The Salt Roads



❴PDF / Epub❵ ☆ The Salt Roads Author Nalo Hopkinson – E17streets4all.co.uk A landmark work by a brilliant young author, THE SALT ROADS transports readers across centuries and civilizations as it fearlessly explores the relationships women have with their lovers, their people A landmark work by a brilliant young author, The Salt Roads transports readers across centuries and civilizations as it fearlessly explores the relationships women have with their lovers, their people, and the divine Jeanne Duval, the ginger colored entertainer, struggles with her lover poet Charles BaudelaireMer, plantation slave and doctor, both hungers for and dreads liberationand Thais, a dark skinned beauty from Alexandria, is impelled to seek a glorious revelation as Ezili, a being born of hope, unites them all Interweaving acts of brutality with passionate unions of spirit and flesh, this is a narrative that shocks, The Salt Epub / entertains, and dazzles from an award winning writer who dares to redefine the art of storytellingA Nebula Award nominee A Locus Magazine recommended book.The Salt Roads

Nalo Hopkinson is a Jamaican born writer and editor who lives in Canada Her science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories often draw on Caribbean history and language, and its traditions of oral and written storytelling.

The Salt Roads PDF/EPUB Ù The Salt  Epub /
    If you re looking for a CBR and CBZ reader Nebula Award nominee A Locus Magazine recommended book."/>
  • Paperback
  • 416 pages
  • The Salt Roads
  • Nalo Hopkinson
  • English
  • 10 February 2019
  • 0446677132

10 thoughts on “The Salt Roads

  1. says:

    This is the third book I have read by Nalo Hopkinson, still until Veronica chose it for the Sword and Laser pick, it was unknown to me There is a lot going on here African mythology, ancient ritual, an international cast of women spanning different time periods, magic or voodoo, slave revolutions, slavery, freedom, etc., etc In fact I am feeling I should not have read it the way I did, all but 50 pages in one sitting I feel like all of it is still swirling around in my head.One thing I know This is the third book I have read by Nalo Hopkinson, still until Veronica chose it for the Sword and Laser pick, it was unknown to me There is a lot going on here African mythology, ancient ritual, an international cast of women spanning different time periods, magic or voodoo, slave revolutions, slavery, freedom, etc., etc In fact I am feeling I should not have read it the way I did, all but 50 pages in one sitting I feel like all of it is still swirling around in my head.One thing I know is that I appreciate that the author lets the reader do the work to fit the pieces together and fill in the gaps She is not overly directive in saying And now the goddess is doing this but lets her words narrate some of the shifts in time and place What baffles me after reading it, in a good way, is to realize how many of the characters in this novel who feel elevated and perhaps unreal actually lived and are on record Even Saint Mary the Dusky and I loved the author s version presented as what might be true if it weren t filtered by a man seeking attention If you are easily offended, stay away There are likely too many strong women deciding who they want to have sex with for your tastes, also death, torture, and the difficulty of births without medical care But if you want to spin together historical people and places with ancient goddess religion and strong women, this is the place

  2. says:

    Undoubtedly, a tour de force of magical realism.Here, Hopkinson does not merely aim to tell a story She aims to create a collage illuminating the experiences of black women throughout history The first, and perhaps the primary character introduced is Mer, a slave in Haiti, shortly before the revolution She faces hard decisions when faced with choices about whether to seek her own freedom or to stay and try to help the other slaves she s the closest thing to a doctor they have Love and loya Undoubtedly, a tour de force of magical realism.Here, Hopkinson does not merely aim to tell a story She aims to create a collage illuminating the experiences of black women throughout history The first, and perhaps the primary character introduced is Mer, a slave in Haiti, shortly before the revolution She faces hard decisions when faced with choices about whether to seek her own freedom or to stay and try to help the other slaves she s the closest thing to a doctor they have Love and loyalty are complex things to negotiate, for her, and her actions are not always appreciated or understood by those around her.The narrative also closely focuses on an actual historical character Jeanne Duval, known as the mistress of Charles Baudelaire As a mixed race woman in 19th century Paris, in a relationship with a wealthy white man, she also has a minefield to negotiate through life The third, and strangely much smaller story here is that of Thais, an Ethiopian prostitute in Egypt In search of a better life and adventure she and her best friend embark on a journey to Greece Her fate is to be remembered by history as Saint Mary of Egypt.There are many parallels between the lives of these three women, even separated as they are by time, geography and circumstance Each is caught on a low rung of the social hierarchy due to circumstances beyond her control Each ends up in a land far from that of her birth And each must make choices about who to love and who to cleave to Tying together these three disparate stories is the magical aspect of the novel the African goddess Lasir n or Ezili, a goddess of water and love, a rival to the spirit of war The spirit observes, possesses, influences the turn of events.I ve read a few things by Hopkinson, and I would say this is her most notable work Many thanks to NetGalley and Open Road Media for the opportunity to read the new ebook edition of this book As always, my opinions are my own

