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Of Women and Salt

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In present-day Miami, Jeanette is battling addiction. Daughter of Carmen, a Cuban immigrant, she is determined to learn more about her family history from her reticent mother and makes the snap decision to take in the daughter of a neighbor detained by ICE. Carmen, still wrestling with the trauma of displacement, must process her difficult relationship with her own mother In present-day Miami, Jeanette is battling addiction. Daughter of Carmen, a Cuban immigrant, she is determined to learn more about her family history from her reticent mother and makes the snap decision to take in the daughter of a neighbor detained by ICE. Carmen, still wrestling with the trauma of displacement, must process her difficult relationship with her own mother while trying to raise a wayward Jeanette. Steadfast in her quest for understanding, Jeanette travels to Cuba to see her grandmother and reckon with secrets from the past destined to erupt. From 19th-century cigar factories to present-day detention centers, from Cuba to Mexico, Gabriela Garcia's Of Women and Salt is a kaleidoscopic portrait of betrayals—personal and political, self-inflicted and those done by others—that have shaped the lives of these extraordinary women. A haunting meditation on the choices of mothers, the legacy of the memories they carry, and the tenacity of women who choose to tell their stories despite those who wish to silence them, this is more than a diaspora story; it is a story of America’s most tangled, honest, human roots.


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In present-day Miami, Jeanette is battling addiction. Daughter of Carmen, a Cuban immigrant, she is determined to learn more about her family history from her reticent mother and makes the snap decision to take in the daughter of a neighbor detained by ICE. Carmen, still wrestling with the trauma of displacement, must process her difficult relationship with her own mother In present-day Miami, Jeanette is battling addiction. Daughter of Carmen, a Cuban immigrant, she is determined to learn more about her family history from her reticent mother and makes the snap decision to take in the daughter of a neighbor detained by ICE. Carmen, still wrestling with the trauma of displacement, must process her difficult relationship with her own mother while trying to raise a wayward Jeanette. Steadfast in her quest for understanding, Jeanette travels to Cuba to see her grandmother and reckon with secrets from the past destined to erupt. From 19th-century cigar factories to present-day detention centers, from Cuba to Mexico, Gabriela Garcia's Of Women and Salt is a kaleidoscopic portrait of betrayals—personal and political, self-inflicted and those done by others—that have shaped the lives of these extraordinary women. A haunting meditation on the choices of mothers, the legacy of the memories they carry, and the tenacity of women who choose to tell their stories despite those who wish to silence them, this is more than a diaspora story; it is a story of America’s most tangled, honest, human roots.

30 review for Of Women and Salt

  1. 5 out of 5

    Roxane

    Gabriela is a former student and I was on her thesis committee so I was there when she started this novel in my workshop and to see it now out in the world warms my heart. She is an amazing writer and puts in the work. The language is so lovely in this novel and I love how it is a generational saga. Lots to love about this novel.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    And I am sorry I had nothing else to offer, Ana. That there are no real rules to govern why some are born in turmoil and others never know a single day in which the next seems an ill-considered bet. It's all lottery, Ana, all chance. It's the flick of a coin, and we are born. 3 1/2 stars. I feel very conflicted about how to rate this one because I enjoyed parts of it very much ("enjoyed" might be the wrong word, as it takes a number of dark turns) and I thought the writing was gorgeous, but I And I am sorry I had nothing else to offer, Ana. That there are no real rules to govern why some are born in turmoil and others never know a single day in which the next seems an ill-considered bet. It's all lottery, Ana, all chance. It's the flick of a coin, and we are born. 3 1/2 stars. I feel very conflicted about how to rate this one because I enjoyed parts of it very much ("enjoyed" might be the wrong word, as it takes a number of dark turns) and I thought the writing was gorgeous, but I found the nonlinear narrative to be messy and confusing, and perhaps too much for such a short novel. Of Women and Salt tells the tale of the lives of five generations of Cuban women, as well as following the story of Salvadoran immigrants - Gloria and her daughter, Ana - as it intersects with the aforementioned Cuban women. The book jumps from 21st century Miami to 1866 Camagüey to 21st century Mexico, back to Miami and Camagüey, and then to 21st century La Habana. I spent some time going back over what I'd already read in order to make sense of the timeline of what was happening. It tells some of the women's stories in snapshots - like that of Maria Isabel and Dolores - whilst we spent a lot longer with Jeannette and Ana. I was really engrossed in the Cuba chapters, especially learning about the events leading up to the Ten Years' War - Cuba's fight for independence from Spain - and those just before the Cuban Revolution led by Fidel Castro in the 1950s. Garcia weaves stories about women doing what they can to survive into each of her settings. When I say the book goes to some dark places, I should warn that it covers substance abuse and addiction, child sexual abuse, intimate partner violence and suicide. In one deeply sad part of the novel, Garcia pauses to reflect on the complexities of what it is to love someone who has been violent toward you: The body her fingertips memorized, the universe of a relationship. All its language and borders and landscapes. A geography she studied for years and still does not understand: a man who pummels a fist into her side the same day he takes in a kitten found lying in the crook of a stairwell during a rainstorm. The language here, the geographic metaphors, are no accident. There is a running theme throughout this short powerful novel of loving something - be it a person, or a country - that does not love you back in the way you deserve. As Gloria later says: You cried for your old life every day. You begged to go back to Florida and how could I explain it to you, you so small and full of hope still? That the place you called home had never considered you hers, had always held you at arm's length like an ugly reflection? I felt there were a lot of moving moments in this book, as well as a compelling look at some of the last 150 years of Cuban history. I only wish the story's timeline had been easier to follow.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lisa of Troy

