Nalo Hopkinson The Salt Roads

ISBN 13: 9780446677134

The Salt Roads

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9780446677134: The Salt Roads

- The Salt Roads was published in Warner hardcover (0-446-53302-5) in 11/03 and received rave reviews.
- Nalo Hopkinson made her debut with Brown Girl in the Ring (1998), winning the Aspect First Novel Contest and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.
- The author's previous book, Skin Folk (Aspect, 2001), won the World Fantasy Award for Best Collection, was named Recommended Fiction for 2002 by Black Issues Book Review, and was named a New York Times Best book of the Year. Hopkinson's Midnight Robber (Aspect, 2000), a New York Times Recommended Book of Summer 2000, received an Honorable Mention for the Casa de las Americas Prize. It was a finalist for the Nubula Award for Best Novel, the Hugo Award, and the Philip K. Dick Award.

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Review:

In beautiful prose, Nalo Hopkinson's The Salt Roads tells how Ezili, the African goddess of love, becomes entangled in the lives of three women. Grief-powered prayers draw Ezili into the physical world, where she finds herself trapped by her lost memories and by the spiritual effects of the widespread evil of slavery. Her consciousness alternates among the bodies/minds of several women throughout time, but she resides mostly in three women: Mer, an Afro-Caribbean slave woman/midwife; Jeanne Duval, Afro-French lover of decadent Paris poet Charles Baudelaire; and Meritet, the Greek-Nubian slave/prostitute known to history as St. Mary of Egypt.

Ezili becomes entangled with Mer because the midwife's prayers helped draw her into the mortal world. The novel presents a reasonable, though undeveloped, connection between Meritet/St. Mary, the Virgin Mary, and the goddesses of Africa. However, it's not clear why Ezili becomes entangled with Jeanne Duval. This is because The Salt Roads is sketchy, its three storylines compressed; the novel reads more like three novellas incompletely braided. This is a shame, because each mortal character's life could have made a fine, full, fascinating novel by itself.

John W. Campbell Award winner Nalo Hopkinson's first novel, Brown Girl in the Ring, won the Warner Aspect First Novel Contest and the Locus Award for Best First Novel. Her second novel, the New York Times Notable Book Midnight Robber, was a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, Philip K. Dick, and James Tiptree Jr. Awards. The Salt Roads is her third novel. --Cynthia Ward

About the Author:

Nalo Hopkinson (born December 20, 1960) is a Jamaican-born writer and editor who lived in several Caribbean countries and the United States before settling in Canada in 1975. Her novels and short stories often draw on Caribbean history and language, and its traditions of oral and written storytelling. Hopkinson is the daughter of Guyanese poet Abdur Rahman Slade Hopkinson. The list of awards that Nalo Hopkinson has received is formidable. They include the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, the Ontario Arts Council Foundation Award for an Emerging Writer, the Philip K. Dick Award, the World Fantasy Award, the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic in 2003, the Locus Award for Best New Writer, the James R. Tiptree Jr. Memorial Award as well as a nomination for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2001. Hopkinson has a Masters of Arts degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and now teaches writing at various programs around the world. In all of her works, Nalo Hopkinson has helped expand the current definition of science fiction and fantasy and has brought a new, distinct voice to literature.

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