  3. says:

    There was lots to like about this book I think it s the first time I ve read about life on a sugar plantation and life as a slave in the Caribbean Couple that with a few love stories unfolding and an impending slave revolt it was enough to keep me tuned in However, there were a couple of things that brought it down to 3 stars for me As the narrative vacillates between the three sets of characters, the connection comes through the gods that occupy the characters bodies I felt the movement There was lots to like about this book I think it s the first time I ve read about life on a sugar plantation and life as a slave in the Caribbean Couple that with a few love stories unfolding and an impending slave revolt it was enough to keep me tuned in However, there were a couple of things that brought it down to 3 stars for me As the narrative vacillates between the three sets of characters, the connection comes through the gods that occupy the characters bodies I felt the movement between storylines was unbalanced I missed some characters while reading about others, and the third set of characters seemed to come out of nowhere, appearing late in the book.I wasn t aware that two of the storylines follow characters that are sex workers when I picked up the book So I didn t expect there to be so many sex scenes In addition, Hopkinson includes heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual interactions, which I think is uncommon for one book and for a book set in the times of this one I do plan to readof her work Brown Girl in the Ring will likely be next

  4. says:

    My first thought after beginning to read The Salt Roads by Nalo Hopkinson was Why did it take me so long to read this book It s SO AWESOME My second thought Holy crap, there s lesbian sex twice in the first fifteen pages why doesn t the blurb for this book make it clear that s it s queer Uh, let s back track a little I ve read Caribbean born and raised, current Torontonian Hopkinson s first and most recent book and enjoyed both, but I really loved The Salt Roads It s an ambitious, wide r My first thought after beginning to read The Salt Roads by Nalo Hopkinson was Why did it take me so long to read this book It s SO AWESOME My second thought Holy crap, there s lesbian sex twice in the first fifteen pages why doesn t the blurb for this book make it clear that s it s queer Uh, let s back track a little I ve read Caribbean born and raised, current Torontonian Hopkinson s first and most recent book and enjoyed both, but I really loved The Salt Roads It s an ambitious, wide reaching novel that is at once historical, spiritual, magical, and fantastical I love the kind of historical fiction that reimagines and brings women from the past alive and into the spotlight, and Hopkinson does this so well, but she also refuses to stay within the bounds of realist historical fiction There s a dash of Caribbean voodoo, fourth century Christian pilgrimages, and smoky visions emerging out of a pot of surprising liquids It s a tantalizing, fabulous mix and a moving recreation and celebration of black women s voices and spaces, with a lot of attention to shadism throughoutSee the rest of my review at my website

  5. says:

