Of Women and Salt: Book summary and reviews of Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia

Of Women and Salt

by Gabriela Garcia

Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia X
Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia
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Book Summary

A sweeping, masterful debut about a daughter's fateful choice, a mother motivated by her own past, and a family legacy that begins in Cuba before either of them were born.

In present-day Miami, Jeanette is battling addiction. Daughter of Carmen, a Cuban immigrant, she is determined to learn more about her family history from her reticent mother and makes the snap decision to take in the daughter of a neighbor detained by ICE. Carmen, still wrestling with the trauma of displacement, must process her difficult relationship with her own mother while trying to raise a wayward Jeanette. Steadfast in her quest for understanding, Jeanette travels to Cuba to see her grandmother and reckon with secrets from the past destined to erupt.

From 19th-century cigar factories to present-day detention centers, from Cuba to Mexico, Gabriela Garcia's Of Women and Salt is a kaleidoscopic portrait of betrayals―personal and political, self-inflicted and those done by others―that have shaped the lives of these extraordinary women. A haunting meditation on the choices of mothers, the legacy of the memories they carry, and the tenacity of women who choose to tell their stories despite those who wish to silence them, this is more than a diaspora story; it is a story of America's most tangled, honest, human roots.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[A] dexterous debut...The jumps across time and place can occasionally dampen the various threads' emotional impact, but by the end they form an impressive, tightly braided whole. This riveting account will please readers of sweeping multigenerational stories." - Publishers Weekly

"While the nonlinear structure of the narrative sometimes makes the story feel disjointed, Garcia has carefully layered the novel so that each chapter delivers revelations about the motivations and psychological burdens of the characters...A relevant and timely work delivered with empathy." - Library Journal

"This gripping, accomplished debut follows generations of Cuban women, from María Isabel, rolling cigars as she listens to the words of Victor Hugo and men die around her, to Jeanette, struggling with addiction in Miami, and trying to find a place in the world that feels real. An interlocking portrait of women striving, loving, losing, getting lost and getting found." - Lit Hub

"Garcia's debut novel is a...stunningly accomplished first novel...both epic and intimate." - O Magazine

"From the perspectives of several generations of Cuban women, this remarkable debut shines a brilliant light on the broken immigration system and legacy of trauma for the people who endure it." - Ms. Magazine

"Gabriela Garcia captures the lives of Cuban women in a world to which they refuse to surrender and she does so with precision and generosity and beauty." - Roxane Gay, bestselling author of Hunger and Bad Feminist

"Of Women of Salt is a fierce and powerful debut. Garcia wields narrative power, cultivating true and profound work on migration, legacy, and survival." - Terese Marie Mailhot, bestselling author of Heart Berries

This information about Of Women and Salt shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Mary O. (Siasconset, MA)

Excellent debut novel
A fascinating story of mother/daughter relationships amidst the backdrop of Cuba and Florida. So engrossing and hard to put down!

Mary L. (Greeley, CO)

Women--Cuba, Generations, Immigration
If you want to enter the hearts of several generations of women, starting in Cuba an moving to Miami you will want to read this book. While not long in length, the story that unfolds through the voices of these women is unforgettable and one that leave you haunted. "We are force" indeed.

Karna B. (Long Beach, CA)

Of Women and Salt
This debut novel is a must read! From the cigar factories in Cuba to the streets of Miami, Garcia's writing compels the reader to encounter the lived experiences of each of the female protagonists. Immigration and detention, poverty, isolation, drug and/or marital abuse, and mother/daughter relationships are predominant themes. While at times difficult to savor due to the traumas experienced by each of the females portrayed, this timely book should be on everyone's reading list.

Ann W. (New York, NY)

First person: Plural
Well crafted stories, cinematic framework. Collective voices, with misdirection. Cuban female perspectives begin in slavery in colonial Cuban and continue to present.

Margot P. (Mandeville, LA)

We Are Force
These words, written in the margin of a page in a Spanish first edition of Les Miserables, define the nine characters of this short, rich novel. Each chapter is more like a self contained short story with just enough links to add power and meaning to the next. So much is covered in 200 pages: civil wars in Cuba, Salvadoran emigration, addiction, molestation, and very complex mother daughter relationships. Yet, the novel never feels crowded or overwhelming. It's sad, violent, but dotted with glimmers of hope. I actually liked Of Women and Salt better than American Dirt which was one of my favorites of the year.

Veronica Earley

The strength of woman
This was not a page turner for me. It was full of interesting material, but I have read others that pulled me into the story more. However, the author was able to write a good story and share her thoughts and words. I compliment that. I received a copy and have shared with my friends.

...24 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Gabriela Garcia Author Biography

Gabriela Garcia is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award and a Steinbeck Fellowship from San Jose State University. Her fiction and poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, Tin House, Zyzzyva, Iowa Review, and elsewhere. She is the daughter of immigrants from Mexico and Cuba and grew up in Miami. Of Women and Salt is her first novel.

Link to Gabriela Garcia's Website

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