This week I cancelled my Tuesday night paddle and headed to the Blue Mountains for the launch of Vicki McAuley's book, SOLO.When I returned home just on midnight I started reading and after just a few pages I was compelled to read the whole book in one long sleepless sitting, I simply couldnt put it down.
The book stands as Vicki's personal tribute to husband Andrew McAuley and a chronicle of her personal voyage as she learns to live with her loss and find the courage to keep going.
It is a powerful and honest account and through the pages you get the feeling that Andrew's spirit of optimism and passion continues to support and inspire her. It is an exploration of what drives an extreme adventurer written by the person who knew him best.
Many modern adventurers claim to be ordinary folks who just want to do extraordinary things but this book avoids this cliche to present Andrew as a gifted natural athlete driven by an impulse to explore the limits of human performance. To those of us who paddled with him at one time or another I think this is a far more honest appraisal; he really was an elite adventurer without being elitist.
Anecdotes covering earlier kayaking expeditions and climbing adventures are interwoven into the text to illuminate the bigger issues of outdoor adventure, self sufficiency, and community attitudes to risk. Also included in the book are emails and letters that cover a broad range of opinions along with Vicki's responses, but the key to the success of the book lies in her willingness to write from the heart.
It has been famously said of adventurers that if you need to ask the question then you will never understand the answer. For those who ponder these issues Vicki's brave words will help to enlighten.
If you buy a copy through the EK website, Vicki receives all the proceeds.