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The Salt Roads Paperback – Nov 1 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (Nov. 1 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446677132
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446677134
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 13 x 20.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #353,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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It went in white, but it will come out a mulatto in a few months' time, yes? Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
There are four main characters in THE SALT ROADS, a novel of magic realism. Nalo Hopkinson uses a broken narrative approach to tell their stories, which some readers may find hard to follow.
Mer is a healer woman held in slavery on a plantation in late 18th century Saint Domingue, which will someday become Haiti. Jeanne Duval is a dancer and mistress to the writer/critic Charles Beaudelaire in mid-19th France. Thais is half Nubian/half Greek dancing girl/prostitute in late 4th century Alexandria, Egypt; she gives rise to the legend of Saint Mary of Egypt.
The fourth character connects the other three together. She is Ezili, the Afro-Caribbean lwa/ancestor spirit/goddess. Ezili has many aspects, but is commonly thought of as the mother ocean goddess and the names and nicknames of the characters reflect this: Mer (sea in French), lemer, Meritat (Thais's Egyptian name given to her by her friend Neferkare). Unbeknownst to the three women, Ezili rides them, that is, she possesses them for reasons that even Ezili doesn't understand. At first, the reader, like the characters doesn't know what is going on, but as the book progresses it becomes clearer.
This is a novel of sorrow and celebration, of bondage and liberation, of strength and perseverance. Ezili's siren song sounds both strange and powerful to my ears.
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By A Customer on May 3 2004
Format: Hardcover
This "Salt Roads" of this historical/magical realist novel are the trails of sweat, tears, and blood that course through women's lives. Separate narratives intertwine here, each wrought with the precision and lyricism of a short story, but together they produce a true novel of compelling scope. The settings range from Baudelaire's Paris to the cane fields of French-ruled Haiti, from early Christian Alexandria to the present day. The threads of slavery, childbirth, love affairs, and accidental sainthood are by turns comic, angry, and earthily sensual.
Rich with historical detail and human intimacies, the book sometimes pulls back to a goddess-like view, contemplating the slow changes that have transformed women's lives over the centuries--but never losing its light, witty touch. In short, a very big novel with many finely crafted and exquisite parts.
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By A Customer on May 2 2004
Format: Hardcover
Complicated, sexy, rewarding. This is a book that stays with you long after you've finished it. This book is so rich! Weaving three different stories together, you'll never tire of any of the point of view characters, but be left wanting more. I wish Salt Roads was twice the length! I wanted to know what happened *after* the revolution. Sequel, please.
Nothing Hopkinson has written disappoints. I just wish she wrote faster and edited less. I want a new book every six months!
Nothing in this book is deliberately shocking or voyeuristic. Hopkinson simply tells it like it is. The people who call it shocking are saying more about their own limited horizons than this marvellous book.
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By Inga Magi on March 15 2004
Format: Hardcover
I tried very hard to "get into" this book... but I could no longer force myself after about 150 pages. I could not follow the storyline or ever really felt like I had any sense of which character was which.
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Format: Hardcover
From the initial scenes of lesbian sex, and telling one's fortune by peering into a chamberpot full of urine and a bloody tampon, this book tries to shock rather than say anything truly moving or unique about women. The graphic visual details such as this do nothing to advance either the sory or the characterization, of which there is little. Most of the characters are just moving body parts, usually the amatory ones.
The whore who prostitutes for the great French writer who descends into sado-masochistic sexual highjinks is also not one of the high points of the book either. Everything becomes cliched and stereotypical by the end of the book. How complete crudity like this gets published as 'lyrical' I have no idea. It could have really used a good edit by someone who ccould focus the disjointed narratives into some sort of meaningful whole.
Don't waste your time trying to decipher it. It is like an abstract painting hung sideways up upside down. Most people will not ntoice, let alone care.
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Format: Hardcover
In this mythic fantasy, Nalo Hopkinson braids together the lives of three distinct African women into a potent and sensual feminist vision. Mer is a plantation slave and a healer in what is now modern-day Haiti. She is the lover of Tipingee, but shares this love with Tipingee's husband. Jeanne Duval is a former dancer who is now the lover of struggling Parisian poet Charles Baudelaire. In ancient Alexandria, Thais is a prostitute, and her journey will take her to the outskirts of Jerusalem. Through their lovemaking and daily lives, these women host the spirit sometimes called Ezili, who echoes other names. Ezili can influence their actions, although she often is simply witness through their corporeality, even as she flails against her own bonds. Weaving these seemingly disparate threads together, Hopkinson illumines the lives of women as she explores sexuality, transcendence, spirituality, and personal freedom. Much like "Godmother Night" by Rachel Pollack and "The Female Man" by Joanna Russ, this novel reaches beyond the confines of genre to sing passionately with new rhythms.
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