is a beautifully written meditation on connecting with the outdoors through the simple act of walking. In captivating and elegant prose, Abbs follows in the footsteps of women who boldly reclaimed wild landscapes for themselves, including Georgia O’Keeffe in the empty plains of Texas and New Mexico, Nan Shepherd in the mountains of Scotland, Gwen John following the French River Garonne, Daphne du Maurier along the River Rhône, and Simone de Beauvoir — who walked as much as 25 miles a day in a dress and espadrilles — through the mountains and forests of France.
Part historical inquiry and part memoir, the stories of these writers and artists are laced together by moments in Abb’s own life, beginning with her poet father who raised her in the Welsh countryside as an “experiment,” according to the principles of Rousseau. Abbs explores a forgotten legacy of moving on foot and discovers how it has helped women throughout history to find their voices, to reimagine their lives, and to break free from convention.
As Abbs traces the paths of exceptional women, she realizes that she, too, is walking away from her past and into a radically different future. Windswept crosses continents and centuries in a provocative and poignant account of the power of walking in nature.
“Should be read by all women and those who love the outdoors.” Booklist
“[Abbs] connects clarity of mind, communion with land, and rejection of gender roles to this specific corporeal movement ― one which many have turned to in the past year.” BuzzFeed
“Beautiful and meditative....This lush narrative serves as the perfect excuse to get moving.” Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Annabel Abbs is an award-winning author and journalist. She writes regularly for a wide range of newspapers and magazines and lives in London, with her husband and four children. Her novels, The Joyce Girl and Frieda, were published to great acclaim.