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The Salt Roads

The Salt Roads, February 2015
by Nalo Hopkinson

Open Road
Featuring: Mer; Meritet; Jeanne Duval
410 pages
ISBN: 1504001168
EAN: 9781504001168
Kindle: B00QN352S8
Paperback / e-Book
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"Courtesans in Paris"

Fresh Fiction Review

The Salt Roads
Nalo Hopkinson

Reviewed by Clare O'Beara
Posted May 3, 2015

Romance Time Travel

This exotic and erotic tale starts in Paris in the 1800s, with women dancers in an adults-only tale from the start. Author Nalo Hopkinson is using an experimental style in THE SALT ROADS, so that between each brief chapter we get a chorus-like section, a page with the word Beat on it, followed by a page with the word One, then a page with Blues and so on. This can be a little surprising but after every interlude the tale resumes.

Margot, Lisette and Jeanne talk about men, money and bodily functions in between powdering their faces to make their skin paler - they have Caribbean backgrounds, but the French men like paler girls as courtesans. If they gain gifts of jewels, they can send money to their mothers. So much depends upon pleasing the men - aren't the girls going to be pleased too?

There are occasional sidelights into ancient Egypt, which don't seem to serve a purpose except to show that women in various times have faced similar issues. Anyone interested in arty experimental writing may be intrigued by this mix, though personally I could have done with more storytelling and less strong language. THE SALT ROADS won't be for everyone, and with a short content it should be easy to find out if author Nalo Hopkinson suits your taste.

Learn more about The Salt Roads

SUMMARY

Nalo Hopkinson’s third novel invokes the goddess of love in the name of redemption

Hopkinson’s time-traveling, genre-spanning novel weaves a common thread of spiritualism and hope through three intertwined stories of women possessed by Ezili, the goddess of love, as she inspires, inhabits, and guides them through trying personal and historical moments. Jeanne Duval is a talented entertainer suffering from the ravages of a sexually transmitted disease; Mer is a slave and talented doctor who bears witness as Saint Domingue throws off the yoke of colonial rule in the early nineteenth century; and Meritet is a woman of the night who finds religion her own way. Though the three are separated by many miles and centuries, a powerful bond draws them together.

Epic, wrenching, and passionate, The Salt Roads is laced with graceful, lyrical prose. Hopkinson has crafted a one-of-a-kind novel that spans hundreds of years and multiple countries to tell a mystical, heartrending story of self-worth, respect, and salvation.


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