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Of Women and Salt

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3.70  ·  Rating details ·  28,989 ratings  ·  3,566 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 207 pages
Published March 30th 2021 by Flatiron Books
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Sharada Sridhar
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Jeanne Andersen Dolores' mother is not part of the book, but I don't know why.…moreDolores' mother is not part of the book, but I don't know why.(less)

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 ·  28,989 ratings  ·  3,566 reviews


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Roxane
Apr 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Gabriela is a former student and I was on her thesis committee so I was there when she started this novel in my workshop and to see it now out in the world warms my heart. She is an amazing writer and puts in the work. The language is so lovely in this novel and I love how it is a generational saga. Lots to love about this novel.
Emily May
Feb 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, historical, 2021
And I am sorry I had nothing else to offer, Ana. That there are no real rules to govern why some are born in turmoil and others never know a single day in which the next seems an ill-considered bet. It's all lottery, Ana, all chance. It's the flick of a coin, and we are born.

3 1/2 stars. I feel very conflicted about how to rate this one because I enjoyed parts of it very much ("enjoyed" might be the wrong word, as it takes a number of dark turns) and I thought the writing was gorgeous, but I
...more
Lisa of Troy
Apr 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is a collection of short stories (this book is about 200 pages), and it follows several women through various periods of time. Although I am no stranger to multiple POV's and timeline books, this is the first book that I read that was not a thriller/mystery that had the multiple POV's/timelines.

Of Women and Salt contained some incredibly interesting stories and offered me a glimpse into a life that I have never lived, giving me a different way to view the world, forever which I will be gra
...more
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
This was a very difficult book to read but it’s an eye opening one. This is a debut author who has a lot to say about immigration, ICE, deportation, illegal immigrants, motherhood, mother daughter relationships, rape, etc

For me I felt that there was a bit too much information crammed into a rather short novel of 240 pages. I think this would have worked better as short stories about the various women and generational connections.

I had problems with the multiple timelines in this book and the my
...more
Taylor Reid
Sep 16, 2021 added it
Shelves: 2021
From 19th-century Cuba to Mexico to present-day Miami, Garcia creates a rich backdrop for this sweeping intergenerational family saga that weaves together the lives of five generations of women. The story centers on Carmen, still reeling from the trauma of displacement, and her daughter Jeanette, who is battling addiction, as they navigate their difficult relationship and the long-held secrets of the past. I loved it.
Angela M
Jun 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is a powerful debut, beautifully written with characters easy to connect to. It’s a multigenerational story of mothers and daughters spanning from 1866 Cuba to 2019 in Miami. There are non linear multiple narratives, both past and present that are moving and relevant. I felt for each of the women portrayed here and how their own traumatic circumstances be it political upheaval, rape, abuse, drug addiction, deportation, the dismal detention center where one had to face the complications of t ...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Apr 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: drtbr2
Quick thoughts: A beautifully and powerfully-written literary character study of women, especially experiences related to immigration and resilience.

This is a strong debut and deserves all the accolades it has received. It exposes all sides to immigration in the United States. I loved it so much I had to order the UK copy, which features a panther on the cover.

Thank you to my friends at Goodreads and Flatiron Books for the gifted copy.

Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennif
...more
JanB
Jul 08, 2021 rated it liked it

How do women navigate and learn to deal with the abuses of men and the abuses of an oppressive regime?

The women in these pages aren’t self-sacrificing martyrs, they are complex human beings, flaws and all. The book reads as a collection of short stories that are woven together by a common theme. We begin in Cuba in the 1880’s and end in present day U.S. The characters and non-linear timelines makes for difficult reading. It’s hard to keep everything straight, and while a family tree at the star
...more
Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021
Published in the UK today 15-4-21

She knew and, despite the weight of it, accepted her role as liberator of a frightened man. María Isabel thought it had always been women who wove the future out of the scraps, always the characters, never the authors. She knew a woman could learn to resent this post, but she would instead find a hundred books to read.


