Kay Wilson, The Rage Less Travelled: A Memoir (Open Wound Publishers, 2019).
Kay Wilson was once a tour guide. She moved from her native England to Israel where she fell in love with the people and the land. Taking others touring, showing them the sites, sharing what made her adopted home so special was her passion. And then…
Kay Wilson was nearly murdered. While leading a friend on a hike near the town of Beit Shemesh on a lovely Saturday afternoon they were attacked by two Arab terrorists. She fought. She lost. Bound and gagged, she watched as her friend and client, Kristine Luken, a Christian tourist, was slaughtered—hacked to death with a machete. Then her turn came. Stabbed, bludgeoned and stabbed again, she played dead as the murderers drove a knife into her chest one more time to finish her off. The blade narrowly missed her heart. And once her would-be killers left, she somehow got herself up, and barefooted, her mouth taped shut, her hands tied behind her back, one lung collapsed, a shoulder broken, her sternum crushed, bleeding from over a dozen machete wounds—she walked over a mile until the sounds of children playing at a picnic turned into a scream at the sight of her.
Kay Wilson was once a tour guide. And her book, The Rage Less Traveled, takes her readers on a trail that only she can describe. It’s not a simple journey. But Kay walks us through her particular valley of death and beyond. Her story is not just one of escaping death by four millimeters (the distance between her aorta and one of her chest wounds), but of a descent into a labyrinth of PTSD out of which she must slowly and determinedly claw her way back to sanity.
And that she does. With both searing honesty and small, but well-placed bits of self-deprecating humor, she leads us through her process. She is both fortunate to have survived, yet racked with guilt that her friend and client didn’t. She is both victim and heroine. Her efforts at stabbing her attackers allow the police not only to find DNA evidence in her case, but also to link them to an older case—another murder in those same hills.
One of the most poignant pieces of the entire book is her meeting with Dina and Amos, the elderly, shatteringly bereaved parents of Neta Blatt-Sorek (HYD) at their small house. It is the first time that she meets someone who has tasted something similar to the pain that she is in. Someone who can fathom something of the searing sense of loss, of fear and despair which has been Kay’s lot since she witnessed Kristine’s slaughter. And someone whose own pain, so raw and visceral, provided a contrast to her own internal suffering, allowing Kay to gain some perspective and move forward.
Kay’s book is a testament to well-earned, honest and open rage at her attackers. It is also a testament to the physical and psychic toll they have extracted from her. Her pain—from fear of sleep lest her dreams recall the horror to confronting her contemptuous attackers in court—is laid out for the reader. But so as are her small, yet significant triumphs in overcoming it and reclaiming her life.
Kay Wilson was once a tour guide. In writing this memoir she shows us, not the sites of our re-born ancient land, but those of a “stiller town,” her own wounded soul. And this difficult guided tour is well worth taking.
Her Israeli book launch, including an interview with Colonel Richard Kemp, in Raanana, will take place on July 4th.