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Of Women and Salt


A kaleidoscopic portrait of generations of women from a 19th-century Cuban cigar...
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How did you feel about jumping through time and place in this novel? What value can narratives that defy chronological or sequential order have in telling a story?

Created: 04/26/21

Replies: 25

Posted Apr. 26, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2732

How did you feel about jumping through time and place in this novel? What value can narratives that defy chronological or sequential order have in telling a story?

How did you feel about jumping through time and place in this novel? What value can narratives that defy chronological or sequential order have in telling a story?


Posted Apr. 26, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janeb

Join Date: 10/09/18

Posts: 39

RE: How did you feel about jumping ...

The time jumps seem to be more of a “fashionable” affectation than useful in this novel. Sometimes skipping through time offers different perspectives of the same event and that moves the story forward. Skipping from past to present can also illuminate the present or give reason for the present to exist. It is possible to see that perhaps the author had these intentions, it simply didn’t work well.


Posted Apr. 26, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Jessica F

Join Date: 05/23/20

Posts: 109

RE: How did you feel about jumping ...

I enjoy when a novel goes back and forth between time periods. For me, it allows me to see the connection between past and present. How are today's folks affected by what has occurred in the past; what lasting "scars" are left from by-gone days...so many insights can be delivered through this kind of narrative.
I thought Garcia did a fine job of weaving the stories together. As mentioned prior, some of the "older" characters deserved more of a spotlight.


Posted Apr. 26, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
scgirl

Join Date: 06/05/18

Posts: 152

RE: How did you feel about jumping ...

As I mentioned before I had a little difficulty with the lack of chronology. I usually don't have a problem with a present and past type of book, but with no true chronology this was tricky. It did not enhance the book for me although I was interested in all the back stories.


Posted Apr. 26, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cathyoc

Join Date: 04/26/17

Posts: 132

RE: How did you feel about jumping ...

I thought the time jumps were like new experiences and it was interesting to see the way that the characters connected, sometimes in the very slightest way.


Posted Apr. 26, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gerrieb

Join Date: 09/03/19

Posts: 125

RE: How did you feel about jumping ...

I usually have no problem following a story that moves back and forth in time, however, I found it a bit confusing and distracting in Of Women and Salt. In Rita Wood’s book Remembrance, the same technique was used and I found it to be seamless and easy to follow. As a literary device jumping back and forth can provide a glimpse of something, provide a connection or a needed perspective. I just didn’t feel that it worked as effectively as it could have in this book.


Posted Apr. 26, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lee

Join Date: 02/11/20

Posts: 4

RE: How did you feel about jumping ...

The non-linear structure definitely didn’t work for me. I’m fine with books that alternate between different timelines, but this one was different in that it jumped around way too much, and all out of order too. It made the story hard to follow.


Posted Apr. 27, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 364

RE: How did you feel about jumping ...

I didn't like the jumping back and forth in chronology. This book follows several women and I always had to get reacclimated to which character was being discussed and where each section fit into the story.


Posted Apr. 27, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cece

Join Date: 09/07/20

Posts: 8

RE: How did you feel about jumping ...

Our book club has discussed this question often these last few months as we found ourselves reading several books where the author used this format and decided that too many authors are using it anymore. I am not a linear person usually, but I think I would have liked this book much more if there had been more development of some characters in a less disruptive manner. There are some very strong women with great stories in this book, but I didn't find myself enjoying those stories so much because of the choppy chapter arrangement of times and places. One of our book club members decided last month to read all the chapters about one character and then go back to read the others about another character -- she enjoyed the book much more than the rest of us! I would like to re-read this book in that way to see if it is easier to relate to the stories.


Posted Apr. 27, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Elizabetta

Join Date: 04/24/21

Posts: 12

RE: How did you feel about jumping ...

The nonlinear structure didn’t pose problems for me. This technique is used frequently and I have grown used to it. The challenge with Of Women and Salt is the number of characters and time changes one has to keep track of. Still giving the back (and forth) story as the novel progresses allows the reader to experience the interconnections between the women. The circular flow also brings in the element of historical perspective.


Posted Apr. 27, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
leslieh

Join Date: 02/03/12

Posts: 26

RE: How did you feel about jumping ...

I wasn't as excited about skipping around - I felt that I couldn't follow the different women in this book - I often got confused when I started a new chapter and then had to go back and refresh my memory. I love character development - there were some characters that I wish would have been developed more.


Posted Apr. 27, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Tired Bookreader

Join Date: 08/19/11

Posts: 172

RE: How did you feel about jumping ...

Again, not a fan of this writing style as some events get lost and we are not told the whole story. Many questions remain that were not addressed.


