The journal of a long-term love affair with the Nantes-Brest canal.
This journey undertaken on foot over a year, in weather and moods both foul and fair, interweaves the story of the canal with lively observations of landscape, nature and Breton history.
Issues of identity, integration in a foreign country and the connective power of walking are themes that arise along the way.
“Artificial integration is like artificial insemination: anathema to some, lifeline to others”
“If anything ever died from an electric shock it was the canal, its hopes drowned, promises of a life-line reneged upon, leaving a great severed snake, unable to reunite its extremities”
Wendy Mewes’ vivid narration of her long walk across Brittany beside the Nantes-Brest canal brings to life the history and landscape of a region where as many as 20,000 Britons now live. Well-known as a writer about Brittany, this is the author’s most personal work to date. Her journey reflects an individual search for identity and raises questions of integration and settlement in a foreign country. Places through which the canal passes prompt further thoughts on significant characters and events of Breton history. The canal itself, twinned with the Wilts/Berks canal in England, is a leading character in the book. Its story of construction, usage, decline and resurrection as an asset for leisure and tourism is interwoven with observations of the superb natural environment it now provides for flora and fauna. The connective power between man and the landscape fostered by walking is also a theme of this memorable journey.
Brittany Blues blogger, Wendy Mewes, is the author of ten other books about Brittany, including Walking the Brittany Coast: Morlaix to Benodet and Discovering the History of Brittany. She lives and walks in the Monts d’Arrée.