Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia

She knew and, despite the weight of it, accepted her role as liberator of a frightened man. María Isabel thought it had always been women who wove the future out of the scraps, always the characters, never the authors. She knew a woman could learn to resent this post, but she would instead find a hundred books to read.

Full review at LatinoBookReview.com

Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia is a multigenerational story that traces the ways women learn to resist power structures and endure suffering with a ferocity born of love and lack of choices. In the beginning, there is María Isabel, a woman whose survival requires learning to read in secret and working as the only woman rolling cigars in a factory. In the midst of the first Cuban revolution in the 1860’s, María Isabel becomes the matriarch of a long line of courageous women navigating an unjust world. Jeanette, five generations later, is at the other end of two revolutions and a diaspora that led part of the family to Miami.

Garcia’s characters are like the heroes of so many families—mothers and guardians who make impossible choices and spend a lifetime making peace with them. Over the span of 150 years, these families witness revolutionary political changes and cope with their inherited traumas. This extensive timeline is evidence of a tendency for patterns, both good and bad, to persist no matter how much one tries to live in isolation from the past. Irrespective of time and place, Of Women and Salt speaks to the universal human desires to survive and to belong.

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