    This is a collection of short stories (this book is about 200 pages), and it follows several women through various periods of time. Although I am no stranger to multiple POV's and timeline books, this is the first book that I read that was not a thriller/mystery that had the multiple POV's/timelines. Of Women and Salt contained some incredibly interesting stories and offered me a glimpse into a life that I have never lived, giving me a different way to view the world, forever which I will be gra This is a collection of short stories (this book is about 200 pages), and it follows several women through various periods of time. Although I am no stranger to multiple POV's and timeline books, this is the first book that I read that was not a thriller/mystery that had the multiple POV's/timelines. Of Women and Salt contained some incredibly interesting stories and offered me a glimpse into a life that I have never lived, giving me a different way to view the world, forever which I will be grateful. The stories also challenged me to really define what was a successful life. The media would have us believe that we can't be happy unless we have the wealth of Jeff Bezos, the body of Miranda Kerr, be as charming as Daisy Buchanan while making it all look effortless. No wonder that 23% of women in their 40's and 50's take anti-depressant medication. This book challenged my notions of success. What would it have meant for each of the women in this book to be successful according to their own definition? Maybe just maybe the elusive answer to happiness is not the same for all women. Although I appreciate the mountain that this book is trying to move, I don't believe that the shifting POV's and timelines furthered the cause especially in a short story format. The author has a very limited time to hook the reader, very little time for the reader to connect to the characters, and begin to start to stir the emotions, to be moved. Additionally, some of the stories seemed more interesting than others although this book is head and shoulders better than The Lost Apothecary, better story telling and stronger female characters. Overall, a worthwhile read. 2022 Reading Schedule Jan Animal Farm Feb Lord of the Flies Mar The Da Vinci Code Apr Of Mice and Men May Memoirs of a Geisha Jun Little Women Jul The Lovely Bones Aug Charlotte's Web Sep Life of Pi Oct Dracula Nov Gone with the Wind Dec The Secret Garden Connect With Me! Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lisa_of_Troy YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvmS... Facebook: https://facebook.com/LisaofTroy Email: [email protected]

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dorie - Cats&Books :)

    This was a very difficult book to read but it’s an eye opening one. This is a debut author who has a lot to say about immigration, ICE, deportation, illegal immigrants, motherhood, mother daughter relationships, rape, etc For me I felt that there was a bit too much information crammed into a rather short novel of 240 pages. I think this would have worked better as short stories about the various women and generational connections. I had problems with the multiple timelines in this book and the my This was a very difficult book to read but it’s an eye opening one. This is a debut author who has a lot to say about immigration, ICE, deportation, illegal immigrants, motherhood, mother daughter relationships, rape, etc For me I felt that there was a bit too much information crammed into a rather short novel of 240 pages. I think this would have worked better as short stories about the various women and generational connections. I had problems with the multiple timelines in this book and the myriad of characters. It took a lot of time, flipping back and forth through pages, to keep a handle on who was doing what and during what time. I loved the beginning of the novel when we are transported to nineteenth century Cuba and a cigar making factory. I enjoyed Ms. Garcia’s very “sensory” writing of what Cuba was like at that time. We explore the relationships of the cigar workers, mainly men, and how they didn’t really want women joining the group. As this story moves on we see how the revolution upsets the balance of the cigar factory and eventually the factory is seized and the workers are all out of a job. In present day Miami, Carmen and Jeanette are Cuban Americans. Carmen loves her daughter Jeanette but there are communication problems between the two and they often struggle to understand each other. Jeanette is finally overcoming her addiction problems and is now working and living on her own. She sees her neighbor Gloria being taken away by ICE and her young daughter Ana left behind, coming home from school to an empty, locked house. Jeanette takes her in and mother Carmen doesn’t understand why she should take on more problems. Eventually Jeanette travels to Cuba to see her grandmother and try to understand all of the secrets from the past generation. In an interview on NPR on March 28, 2021 the author stated the following: “GARCIA: I wanted to write about what it's like to grow up in a violent, patriarchal society while not censuring those men. And so the book is only in the voices and perspectives of the women, and the men sort of exist at the periphery. And a lot of them are violent in various different ways. So I wanted all of it to sort of just center on the women and how they survive in this society.” The entire interview can be read on the NPR website, it’s an interesting addition to reading the book. While I enjoyed the novel I felt it was a little frustrating to read and keep track of everyone. Perhaps it would be best to read this novel in as few sittings as possible. I received an ARC of this novel from the author through the publisher Flatiron Books. Readers who enjoy multi-generational historical fiction will enjoy this novel.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Taylor Reid