In 1870 Victor Hugo replied to a letter from the Cuban exile Emilia Casanova de Villaverde (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emilia_...) – wife of
...more
Bkwmlee
Apr 09, 2021 rated it really liked it

In trying to rate this book, I feel a bit conflicted. On the one hand, I loved the beautiful, lyrical writing and the way that the author, Gabriela Garcia, was able to capture the emotional nuances of her characters so perfectly (and seemingly effortlessly). I love family stories that span generations and I felt this one was particularly well done in terms of showing the generational connections between the various women as well as how the decisions each one makes impact each other in a profound
...more
Linda
"That there are no real rules that govern why some are born in turmoil and others never know a single day in which the next seems an ill-considered bet. It's all lottery, Ana, all chance. It's the flick of a coin, and we are born."

I pondered over this title, Of Women and Salt, and came away with something that may never have been the intent of the author. I pictured these five generations of women contained within this novel and then thought of women in general. There are deep wounds that we car
...more
Elyse  Walters
Not rating — I checked this book out from the library twice - THREE TIMES I TRIED TO FINISH IT…
Finally started skimming…..

Willing to chalk it up to me - not the book - but I just couldn’t fully connect and stay interested.

Honestly…. It was me … and my smashed up marshmallow brain.
Lupita Reads
Mar 11, 2021 rated it did not like it
I am not writing this post to signal an alarm that this book is problematic. This review only speaks to my own experiences and gut feelings with how I processed this book. That said I am going to signal boost Lorraine Avila's review for this book in Tastefully Rude called “Of Women and Salt: A Beautiful Novel from Flatiron Books Rubs Salt In The Wounds Of The Black Caribbean” - go read that first. I have linked to in my stories. I am keeping these thoughts vague to reduce the potential of spoile ...more
Barbara
Jun 29, 2021 rated it liked it
2.5 stars: I’m not sure how I feel about “Of Women and Salt” by Gabriela Garcia. For me, it became a series of short stories that are linked by a Cuban woman and her female lineage. The prose is beautiful, although at times a bit awkward/clunky. The different stories about the women don’t follow a timeline, so that was a bit clunky for me as well.

A Salvadorian woman and her young daughter are introduced in the story, and I, as a reader wasn’t sure what their point was. I felt perhaps Garcia want
...more
Cheri

This begins, briefly, in 2018 with a woman who is writing to her daughter, a plea that begins with 'Jeanette, tell me that you want to live.' She begs her daughter to stop killing herself, and get sober. She tells her 'Sun child, hair permanently whisked by wind, you were happy once. I see it, looking over these photos. Such smiles. How was I to know you held such a secret?' Maybe if they could sit together, she could share her story so that Jeanette will better understand the decisions she’s ma
...more
Kathleen
May 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Garcia has woven a multigenerational novel through the points-of-view of 6 narrators and chapters that shift timelines to include 5 generations and 4 countries. It is the author’s beautiful writing that holds this complicated structure together. This is a story about mothers and daughters and how they survive and grow despite having to deal with toxic men and heartless countries.

There is María Isabel who is the only female cigar roller in Cuba, just before the Ten Years War that achieved Indepen
...more
Maureen
Mar 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaway-arc
3.5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️rounded to 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Cuba 1866-Maria Isabel to Ana-Mexico 2019.
Jeanette in Miami battling addition wants to know about her family history in Cuba. She travels to Cuba to confront her grandmother with all her questions.

This is the tale of five generations of strong women battling everyday life to immigration
It is not a happy story. it is filled with substance abuse, child and spousal abuse, and the plight of immigration to the United States.
The story is intermingled with different sett
...more
Sarah
I'm clearly an outlier with my negative review, so take all of this with a pinch of salt.

While I commend what the book sets out to do - tell the story and experiences of generations of different Cuban women (and a woman from El Salvador) who have emigrated to the US - this didn't make for an enjoyable reading experience for a number of reasons. The writing felt clunky, there is WAY too much going on, and the characters fell flat. If these things had been done well I might've been able to put up
...more
Catherine (alternativelytitledbooks)
Whatever you do, make it past the first story!

This is a collection of intertwining short stories, and the first chapter is essentially historical fiction. It's rather hard to get through, at least it was for me. Granted, historical fiction isn't really my genre of choice, but if it's engaging I can get lost in it from time to time. I appreciate wanting to give this family context, but my interest waned in the early pages.

Jeanette's chapters, however? Completely soared, were engrossing and atmosp
...more
Linda
Jun 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
Gabriela Garcia's mother is Cuban, and her father is Mexican. She grew up hearing the diverse stories of legal and illegal Latinx immigrants in Florida.
In her finely crafted debut novel, Of Women and Salt, Garcia examines these worlds through the stories of women. The book focuses on Jeanette, a twenty-something Cuban- American who is struggling with addiction, and her neighbor Gloria and her seven-year-old daughter Ana, illegal immigrants from El Salvador.

