The Draw of the Sea
Wyl Menmuir’s The Draw of the Sea is a beautifully written and deeply moving portrait of the Cornish Coast and the people who make their livings there, examining the ephemeral but universal pull the sea holds over the human imagination.
‘A beautiful portrait of lives shaped by the swell of ocean and tide - a powerful salt-thread of connection’ - Raynor Winn, author of The Salt Path
Since the earliest stages of human development, the sea has fascinated and entranced us. It feeds us, sustaining communities and providing livelihoods, but it also holds immense destructive power which can take all those away in an instant.
It connects us to far away places, offering the promise of new lands and voyages of discovery, but also shapes our borders, carving divisions between landmasses and eroding the very ground beneath our feet.
In this beautifully-written meditation on what it is that draws us to the waters' edge, author Wyl Menmuir tells the stories of the people whose lives revolve around the sea in the Cornish community where he lives.
In twelve interlinked chapters, Menmuir explores the lives of local fishermen steeped in the rich traditions of a fishing community, the beachcombers who wander the shores in search of the varied objects which wash ashore and the stories they tell, and all number of others who have made their lives on the beautiful Cornwall coast.
In the specifics of these livelihoods and their rich histories and traditions, Wyl Menmuir captures the universal human connection to the sea. Into this seductive tapestry, Wyl weaves the story of how the sea has beckoned, consoled and restored him.
This book is a meaningful and moving work into how we interact with the environment around us, and how it comes to shape the course of our lives. As unmissable as it is compelling, as profound as it is personal, this must-read book will delight anyone familiar with the intimate and powerful pull which the sea holds over us.
Praise for The Draw of the Sea
‘Light and wonder illuminate the pages of this magical book, a fitting tribute to the majesty and mystery of the sea’ The Observer
‘Wyl Menmuir explores the different ways in which people can be drawn to the sea, content to leave it a mystery why they are drawn – and perhaps the mystery is the point.’ The Spectator
‘Wyl Menmuir poetically explores our fascination with and dependence on the sea. He talks to fishermen, beachcombers, surfers and other locals about living their lives by the tides, and explores his own personal emotional connection to the water.’ Wanderlust magazine
'A beautiful exploration of how the ocean shapes and intrigues us' Lovereading.
‘A beautiful portrait of lives shaped by the swell of ocean and tide – a powerful salt-thread of connection’ Raynor Winn, author of The Salt Path
‘Sometimes a book comes along that could have been written just for you. This is how I feel about The Draw of The Sea by Wyl Menmuir, a work of enormous grace and humanity that pulls us to the deep and gently returns us home’ Emma Stonex, author of The Lamplighters
‘Beautiful, intriguing, salt-tanged, this wonderful book has the power to transport us to the ocean. If you can’t get to the sea, Wyl’s book is the next best thing.’
Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of Dear Reader and The Last Act of Love
‘The Draw of the Sea is immersive and inviting and filled with people who for all sorts of reasons go to the sea, and reading it will make you want to go with them. Menmuir weaves together thoughtful portraits of people he's spent time with, the shell seekers and wave riders, swimmers, sailors, fishers and divers. He brilliantly captures the rich mix of feelings that come with being by, on and under the sea. My own love of the sea, and the Cornish coast in particular, is deepened by seeing it through the eyes of so many others.’
Helen Scales, author of The Brilliant Abyss and What a Shell Can Tell
‘The Draw of the Sea is a richly satisfying book. Wyl Menmuir dives deep into a world of sea-souls – swimmers and surfers and sailors, birders, beachcombers and rowers – and with meditative charm addresses that perennial, unanswerable question: what makes us so oblivious to danger and discomfort and pulls us again and again to the water?’
Philip Marsden, author of The Summer Isles and Rising Ground
'There is a stillness, a patience and a clear kind of beauty to every sentence Wyl Menmuir writes. To read The Draw of the Sea is not unlike staring out at the water for some time; it works upon you gradually, leaving you, at last, with a feeling of reverence and awe at all you have witnessed.' Lamorna Ash, author of Dark, Salt, Clear
'The Draw of the Sea is as mesmeric, visceral, and compelling as the ocean itself. A curious, sensitive, and unfailingly generous guide, Menmuir writes thrillingly about the remarkable denizens who make their living or seek their comfort by shore, the evolutionary ingenuity of ancient sea-creatures, and the aching vulnerability of the human soul on the cusp of vast upheaval. Diving deep into a largely unknown territory as ancient as Deep Time itself, he emerges with stories of grief and mermaids, of ghost-plastic and hard-won wisdom, of harpoons and treasure and longing and precarity and the eternal quest for meaning: gifts that evoke both the richness and the strangeness of a precious world within a precious world. Menmuir’s evocation of our love-affair with the sea is a sublime work that stands as both a masterpiece of nature writing and a fearless exploration of the collective psyche contemplating its relationship with the Earth.' Liz Jensen
'A compressed rectangle of pure sea.' Adam Farrer, author of Cold Fish Soup 'A beautiful, wise and charming book’ Charlie Carroll, author of The Lip 'Roger Deakin would have been proud to have written it himself. Brava. It’s a masterpiece.' Liz Jensen 'Menmuir’s novels are full of beautiful language and this, too, is a book that sings.’ Alex Preston, The Guardian
‘Light and wonder illuminate the pages of this magical book, a fitting tribute to the majesty and mystery of the sea.’ Alex Preston, The Guardian 'The best compliment I can pay The Draw of the Sea is that the moment I finished it I signed up for lessons with the local sailing club.’ Andrew Watts, The Spectator
‘The charm of the book is that you share in the thrill.' Andrew Watts, The Spectator ‘Much more interesting than simply another bound-beating book about Cornwall. In Wyl’s adventures... he meets conservationists, surfboard designers, modern day mermaids and record-breaking freedivers.' Luke Thompson, Caught by The River 'It is impossible to read this book and not long for the sea.’ Bec Evans, author of How to Have a Happy Hustle and Written. 'If you have the slightest interest in the sea then I can highly recommend this.' Paul Cheney, Halfman, Halfbook 'Drips with a gentle authenticity that makes it a joy to read.' David Harris, Blue Book Balloon