    From 19th-century Cuba to Mexico to present-day Miami, Garcia creates a rich backdrop for this sweeping intergenerational family saga that weaves together the lives of five generations of women. The story centers on Carmen, still reeling from the trauma of displacement, and her daughter Jeanette, who is battling addiction, as they navigate their difficult relationship and the long-held secrets of the past. I loved it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Angela M

    This is a powerful debut, beautifully written with characters easy to connect to. It’s a multigenerational story of mothers and daughters spanning from 1866 Cuba to 2019 in Miami. There are non linear multiple narratives, both past and present that are moving and relevant. I felt for each of the women portrayed here and how their own traumatic circumstances be it political upheaval, rape, abuse, drug addiction, deportation, the dismal detention center where one had to face the complications of t This is a powerful debut, beautifully written with characters easy to connect to. It’s a multigenerational story of mothers and daughters spanning from 1866 Cuba to 2019 in Miami. There are non linear multiple narratives, both past and present that are moving and relevant. I felt for each of the women portrayed here and how their own traumatic circumstances be it political upheaval, rape, abuse, drug addiction, deportation, the dismal detention center where one had to face the complications of the immigration system. Much ground is covered here with a lot of characters and at times it felt like too much for such a short book of 224 pages. I was grateful that the author included a family tree of sorts which I had to keep looking at to remember how the women were related. We get a glimpse of the politics and history in Cuba at various time, a glimpse at the immigration issues and detention centers in the US and more, but I wanted more, more of an in depth look at these things through the eyes of some resilient women portrayed here. Having said that, this is a stunning book, sad and emotionally draining at times, but such an impressive first novel. I will definitely look for what Gabriela Garcia does after this one. I received a copy of this book from Flatiron Books through Edelweiss.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    Quick thoughts: A beautifully and powerfully-written literary character study of women, especially experiences related to immigration and resilience. This is a strong debut and deserves all the accolades it has received. It exposes all sides to immigration in the United States. I loved it so much I had to order the UK copy, which features a panther on the cover. Thank you to my friends at Goodreads and Flatiron Books for the gifted copy. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennif Quick thoughts: A beautifully and powerfully-written literary character study of women, especially experiences related to immigration and resilience. This is a strong debut and deserves all the accolades it has received. It exposes all sides to immigration in the United States. I loved it so much I had to order the UK copy, which features a panther on the cover. Thank you to my friends at Goodreads and Flatiron Books for the gifted copy. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  8. 5 out of 5

    JanB

    How do women navigate and learn to deal with the abuses of men and the abuses of an oppressive regime? The women in these pages aren’t self-sacrificing martyrs, they are complex human beings, flaws and all. The book reads as a collection of short stories that are woven together by a common theme. We begin in Cuba in the 1880’s and end in present day U.S. The characters and non-linear timelines makes for difficult reading. It’s hard to keep everything straight, and while a family tree at the star How do women navigate and learn to deal with the abuses of men and the abuses of an oppressive regime? The women in these pages aren’t self-sacrificing martyrs, they are complex human beings, flaws and all. The book reads as a collection of short stories that are woven together by a common theme. We begin in Cuba in the 1880’s and end in present day U.S. The characters and non-linear timelines makes for difficult reading. It’s hard to keep everything straight, and while a family tree at the start of the novel is helpful, I don’t want to work that hard as I read. While some books are valuable solely for entertainment purposes, I also read for education, and to gain a broader view of history and see life from the viewpoint of those whose lives are very different from my own. I feel this novel intended to do the latter, but for me it was lacking due to the jumping timelines and multiple perspectives. Due to the short length and multiple characters, there is a lack of depth. A worthy premise with beautiful writing is not enough. Unfortunately, I found this a slog to complete. Had it not been a book club selection I would have DNF’d.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer

