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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 do you think the novel's wide scope impacts the significance or intensity of the specific details provided? How does it subvert ideas about the ways in which multi-generational tales are expected to be told?

Created: 04/26/21

Replies: 4

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 3442

How do you think the novel's wide scope impacts the significance or intensity of the specific details provided? How does it subvert ideas about the ways in which multi-generational tales are expected to be told?

Garcia's book is relatively short at just over 200 pages, but includes the viewpoints of multiple characters over multiple generations. How do you think the novel's wide scope impacts the significance or intensity of the specific details provided? How does it subvert ideas about the ways in which multi-generational tales are expected to be told?


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

Join Date: 07/16/19

Posts: 42

RE: How do you think the novel's ...

I felt that by mixing seemingly banal contemporary details (like Jeanette offering Ana a Hot Pocket, or Ana's mother having a picture of Minnie Mouse on her pants) with accounts from other times, Garcia makes something of a statement about how history is made of moments - the novel focuses on these moments rather than the whole picture, and they're defined by the larger tapestry of history rather than the other way around. This upends expectations about how stories about families, immigration, etc. should be told as it opts not to paint history as something mythical and monolithic, but rather something that is linked to everyday life and that isn't disconnected from the present moment. It rejects the idea that history is ever something that is over, or that, in the case of immigration, those in a diaspora are not connected to the struggles of parents, grandparents, etc.


Posted Apr. 29, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Elizabetta

Join Date: 04/24/21

Posts: 54

RE: How do you think the novel's ...

The word that comes to mind is a gestalt. Its totality is more than the sum of its parts. It’s the small acts that make up the sum of the novel, but one has to step away to see the gestalt. The use of a nonlinear flow, as well as intertwining characters who have no blood relationship upends the norm.


Posted Apr. 29, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gerrieb

Join Date: 09/03/19

Posts: 217

RE: How do you think the novel's ...

I felt the wide scope with such few pages limited the impact several of the characters presented. There was more I wanted to know. I felt there was more the characters needed to know. I don’t have any set format that multigenerational stories need to be told so I didn’t feel that the book altered my view point in that way. It did leave me feeling unsatisfied for myself and for the characters. A wide lens on a camera can still show vibrancy even from a vast distance but that doesn’t mean the picture is in focus and adequately composed and yes, the colors can still make a beautiful photo but without clearly defined images it can be difficult to recognize the composition in total. So for me while there was some beautiful writing and some glimmering descriptive sections there wasn’t enough presented to give me the detailed clarity I wanted. Your question made me think of Alex Haley’s Roots as an example of a stirring multi-generational story.


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

Join Date: 03/29/16

Posts: 424

RE: How do you think the novel's ...

I really prefer a multi-generational story be told in a chronological way. With the start of Maria in this book I was hoping for that. I was not happy with the time line or subversion in this story.


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