The Salt Roads

Hopkinson, Nalo

Published by New York: Warner Books, 2003
ISBN 10: 0446533025 / ISBN 13: 9780446533027
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Signed by the author on the title page. No inscriptions, personalizations, or remainder marks. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: - Hopkinson made her debut with "Brown Girl in the Ring (Aspect, 1998), receiving the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Now, with a body of work that invokes comparison to such writers as Jamaica Kincaid and Edwidge Danticat, she is poised to claim her place in the mainstream spotlight.- "Skin Folk (Aspect 12/01), the author's previous book, won the World Fantasy Award for Best Collection, was named Recommended Fiction for 21102 by "Black Issues Book Review, and was named a "New York Times Best Book of the Year.- "Midnight Robber (Aspect, 2000), a "New York Times Recommended Book of Summer 2000, received Honorable Mention for the Casa de las Americas Prize, and was a finalist for the Nebula Award for Best Novel, the Hugo Award, and the Philip K Dick Award.- The author's unique style of magical realism will attract the same audiences that catapulted Toni Morrison's "Beloved and Edwidge Danticat's "Breath, Eyes, Memory (Random House, 1998) to bestsellerdom.

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

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Salt Roads
Publisher: New York: Warner Books
Publication Date: 2003
Binding: Hard Cover
Book Condition: As New
Edition: First Edition, First Printing.

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