    Published in the UK today 15-4-21 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. In 1870 Victor Hugo replied to a letter from the Cuban exile Emilia Casanova de Villaverde (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emilia_...) – wife of Published in the UK today 15-4-21 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. In 1870 Victor Hugo replied to a letter from the Cuban exile Emilia Casanova de Villaverde (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emilia_...) – wife of the novelist Cirilo (author of the novella Cecilia Valdés) with a letter addressed to the women of Cuba – a country then struggling to free itself from Spanish domination – writing of exile and of occupation “Women of Cuba, I hear your cries. Fugitives, martyrs, widows, orphans, you turn to an outlaw; those who have no home to call their own seek the support of one who has lost his country. Certainly we are overwhelmed; you no longer have your voice, and I have more than my own: your voice moaning, mine warning. These two breaths, sobbing for home, calling for home, are all that remain. Who are we, weakness? No, we are force.’” These last words – handwritten in a first edition of “Les Misérables” – form the thread which holds together this novel – which despite its brief length – roams across 6 point of view narrators, 5 generations and 4 countries. The author, who grew up in the Miami Latinx community and is the daughter of Mexican and Cuban immigrants has said “I had the ambitious idea of combining all these different threads I was obsessed with: Cuba, America, detention, deportation, addiction, privilege” using the voices of women – an idea she explored in her MFA Thesis which was the genesis of this book – an exploration of all of those ideas, of the mother daughter relationship, and of divides across colour, social class, country and generations. The book begins briefly in 2018, with a short cry of despair from Carmen (a wealthy, first generation immigrant from Cuba living in Miami) to her estranged, addict daughter Jeanette – pleading with Jeanette to turn from her destructive drug addiction and prove that she wants to live, so that Carmen can begin to bridge the divides between them: a divide which built up due after the death of Jeanette’s father when she shocked Carmen (who had tolerated his alcoholism due to the prosperity she married into) with the truth of his behaviour; and which was exacerbated by Jeanette’s assumptions about the reason why Carmen cut off all links with her mother (Jeannette’s grandmother) Dolores who still lives in Cuba. The first full chapter plunges us back to Cuba in 1866 (a time of increasing guerilla activity) and the family matriarch (Dolores’s grandmother) María Isabel – the only female cigar roller in a factory. María Isabel is inspired and then courted by the factory lector who gifts her first Cecilia Valdés (which “spoke of the Spanish and creole social elite, love between free and enslaved Black Cubans; a mulatto woman, her place in their island’s history. Even so, the author creole, an influential man”) and then Les Misérables – both of which he reads in the factory alongside the daily newspapers (along with Hugo’s letter to de Villaverde) before authoritarian intervention costs him his job and drives him into subversive activities. We then switch to Miami in 2014 – the newly recovering Jeanette (although still drawn to her abusive boyfriend and fellow addict Mario) sees her Central American neighbour taken away by ICE agents and impulsively takes in her abandoned daughter Ana, to the strong disapproval of Carmen who tries to convince her she is imperiling her parole. We then join Ana’s mother Gloria – an illegal immigrant from El Salvador (having fled M13 gang violence – readers of Valeria Luiselli’s brilliant “Tell Me How it Ends” will immediately identify with the brief references to decades of American complicity in creating their own refugee crisis as well as in the strong and deserved critiques of the Obama regime’s warped immigration policies) – in a detention centre without Ana. Later point of view narrators (both first and third party, both past and present tense) are Carmen, Ana and Delores. One of the most impressive aspects of the book is the author’s ability to write in so many different styles and voices – the book effectively has the form of a series of stand-alone and striking short stories coalescing around two related families as well as the themes mentioned earlier in my review . The María Isabel chapter has a portentous and old-fashioned tone; the first Carmen chapter (titled “The Encyclopedia of Birds) features a brilliant set of avian facts and analogies for the character’s situation. Later we have: a young adult tale of lost virginity mixed with the discovery of the body of an illegal immigrant; a two-girl road trip into the Cuban countryside followed by an awkward family reunion that causes them to examine their assumptions and prejudices; a prosperous tale of a thanksgiving dinner gone wrong – and a microcosm of the tensions and preoccupations of the older Cuban Castro-refugee community in Miami, mixed with an animal mystery; an account by the abused wife of a Castro freedom fighter; the observations of a girl working on a beauty counter in a department store and her deductions of a wealthy couple who shop with her; a childhood story of growing up as a Salvadorian house maid with an American ex-pat in Mexico; an American Dirt style border crossing- before the two families are drawn back together. I was drawn to this book due to the number of 2021 preview literary fiction features in which it has appeared – and having read it, suspect it will feature in many best of 2021 lists in a year’s time as well as some prize lists during the year – albeit the publishing date (of mid-April) means it will not be eligible for this year’s Women’s Prize (for which this would seem a certainty to make at least the longlist) In the margin of one page, .. was Jeanette’s handwriting below another note in faded script that seemed to spell out the same thing. We are force, the scribble read. And then Jeanette had added her own words, We are more than we think we are. And though [she] had no idea why Jeanette had written those words, she chose to believe the sentence, the scribble, was a cry across time. Women? Certain women? We are more than we think we are. …. She had no idea what else life would ask of her, force out of her …. She thought that she, too, might give away the book someday, though she had no idea to whom. Someone who reminded her of herself maybe. Someone who liked stories. She said thank you and put the book aside. Ultimately this is a brilliant book for those who like stories. And as I put the book aside I say thank you to the author and thanks to Pan Macmillan for an ARC via NetGalley.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bkwmlee

