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The Salt Roads > TSR:I have no real idea what I think of this book (spoilers to end)

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Joanna | 1175 comments I can't decide if I liked it or not. There were definitely some violent parts, including one scene in Haiti where I had to take a break, although these days, my emotional sensitivity is up.

I guess I wish that I had figured out that the female goddess figure was the main character. I can't help but wonder if the same message could be communicated with a little less book.

I can't say I enjoyed it, exactly. But I appreciated it.


Iain Bertram (Iain_Bertram) | 465 comments I don't think this is a book to enjoy.

I felt it was more of an "experience" - more an exercise in empathy than straight up story telling. Very effective and affecting.


Adelaide Blair | 93 comments I liked this one, but it was super dark. I am a big fan of another book by Hopkinson, Brown Girl in the Ring (which I have mentioned on other threads). It also deals with gods but is more upbeat and has more action.


Rebecca (Raitalle) | 29 comments I agree. I can't say I always found it enjoyable or pleasant, but I also found I was really glad I read it. I'd definitely be interested in reading more of her books!


message 5: by Richard (last edited Feb 17, 2017 03:30AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Richard | 4 comments I loved the book and found all three story lines very engaging.

For me the goddess did not feel like the main character. She seemed to me a linking motif pointing to what the three woman had in common. But I am sure if I read the book again I would see more in this thread of the story.

Perhaps because last year I had listened to the podcast series on the Haitian Revolution I was expecting the story of Mer to contain episodes of brutal violence. What made a greater impression on me was the elements of humanity and love in their lives.

I think all of the three stories are important to the completeness of the book because they illustrate in such a variety of scenarios how the women are affected by how they seen by people of other races as 'other'. For Mer it is a brutal repression. For Jeanne it is being been seen by Boudelaire as his Venus Noire. For Thais it is (and I found this so witty) having her life reinterpreted almost beyond recognition historically through the lens of Catholicism.

But it seems to me that the women's sexuality almost runs in the opposite direction to this idea. They each have greater agency defining themselves in this. But it's a bit vague to me now... I think I need to read this book again! It's certainly worth more than one read.


message 6: by Jenny (Reading Envy) (last edited Feb 19, 2017 07:46PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2258 comments I feel like I read it too quickly but have really enjoyed the sudden discovery of how many of the people portrayed have historical basis.
My review is here but really I'm still mulling over it. This is by far the most complex work I've read by Nalo Hopkinson, and I think the better for it. There is a lot of similarity to me between her work and Nnedi Okorafor since most of the slave culture of the Caribbean (which Nalo draws on so frequently) stems from the African religions and mythologies.

Thanks to Veronica for selecting it, and I hope more people give it a fair shot if it's outside their normal comfort zones.


Leesa (leesalogic) | 500 comments I think Iain describing it more as an experience is how I came away from the book. Some of it was super hard to read, and dark, and brutal--from the sex, to the treatment of the slaves/dancers/prostitutes, the ravages of disease.

Was not anything I was expecting, but I'm glad I read it. Hopkinson has a real poetry about her. Sometimes I didn't get it, sometimes I was repulsed by it, but in the end, I embraced it.

Good book.


message 8: by Kenley (new) - added it

Kenley Neufeld (kenleyneufeld) | 56 comments So many great historical references - both people and places - that I keep teaching for the Google to help learn more. I haven't done that often with a book, so I feel like I've learned a lot. That said, I too am not sure if I liked the book. Letting it settle.


Brendan (mistershine) | 891 comments This book impressed me. It gets across at an emotional level, rather than at a history-textbook level, the unique level of horror that was chattel slavery in the Americas, by comparing it to the bonded labour of the classical world.

A minor criticism I have is that the overall arc of the three stories didn't tie together super neatly. Each of the three stories were strong and self-contained but in the end I felt like the story of the "goddess" joining the three stories together, didn't amount to much, and it left the book without a satisfying climax.

Still, very good book. Would read more by Hopkinson, if people have recommendations.


message 10: by Danielle (last edited Feb 28, 2017 02:22PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Danielle (coffee_addict) | 60 comments I have to agree that this book is more of an experience, though I really enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I'm glad I read it.

Brendan wrote: "A minor criticism I have is that the overall arc of the three stories didn't tie together super neatly. Each of the three stories were strong and self-contained but in the end I felt like the story of the "goddess" joining the three stories together, didn't amount to much, and it left the book without a satisfying climax."

I have to agree here. It also felt very convenient that (view spoiler) I also didn't understand why (view spoiler) But that just may be my suspension of disbelief failing me. Thoughts?

A friend of mine really enjoys Nalo Hopkinson's work and highly recommended Brown Girl in the Ring and Midnight Robber. So I'll probably add those to my reading list. We've been discussing the oddities of the goddess thread that weaves throughout the book, part of which I touched on in the paragraph above.


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