Posted Apr. 27, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
elisabethc

Join Date: 07/16/19

Posts: 42

RE: How did you feel about jumping ...

I felt that the fractured and unfinished nature of the story was part of the point: Many stories and perspectives and truths are lost between family generations in general, but this is particularly the case when countries and cultures are spanned and secrets are kept out of necessity. At the same time, the non-chronological structure brings the women's stories closer together and shows that they are linked whether or not they realize or accept it. It shows the strangeness of being irrevocably tied to a heritage and background but distanced from it at the same time.


Posted Apr. 27, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marilynf

Join Date: 04/27/21

Posts: 4

RE: How did you feel about jumping ...

Some books are enhanced by non-linear timelines, but this wasn't one of them. Many times I had to reorient myself to who was who in order to figure out what was going on and who was talking. As I've said, jumping around the timeline seems currently to be a thing. It didn't fit this book


Posted Apr. 28, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
catho

Join Date: 02/12/21

Posts: 3

RE: How did you feel about jumping ...

I agree with elisabethc about the fractured stories and I think this device represents how we only can know partial truths about family history and often political/cultural history as well. I like to see how the characters change and grow as the truth unfolds to them but I did not find that convincing in this book.


Posted Apr. 28, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sallyh

Join Date: 09/07/12

Posts: 112

RE: How did you feel about jumping ...

I don't have a problem with jumps in time and/or place, but authors need to find ways to maintain connection so readers don't become completely lost. This author could have done a better job of that.


Posted Apr. 28, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jenbrinkley

Join Date: 04/05/16

Posts: 11

RE: How did you feel about jumping ...

The absence of chronological writing did not bother me. It was the lack of smooth transitions into each chapter that was off-putting. The book seemed to lurch about.


Posted Apr. 30, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cm28015

Join Date: 11/01/15

Posts: 37

RE: How did you feel about jumping ...

This style a seems to be in vogue. In this book, I found it a bit difficult to follow the stories due to jumping back and forth. I used the family chart at the front of the book quite a bit. It did, however, highlight that the same difficulties followed each generation.


Posted Apr. 30, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joang

Join Date: 05/17/12

Posts: 81

RE: How did you feel about jumping ...

This technique usually does not bother me but in this book I got lost in the transitions. Some chapters more developed others seemed to stop short. In reference to the comment above by Cece, isolating each character and reading her story bundled is very appealing. I might try that!


Posted May. 01, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
swchis39

Join Date: 09/26/12

Posts: 113

RE: How did you feel about jumping ...

As I mentioned in an earlier response I found it distracting and sometimes difficult to follow


Posted May. 03, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bookfabulous's Gravatar
bookfabulous

Join Date: 08/01/19

Posts: 23

RE: How did you feel about jumping ...

I found the jumps distracting to begin with but then actually started to enjoy them. It was quite an education to see one story line unfold in a certain way and people's thoughts and reactions and then to read the backstory in another chapter. It was an exercise in holding back judgement as not all the details of a story are revealed at once. And it was interesting to read what people choose to share with their families and what to conceal particularly when it comes to family legacy.


Posted May. 03, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
elise

Join Date: 04/22/11

Posts: 86

RE: How did you feel about jumping ...

I found myself going back to previous chapters because I couldn't remember what was going on previously. At times, too many chapters had passed between time transitions to follow.


Posted May. 07, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
louisee

Join Date: 06/29/15

Posts: 134

RE: How did you feel about jumping ...

Usually I don't have a problem a story jumping around in time but I did with this book. I got confused with who the characters were to each other and needed to constantly check the chart. I don't think is worked in the story.

One other time the story was confusing where the chapters alternated time periods so I read them in chronological order to understand the story better and I enjoyed it more as well.


Posted May. 08, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kkovatovic

Join Date: 05/08/21

Posts: 2

RE: How did you feel about jumping ...

I too had to constantly refer to the family tree to acclimate myself to time and person.


Posted Jun. 03, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
shirleyf

Join Date: 04/25/11

Posts: 59

RE: How did you feel about jumping ...

I don't think the jumping around added anything to the novel. It left too many loose ends and I had a hard time relating to the characters, their issues and strengths. I think the story would have had much more impact if it had been told in a linear fashion


Posted Jun. 04, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
taking.mytime's Gravatar
taking.mytime

Join Date: 03/29/16

Posts: 282

RE: How did you feel about jumping ...

I felt that this particular book really jumped around in time and place. I am not sure this book would have worked any better using a chronological time line. There were times that I felt lost - not knowing if Jeanette was 18 or 38.


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