    In trying to rate this book, I feel a bit conflicted. On the one hand, I loved the beautiful, lyrical writing and the way that the author, Gabriela Garcia, was able to capture the emotional nuances of her characters so perfectly (and seemingly effortlessly). I love family stories that span generations and I felt this one was particularly well done in terms of showing the generational connections between the various women as well as how the decisions each one makes impact each other in a profound In trying to rate this book, I feel a bit conflicted. On the one hand, I loved the beautiful, lyrical writing and the way that the author, Gabriela Garcia, was able to capture the emotional nuances of her characters so perfectly (and seemingly effortlessly). I love family stories that span generations and I felt this one was particularly well done in terms of showing the generational connections between the various women as well as how the decisions each one makes impact each other in a profound way. I also found it admirable how Garcia was able to cover so much ground in such a short novel (this one clocked in at a little over 200 pages), seamlessly weaving into the narrative timely and important topics such as illegal immigration, deportation, the border crisis, drug addiction, domestic and sexual abuse, etc., alongside political and historical events related to Cuba and the revolution that occurred there, plus aspects of the Cuban culture and community. The way that Garcia presented the struggles that her characters (women some from the same family but different generations, others not from the family but connected somehow) go through, I felt like I was getting a first-hand account more powerful than what usually gets presented in the news. I definitely learned a lot! With all that said, one of the things that didn’t work too well for me was the non-linear structure of the story. I didn’t have a problem with each chapter being told from the perspective of different characters, but what made this a frustrating read for me was the jumping back and forth between multiple timelines and settings in a non-chronological way (for example – jumping from 2018 to 1866, then to 2014, then to 1959 then to 2016 then back to 2006, etc.). I found it really difficult to keep track of the story arcs and ended up having to flip back and forth a lot. I think if I had been able to finish this book in one sitting, it would’ve been fine, but the reality is that I’m rarely able to do so with how busy my life often gets. Overall, I feel that this is a strong, assured debut that’s also a necessary read, especially for readers who like well-written contemporary fiction that not just reflects current times and issues, but also incorporates historical aspects as well. Definitely highly recommended, though with the caveat that it’s best to read this one all in one sitting if you are able to. It’s also not an easy read by any means due to the heavy (and oftentimes controversial) topics it covers — though triggers abound, it’s still very much a worthwhile read. Received print ARC from publisher (Flatiron Books) via BookBrowse.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    "That there are no real rules that govern why some are born in turmoil and others never know a single day in which the next seems an ill-considered bet. It's all lottery, Ana, all chance. It's the flick of a coin, and we are born." I pondered over this title, Of Women and Salt, and came away with something that may never have been the intent of the author. I pictured these five generations of women contained within this novel and then thought of women in general. There are deep wounds that we car "That there are no real rules that govern why some are born in turmoil and others never know a single day in which the next seems an ill-considered bet. It's all lottery, Ana, all chance. It's the flick of a coin, and we are born." I pondered over this title, Of Women and Salt, and came away with something that may never have been the intent of the author. I pictured these five generations of women contained within this novel and then thought of women in general. There are deep wounds that we carry buried beneath the surface. And then there are those readily recognized by others who reflect them in kind. But at times, life has a tendency to trickle salt into their openness.....stinging and oozing from the pains of the past. Gabriela Garcia has created quite the read here that seems to reflect upon those thoughts. Her talent is evident as we come face-to-face with her intricate characters set in Cuba, Mexico, Central America, and the United States. Quite frankly, this was an undertaking stretching in time, in place, and in circumstance. At times, the storyline unravels in a multitude of directions with placement in the 1860's in Cuba to modern times in America. Sometimes "the telling" stayed too long in one location and not long enough in others. Of Women and Salt opens with the character of Maria Isabel who is the sole female worker rolling cigars and bending in that position for hours in an overheated warehouse. The workers are read to every day to keep up productivity. She thrives on the classics even though she, herself, cannot read. Her marriage prospects are limited until the arrival of Antonio, the reader. And the magic and the heartache is to begin. The story continues to unfold through Maria's daughter, Cecilia, and her daughter, Dolores, and her daughter, Carmen, and her daughter, Jeanette. Garcia will take us through the early signs of the Revolution in Cuba as it gains its footing and forces the tremendous hardships and the constant upheaval for power. We are struck by the poverty and the limitations put upon the people when Jeanette visits her grandmother. And at the same time, we experience the resilience of the Cuban people. My wish would have been that Gabriela Garcia would have developed this story into two separate novels. I was more caught up with the early years in Cuba in the 1860's and, in particular, the remarkable story of Dolores in 1959 and her survival skills. There was an abundance of storyline here for even more expansion. History was in the making and it surrounded this family in Camaguey. Then Gabriela Garcia shifts the story to more modern times with intense details of Jeanette's story that parallels her mother, Carmen. Jeanette's character seemed to serve as a reactionary spinning against the swirling social evils and temptations of this world. Garcia's finale closes the door with a hard slam at the end with packages wrapped and left on the doorstep. But hear me out: Of Women and Salt is a worthy read. It has a magic to pull you in. You'll fully notice the shoulda, coulda, woulda gaps here and there. But Gabriela Garcia is a talent on the brink of full bloom. You won't want to miss being within and experiencing the seedling stage of such a writer.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Not rating — I checked this book out from the library twice - THREE TIMES I TRIED TO FINISH IT… Finally started skimming….. Willing to chalk it up to me - not the book - but I just couldn’t fully connect and stay interested. Honestly…. It was me … and my smashed up marshmallow brain.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lupita Reads

