The Salt Roads

The Salt Roads

eBook - 2003
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Nebula Award Finalist: This "sexy, disturbing, touching, wildly comic . . . tour de force" blends fantasy, folklore, and the history of women and slavery ( Kirkus Reviews , starred review).

In 1804, shortly before the Caribbean island of Saint Domingue is renamed Haiti, a group of women gather to bury a stillborn baby. Led by a lesbian healer and midwife named Mer, the women's lamentations inadvertently release the dead infant's "unused vitality" to draw Ezili--the Afro-Caribbean goddess of sexual desire and love--into the physical world.

As Ezili explores her newfound powers, she travels across time and space to inhabit the midwife's body--as well as those of Jeanne, a mixed-race dancer and the mistress of Charles Baudelaire living in 1880s Paris, and Meritet, an enslaved Greek-Nubian prostitute in ancient Alexandria.

Bound together by Ezili and "the salt road" of their sweat, blood, and tears, the three women struggle against a hostile world, unaware of the goddess's presence in their lives. Despite her magic, Mer suffers as a slave on a sugar plantation until Ezili plants the seeds of uprising in her mind. Jeanne slowly succumbs to the ravages of age and syphilis when her lover is unable to escape his mother's control. And Meritet, inspired by Ezili, flees her enslavement and makes a pilgrimage to Egypt, where she becomes known as Saint Mary.

With unapologetically sensual prose, Nalo Hopkinson, the Nebula Award-winning author of Midnight Robber , explores slavery through the lives of three historical women touched by a goddess in this "electrifying bravura performance by one of our most important writers" (Junot D#65533;az).
Publisher: New York :, Warner Books,, 2003
ISBN: 9781504001168
Characteristics: text file,rda
1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc. - Distributor

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Sep 13, 2017

This is my first experience with the author Nalo Hopkinson's stories. Mer, Jeanne, Thais, Ezili - it's like all these characters are living in me now, and I am so glad I found them.

Hopkinson's skill at weaving stories of African women's lives and loves from different timelines is excellent. Even pushing the me at times past comfort zones, her depiction of the earthiness of human, woman being goes deep and real. Childbirth and the risk to mother and child is there. A less genteel venture into body/blood - the scene where Jeanne and her lover Lise scry to see Lise's future husband comes to mind.

Her weaving the Gods and powers into the story is deft as all hell, and brings a sense of how real women, real people, have the experience of the Divine.

I've got a new favorite author, and I'm looking forward to reading more of her work. Even better - there's a film coming out - Brown Girl in the Ring - that I can't wait to see.

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