Jeanette is trying to piece together h
...more
luce ❀ wishfully reading ❀
blogthestorygraphletterboxd tumblrko-fi

However distressing, I appreciated the realities, issues, and themes Gabriela Garcia explores throughout her novel. Sadly, the author's execution and writing style lessened my overall reading experience. I know that interconnected narratives can work well, and some of my favourite novels employ this technique (The Travelers and Travellers), but I would have probably preferred for Of Women and Salt to either be a series of short stories or to
...more
Diana | Book of Secrets
I'm torn over this book. I feel like OF WOMEN AND SALT paints a distressing and realistic picture of immigration to the US, particularly what it's like for women from Latin America entering the country illegally. I would call it a timely novel, though detention centers, family separation, and deportation have been going on for many years.

My issue with this book was its lack of a strong plot. This has been mentioned in other reviews, but it's more a collection of short stories, some very compel
...more
Whitney Erwin
Jun 28, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is eye-opening. Very thought provoking. I enjoyed it.
Book Clubbed
Mar 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
A welcome antidote to the maudlin mess of American Dirt, Of Women and Salt has the scope and wider-ranging curiosities we typically see in a much longer novel. Closer to a collection of connected short stories, the punchy sections are compact, although the format may limit the overarching emotional storylines. At times, the stories set closer to the present forget to set the characters in motion, concerned with picking through the past, the emotional tenor stagnant.

There is, however, a lot to
...more
Sarah-Hope
Apr 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Gabriela Garcia's Of Women and Salt is set during the Obama administration, but it's very much a book of our time. The novel explores the complicated relationships among different generations of women in Cuba and Miami, with the earliest generations living in Cuba during the revolution and the more recent generations in not-quite-present-day Florida. It also explores the relationship between a separate mother-daughter pair, Salvadorans who are living in the U.S. without documentation. Many of th ...more
Karen (idleutopia_reads)
Apr 13, 2021 rated it did not like it
I truly wanted to like this one but it was a disparate patchwork that never came together to form a cohesive story. There were problems with the structure which I should have known since I saw the family tree which was so simple as to be a bit laughable. Still, I gave it a chance because it was own voices story and it is and should have stuck to that. There was potential in this book which I think made it even worse that nothing came to fruition. Anything that could have been thrown into this st ...more
Joy D
Multigenerational story of mothers and daughters in migrant families, this book reads as a series of interlinked stories. Several stories relate to Jeanette in present-day Miami, recovering from addiction, and her mother, Carmen. Jeanette watches her neighbor, Gloria, taken by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). She takes in the neighbor’s seven-year-old Salvadoran daughter, Ana, who was with her babysitter at the time. Moving back into history, we find one of Jeanette’s ancestors, a fema ...more
Christian
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’m still thinking about this book even after I finished it. Beautiful, tragic, so powerful in such poetic form.
Sofia
Feb 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
I am having a hard time formulating my feelings about this book. I wish it were two books - the multigenerational story of Cuban women and then the immigration story of a Salvadoran girl and her mother. Both stories were compelling - I just think the thread between the stories was tenuous at best, especially with the way it ended.

3.5 stars rounded up because of the beautiful writing. But for me, this book didn’t live up to the hype.

An imaginary star for all the feels reading about my Cuban peo
...more
Lisa Jablonsky
Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So good. 5 generations of women, in Cuba, Mexico and Miami. A current day ICE deportation in Miami kicks off the story. We learn about immigrants, husbands and wifes, mothers and daughters, sisters, love, lies and betrayals. Very engrossing and important in today's world. ...more
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Gabriela Garcia is the author of the novel Of Women and Salt, a New York Times bestseller and Editors' Choice. She 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 has an MFA in fiction from Purdue and lives in the Bay ...more

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“That there are no real rules that govern why some are born in turmoil and others never know a single day in which the next seems an ill-considered bet. It’s all lottery, Ana, all chance. It’s the flick of a coin, and we are born.” 18 likes
“I thought, for the first time, My God. Nobody asked you either, Mary. Nobody asked if God could build a temple out of you, if you wanted to turn your life into an offering.” 9 likes
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