    I am not writing this post to signal an alarm that this book is problematic. This review only speaks to my own experiences and gut feelings with how I processed this book. That said I am going to signal boost Lorraine Avila's review for this book in Tastefully Rude called “Of Women and Salt: A Beautiful Novel from Flatiron Books Rubs Salt In The Wounds Of The Black Caribbean” - go read that first. I have linked to in my stories. I am keeping these thoughts vague to reduce the potential of spoile I am not writing this post to signal an alarm that this book is problematic. This review only speaks to my own experiences and gut feelings with how I processed this book. That said I am going to signal boost Lorraine Avila's review for this book in Tastefully Rude called “Of Women and Salt: A Beautiful Novel from Flatiron Books Rubs Salt In The Wounds Of The Black Caribbean” - go read that first. I have linked to in my stories. I am keeping these thoughts vague to reduce the potential of spoilers. I am writing this post because I want to engage critically with literature written about a community I am part of. I want to explore through this critique why it is I personally found myself struggling with reading and now supporting OF SALT & WOMEN by Gabriela Garcia. Sitting with each chapter of this exploration of five generations of mujeres latinas I felt hit in the face with how linear and one-dimensional their stories all felt. How the focus & unraveling of their trauma felt like it served more as a vehicle to move a story further rather than a way to explore the multitudes of resilience that exist within the Latinx/e community, especially women. From the blurbs to the synopsis it appears that the intention of the novel was to showcase “survivorship”. For me, it instead showcased characters as empty vessels to their trauma. Although it feels like the intention to make the secondary characters- Gloria and Ana, Central American, was done thoughtfully to counter the lack of inclusion & centering of the Central American migrant experience in the media, it fails. It reduces Gloria and Ana to simple ploys within the Cuban American character's lives. This struck me and nagged at me the most about the book because there IS a lack of attention to Central American voices writing about and speaking about their migration experiences. Without the characters actively telling you they were from El Salvador within the book, there was little else about their lived experience written that would indicate to a reader that these characters were Central American. It is the lack of building that made this book a massive miss for me.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    2.5 stars: I’m not sure how I feel about “Of Women and Salt” by Gabriela Garcia. For me, it became a series of short stories that are linked by a Cuban woman and her female lineage. The prose is beautiful, although at times a bit awkward/clunky. The different stories about the women don’t follow a timeline, so that was a bit clunky for me as well. A Salvadorian woman and her young daughter are introduced in the story, and I, as a reader wasn’t sure what their point was. I felt perhaps Garcia want 2.5 stars: I’m not sure how I feel about “Of Women and Salt” by Gabriela Garcia. For me, it became a series of short stories that are linked by a Cuban woman and her female lineage. The prose is beautiful, although at times a bit awkward/clunky. The different stories about the women don’t follow a timeline, so that was a bit clunky for me as well. A Salvadorian woman and her young daughter are introduced in the story, and I, as a reader wasn’t sure what their point was. I felt perhaps Garcia wanted to bring in immigration and the ugliness if ICE. We follow this primary school girl and her mother from Miami, where ICE removes them, to Texas to Mexico. It was bewildering to me as to what their position in the story was. In the end, I think Garcia wanted to vindicate one of the Cuban women, Carmen. Carmen had her own history, which she didn’t share with her daughter Jeannette. Carmen has regrets with her mothering of Jeannette, and maybe Garcia wanted to end the novel on a promising note. I enjoyed the story. I was moved by each woman’s story. Yet, it was disjointed. This isn’t a novel that I will remember 3 months later.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cheri