    I m born from countless journeys chained tight in the bellies of ships Born from hope vibrant and hope destroyed Born of bitter experience Born of wishing for better It s hard to describe The Salt Roads It s an interweaving of three disparate historical legends and an exploration of gods and archetypes, but it uses these fragments to try to construct a far larger story The story starts with Mer, a slave in Saint Domingue, but later weaves in two , with the goddess Ezili as the link be I m born from countless journeys chained tight in the bellies of ships Born from hope vibrant and hope destroyed Born of bitter experience Born of wishing for better It s hard to describe The Salt Roads It s an interweaving of three disparate historical legends and an exploration of gods and archetypes, but it uses these fragments to try to construct a far larger story The story starts with Mer, a slave in Saint Domingue, but later weaves in two , with the goddess Ezili as the link between the characters It was only after the introduction of Jeanne Duval that I realized that the novel not only involved historical settings but also women who became legends themselves.In the novel, salt is not only the taste of blood and sweat and tears, the essence of the sea that carried the slave ships, but also as the white man s obeah that bound the slaves to the new land In reality, the salt roads were trade routes, essential connections between distant lands In the same way, the gods travel the salt roads within the storystream I, we, flow out of the ebb, tread the wet roads of tears, of blood, of salt, break like waves into our infinite selves The writing alternates between the strong dialectic speech of the characters and vivid lyricism The chapters of the novel are framed as a chant that carries the themes of the story.I tend to shy away from novels that use real people as protagonists, partly because I have some sneaking sense that it is disrespectful to so fully appropriate another person s life, but mainly because it is so very restrictive For me, this became an issue in the novel, and with Jeanne s story in particular I found Jeanne a very static and not particularly likeable or interesting character She seemed farenslaved than either Thais or Mer, though she is the only one who is free She is a victim, but her chains are of her own making view spoiler My view of Jeanne as an agentless puppet was not improved by the way Ezili kept taking her over.I loved the way that the salt road blockage was in some ways tied to silencing women in Mer s case, quite literally but even so, Jeanne s story just didn t feel satisfying hide spoiler Thais story had an ironic twist I enjoyed to the full, but like Jeanne, she felt flat to me Mer s parts of the story were the ones that enthralled me Unlike the others, Mer is not herself a historical figure, at least as far as I can tell from a bit of Wikipedia hunting As she is a nameless shadow on the outskirts of Francois Makandal s story, Hopkinson had farfreedom in constructing Mer than Jeanne or even Thais, and I think that this might be why Mer has so muchdimensionality In some ways, I think the story is an uneasy blend of history and fiction constrained by the truth, few of the stories came to a satisfying climax, and though I understand the framing concept, the stories still felt disconnected view spoiler Jeanne s story seemed particularly out of place I get that Ezili got in via the bowl of piss, but why was she trapped in Jeanne Why was Jeanne s story even so significant How is it emblematic of the greater story Ezili seeks to tell Similarly, I found Mer s interactions with Lasiren vastly disappointing The salt road blockage is thrust aside and forgotten, then handwaved away Similarly, while I loved the idea of Thais as Mary of Egypt, she didn t seem a good fit for Ezili to visit in the first place hide spoiler In some ways, I think the book might have been too ambitious I would have loved to see Hopkinson abandon the attempt at universality and instead focus only on Mer s story, which is rich enough for a novel in itself Even so, Hopkinson is a talented writer with a fascinating story to tell, and in The Salt Roads, she displays her gift for combining suspense and symbolism, history and heartache I received this ebook through Netgalley from the publisher, Open Roads Integrated Media, in exchange for my honest review Thanks

  6. says:

    Originally received to review, but I ve picked it up legitimately since, because wow, it s been a while I ve been meaning to read Nalo Hopkinson s work for a while I know I got partway through The Midnight Robber at one point, and I m not sure why I stopped it wasn t lack of interest and from other reviews, this sounded great In many ways, I m not entirely sure how to judge this it s about black people, about a mythology that links between time and space, and it s full of pain and degrad Originally received to review, but I ve picked it up legitimately since, because wow, it s been a while I ve been meaning to read Nalo Hopkinson s work for a while I know I got partway through The Midnight Robber at one point, and I m not sure why I stopped it wasn t lack of interest and from other reviews, this sounded great In many ways, I m not entirely sure how to judge this it s about black people, about a mythology that links between time and space, and it s full of pain and degradation visited on those people by white people It s visceral, with sinuous and earthy language sensual and sexual and rooted in black bodies, black experiences.It wasn t quite my taste in fiction, still, and I m wary of judging it because of that Because it s not my usual kind of story But I think I got at least some of the richness of the novel the intertwined lives, the physicality of the women I could connect to the queerness of several of the characters, although the sexuality is not something I can easily connect with I could connect to the relationships between people Mer s concern for Tipingee and Marie Claire, the awkwardness and respect between her and Patrice The issues with Mackandal, the fact that Mer opposes him but still wants to keep him safe, as one of her people, doesn t want him to suffer For me, she was the most real character there wasn t enough of Thais, and Jeanne Duval s tempestuous relationship with Baudelaire, while vivid, didn t appeal to me in the same way.I m not a huge fan of shifting POVs, and especially when they re quite disparate I didn t find it too bad here, but sometimes it would take me a while to find my footing again when there s a switch Sometimes it worked just right, though, for the shifts, the confusion of the spirit riding those women.Originally posted here

  7. says:

    Executive Summary This is a book I would have never read if not for Sword Laser, and while I didn t love it, I enjoyed itthan I thought I would My main criticism is that it had far too little fantasy for my liking Full Review I struggled with the start of this book I didn t know what was going on, and it didn t feel like a fantasy story at all I never fully came to enjoy Jeanne as a character, so that probably didn t help things.A friend of mine who finished it before me, told me Executive Summary This is a book I would have never read if not for Sword Laser, and while I didn t love it, I enjoyed itthan I thought I would My main criticism is that it had far too little fantasy for my liking Full Review I struggled with the start of this book I didn t know what was going on, and it didn t feel like a fantasy story at all I never fully came to enjoy Jeanne as a character, so that probably didn t help things.A friend of mine who finished it before me, told me he enjoyed itonce he didn t read it expecting a fantasy book, and I have to say that helped me a lot It s often hard to categorize books, but I d probably beinclined to call this book historical fiction than fantasy There are fantastical elements, but they aren t always there.To me, most of the fantasy elements were simply there to serve as a framing device to connect three different stories Jeanne in France, Mer in Haiti and Meritet in Egypt Of the three, I enjoyed Meritet the best It s a shame she doesn t enter the book until much later, I might have been hooked a bit sooner.I will say that despite never warming up to Jeanne, I did warm up to her story somewhat Mer s story was probably the hardest to read, but they were all tough This book can be graphic quite frequently Both in terms of sexual content, and with regards to the awful things endured by slaves.After reading only a chapter here or there at some point I found myself reading 100 pages at a time, and I finished the second half of the book far quicker than I did the first half.I like historical fiction, so I think I liked this as a result Anyone looking for a fantasy driven book may be left wanting There is the fantastical element of the goddess Ezili tying the stories together, but that s about it.Overall, a decent book, but I wasn t blown away I may pick up something else by Ms Hopkinson in the future, as I found her to be a talented writer

  8. says:

    An extraordinarily powerful and strange book This is a brutal read about the suffering inflicted on black people slavery in the sugar cane plantations, of which the detail is almost unbearable racism in 19th century Paris and about the particular pain felt by black women The three main characters here in three separate tales from different times are a slave, a prostitute, and a slave prostitute Considering which, it is an astonishingly hopeful read Not because Hopinson gives us happy en An extraordinarily powerful and strange book This is a brutal read about the suffering inflicted on black people slavery in the sugar cane plantations, of which the detail is almost unbearable racism in 19th century Paris and about the particular pain felt by black women The three main characters here in three separate tales from different times are a slave, a prostitute, and a slave prostitute Considering which, it is an astonishingly hopeful read Not because Hopinson gives us happy endings, but because she shows us the eternal resistance, the ability to find small joys and love even in the worst times, the hope It is a hard read at points Mer, on the plantation, cries out in agony not just about the physical suffering, but about the emotional scars of the injustice her people suffer, and those psychological wounds are brilliantly conveyed in her and the Frenchwoman s story Thais, the Egyptian girl, gives us a different approach, of someone who s cut herself off emotionally and accepted her situation, which makes her story less immediately compelling, and then we see her forced to confront her womanhood and the breakdown that results But, all these women are resilient, and all of them fight with everything they have, and the end impression is a cry of anger but not hopelessness The fantasy element is most prevalent in the loa of the Caribbean section, and in the unifying ghost consciousness that travels between the women It didn t quite feel entirely integrated to the stories, somehow, possibly because it works so differently in the French section Also, this book is very queer Lots of lesbian sex, bi rep, nonstandard heterosex Again, voices given to the ignored and belittled and persecuted A fascinating read, if a hard one at points

  9. says:

    1 The Salt Roads is SO FRUSTRATING Because there were a couple things I really loved about it and one or two things I hated with the fiery passion of a thousand suns And those things seemedsignificant to the book than the things I liked.2 First of all, I love the idea of the novel It s a powerful and layered concept for a book There are so many angles to examine, and so many resources to mine, that the potential is enormous It could have been remarkably affecting It is certainly an 1 The Salt Roads is SO FRUSTRATING Because there were a couple things I really loved about it and one or two things I hated with the fiery passion of a thousand suns And those things seemedsignificant to the book than the things I liked.2 First of all, I love the idea of the novel It s a powerful and layered concept for a book There are so many angles to examine, and so many resources to mine, that the potential is enormous It could have been remarkably affecting It is certainly an engaging book, although I almost feel that by using so many first person viewpoints, Hopkinson is, um, cheating Or anywayshe s covering all her bases, without having to work very hard at it.3 I also really loved how flexible sexuality is That makes a kind of sense, because the book takes place before modern constructions of sexuality which I think are loosening, but only because we havenames for things , but how often does historical fiction care about that Not often enough But ambiguity is present here, in spades So that is definitely a point in the book s favor.4 Okay, but now I get to talk about the things I hated Primarily, I hated the way The Salt Roads was written LOATHED it On reflection, the style of the book is tied very closely to the first person narration, so the sentences are choppy and conversational Unfortunately, this makes them seem disingenuous although you feel very close physically, not emotionally to the characters, it s difficult to connect with them I m tempted to call the style stream of consciousness, except I like stream of consciousness, at least in its modernist incarnationthis is post modern, but usually I quite like that too Anyway, here is a passage picked at random that may help indicate why I find the style wearing although this is a third person interlude, actually Patrice sighed They were near his cabin He kept walking, kept thinking He heard Makandal s soft goodbye, and out of his eye saw the three and a half legged hound running off to where Couva would be twisted painfully into the stocks, her body cramping and twitching You gods, let Makandal s plan work Let the Ginen cease suffering.5 Another problem with the book is that it is physical without being sensual at all The sex scenes are fairly graphic, but they are barely interesting or, at least, the sex isn t some of the politics are Hopkinson is very good at conveying physical discomfort, but pleasure is not within her capabilities Given the role destructive pleasure plays in at least one story line Jeanne Duval and Baudelaire , I like it when books have a definite sense of physicality, and that is certainly a strength of The Salt Roads.5a But, um, I do think a passage from The Golden Notebook is relevant So all that is a failure too The blue notebook, which I had expected to be the most truthful of the notebooks, is worse than any of them I expected a terse record of facts to present some sort of a pattern when I read it over, but this sort of record is as false as the account of what happened on 15th September, 1954, which I read now embarrassed because of its emotionalism and because of its assumption that if I wrote at nine thirty I went to the lavatory to shit and at two to pee and at four I sweated , this would bereal than if I simply wrote what I thought And yet I still don t understand why Because although in life things like going to the lavatory or changing a tampon when one has one s period are dealt with on an almost unconscious level, I can recall every detail of a day two years ago because I remember that Molly had blood on her skirt and I had to warn her to go upstairs and change before her son came in.Basically, it feels a little like the physical detail which in TSR is purely factual, and not atmospheric is used a bit like a crutch.6 Much like the book in general, I wanted to love the characters and ended up disliking most of them Thais comes too late in the book to be integrated with the other stories she feels tacked on, although I love the concept Also, she is rather stupid, and that s off putting Mer is conceptually interesting, and makes fascinating choices, but mostly two dimensional I think Jeanne Duval is the most successful, the most rounded character and probably the only dynamic one The parts of the novel from Ezili s perspective are truly bad.7 If I hadn t wanted to like this book so much, I would have liked itSorry, The Salt Roads

  10. says:

    Review initially published on my blog, Writing by Numbers, here.The salt roads are fluid They flow across continents, ages, and realms, linking African women throughout history with their deities Full of tears, sweat, oceans, blood, alcohol, piss, and sexual liquids of all kinds.The salt roads are painful Sometimes fogged with pain, sometimes raw with it.The salt roads are paved with powerful desires The characters hunger for food, luxuries, sex, love, companionship Respect Freedom.There Review initially published on my blog, Writing by Numbers, here.The salt roads are fluid They flow across continents, ages, and realms, linking African women throughout history with their deities Full of tears, sweat, oceans, blood, alcohol, piss, and sexual liquids of all kinds.The salt roads are painful Sometimes fogged with pain, sometimes raw with it.The salt roads are paved with powerful desires The characters hunger for food, luxuries, sex, love, companionship Respect Freedom.There are four main characters Ezili, an African goddess Thais, a Greek Nubian slave and prostitute Mer, an Afro Caribbean slave and midwife and Jeanne, an Afro French poet s muse in decadent Paris Thais and Jeanne are based on real women, St Mary of Egypt and Jeanne Duval, and the novel is sprinkled with references to other fascinating African historical figures Rich fodder for those of us who like to look up nuggets.This book demands an unflinching reader Hopkinson pulls no punches with the graphic quality of her sex scenes and her torture scenes alike Whether it s a woman dying slowly of syphilis and poverty, a slave being mutilated, or Jeanne and her poet delighting in debauchery, the language and imagery are uncompromising even as they are elegantly wrought There is beauty, too, in passion and sacrifice and the brief moments of joy in these otherwise weighty lives The 213 in 2013 series chronicles every book I read in 2013 Each review contains exactly 213 words For , visit

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