    This begins, briefly, in 2018 with a woman who is writing to her daughter, a plea that begins with 'Jeanette, tell me that you want to live.' She begs her daughter to stop killing herself, and get sober. She tells her 'Sun child, hair permanently whisked by wind, you were happy once. I see it, looking over these photos. Such smiles. How was I to know you held such a secret?' Maybe if they could sit together, she could share her story so that Jeanette will better understand the decisions she’s ma This begins, briefly, in 2018 with a woman who is writing to her daughter, a plea that begins with 'Jeanette, tell me that you want to live.' She begs her daughter to stop killing herself, and get sober. She tells her 'Sun child, hair permanently whisked by wind, you were happy once. I see it, looking over these photos. Such smiles. How was I to know you held such a secret?' Maybe if they could sit together, she could share her story so that Jeanette will better understand the decisions she’s made that brought them to this place. It doesn’t stay there long, wandering back and forth through time, sharing the lives of generations of women over the years, beginning in 1866 in Camagüey, Cuba, a war is on the horizon, their war for independence from Spain. Shared through Maria Isabel’s story, this was where this story completely pulled me in. Working in a cigar factory, the only woman in the workshop among a hundred or more workers, she worked hard to prove her worth. She began her work at 6:30 each morning with her head bent, tracing 'the sign of the cross over her shoulders, and took the first leaf in her hands' and as the work day begins, the lector reads a letter from the editors of La Aurora. 'Maria Isabel ran her tongue along another leaf’s gummy underside, the earthy bitterness as familiar a taste by now as if it were born of her. She placed the softened leaf on the layers that preceded it, the long veins in a pile beside. Rollers, allowed as many cigars as they liked, struck matches and took fat puffs with hands tented over flames. The air thickened.' Other days, he read novels where Maria Isabel could envision herself 'traveling far past the sugarcane fields and sea-salt washed plantations to the hazy shores of France. In her mind, she walked the cobblestone streets of Paris, dipped her feet in the Seine, traversed the river’s bridges and arches by carriage like a noble.’... She thought of herself. Of what it would be like if someone wrote a book about her. Someone like her wrote a book.' ’She could now string letters into words. She marveled at the magic of it all, how human beings had thought to etch markings on stone to tell their stories, sensed each lifetime too grand, too interesting, not to document. She placed one hand to her belly and felt the something in her move and stretch as if seeking its own freedom, felt as if the whole world were her womb. She wanted to write her own words. She wanted to write her life into existence and endure.' Stepping from 1866 into 2014 is a bit of a leap across time and place, and while the story still is compelling, it loses some of the beauty as the stories that dominate are of abusive men who seem determined to control the lives of the women. Alongside those stories, are the ones of undocumented immigrants living in Florida. Jeanette, who is the gr-gr-grandaughter of Carmen, watches as ICE takes Gloria away, while Gloria’s daughter, Ana is with a babysitter. Ana ends up staying for a time with Jeanette, and Gloria ends up in a detention center in Texas. A story sharing the lives of women that have struggled to find a way to thrive, a need to be recognized and appreciated for their value. Published: 30 Mar 2021 Many thanks for the ARC provided by Flatiron Books

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Garcia has woven a multigenerational novel through the points-of-view of 6 narrators and chapters that shift timelines to include 5 generations and 4 countries. It is the author’s beautiful writing that holds this complicated structure together. This is a story about mothers and daughters and how they survive and grow despite having to deal with toxic men and heartless countries. There is María Isabel who is the only female cigar roller in Cuba, just before the Ten Years War that achieved Indepen Garcia has woven a multigenerational novel through the points-of-view of 6 narrators and chapters that shift timelines to include 5 generations and 4 countries. It is the author’s beautiful writing that holds this complicated structure together. This is a story about mothers and daughters and how they survive and grow despite having to deal with toxic men and heartless countries. There is María Isabel who is the only female cigar roller in Cuba, just before the Ten Years War that achieved Independence from Spain. Much later is the story of Delores, whose husband fights for Fidel Castro. Delores’ daughter Carmen immigrates to Florida. She is part of the first-wave of Cuban refugees and are warmly welcomed by the United States. They consider themselves white, not-LatinX, and hold their status as being much higher than dark-skinned Cubans. Carmen’s daughter, Jeanette, is the main protagonist of the novel. She is a woman adrift, alienated from her mother despite the significant financial support she receives from her. She has a substance-abuse problem, and a toxic relationship with her boyfriend. She convinces her mother to pay for a trip to Cuba to see her grandmother, but the visit falls short of her rosy expectations. Jeanette’s neighbor provides a contrasting picture of immigration. ICE picks Gloria up without waiting for her daughter Ana to arrive home. Eventually, the mother and daughter are reunited and subsequently deported to Mexico, despite them being from El Salvador. They were trying to escape the violent, brutal conditions that existed there and crossed into the U.S. illegally. Recommend this story about Cuba, America, detention, deportation, addiction and privilege—but mostly about mothers and daughters.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    3.5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️rounded to 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Cuba 1866-Maria Isabel to Ana-Mexico 2019. Jeanette in Miami battling addition wants to know about her family history in Cuba. She travels to Cuba to confront her grandmother with all her questions. This is the tale of five generations of strong women battling everyday life to immigration It is not a happy story. it is filled with substance abuse, child and spousal abuse, and the plight of immigration to the United States. The story is intermingled with different sett 3.5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️rounded to 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Cuba 1866-Maria Isabel to Ana-Mexico 2019. Jeanette in Miami battling addition wants to know about her family history in Cuba. She travels to Cuba to confront her grandmother with all her questions. This is the tale of five generations of strong women battling everyday life to immigration It is not a happy story. it is filled with substance abuse, child and spousal abuse, and the plight of immigration to the United States. The story is intermingled with different settings and timelines within the characters stories. At times I had to go back and reread portions of the book. I found it very confusing. The stories were beautifully written in parts. I loved reading about the history of Cuba. Ana’s story was very heartbreaking as to how she immigrated with her mother and what happened to them. It is a compelling story. I just wish the timelines were more consistent. I received this advanced readers copy from Goodreads giveaway promotion.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I'm clearly an outlier with my negative review, so take all of this with a pinch of salt. While I commend what the book sets out to do - tell the story and experiences of generations of different Cuban women (and a woman from El Salvador) who have emigrated to the US - this didn't make for an enjoyable reading experience for a number of reasons. The writing felt clunky, there is WAY too much going on, and the characters fell flat. If these things had been done well I might've been able to put up I'm clearly an outlier with my negative review, so take all of this with a pinch of salt. While I commend what the book sets out to do - tell the story and experiences of generations of different Cuban women (and a woman from El Salvador) who have emigrated to the US - this didn't make for an enjoyable reading experience for a number of reasons. The writing felt clunky, there is WAY too much going on, and the characters fell flat. If these things had been done well I might've been able to put up with the relentless misery that was the plot, but alas. Not for me! Thank you Netgalley and Granta for the advance copy, which was provided in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Catherine (alternativelytitledbooks)

    Whatever you do, make it past the first story! This is a collection of intertwining short stories, and the first chapter is essentially historical fiction. It's rather hard to get through, at least it was for me. Granted, historical fiction isn't really my genre of choice, but if it's engaging I can get lost in it from time to time. I appreciate wanting to give this family context, but my interest waned in the early pages. Jeanette's chapters, however? Completely soared, were engrossing and atmosp Whatever you do, make it past the first story! This is a collection of intertwining short stories, and the first chapter is essentially historical fiction. It's rather hard to get through, at least it was for me. Granted, historical fiction isn't really my genre of choice, but if it's engaging I can get lost in it from time to time. I appreciate wanting to give this family context, but my interest waned in the early pages. Jeanette's chapters, however? Completely soared, were engrossing and atmospheric, and I felt like I really understood her character, from A to Z. There is plenty of beauty and potential to be found in these pages, but a few things would have made it better for me: *a linear timeline. Yes, she could have done this without damaging the integrity of the overall story. Jumping around this much just felt unnecessary. *fewer POVs. Maybe only two? I felt like the minute I started to get interested in a storyline, everything shifted, and it's hard to truly dive deep when the book is only a couple hundred pages in its entirety. *shifting from a collection of short stories to a full-length novel. I think this one had all the potential and the subject matter was interesting. All of these women had more to say, but I don't necessarily feel like a sequel would be possible, so I would have happy to hear more from them throughout this book instead. I bounced back and forth so much on my rating for this one, but since some of the stories felt like a solid 3 and others a 4, I'm settling on 3.5 ⭐ An interesting read, but I think with a bit of editing and expansion it could have been much better!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Gabriela Garcia's mother is Cuban, and her father is Mexican. She grew up hearing the diverse stories of legal and illegal Latinx immigrants in Florida. In her finely crafted debut novel, Of Women and Salt, Garcia examines these worlds through the stories of women. The book focuses on Jeanette, a twenty-something Cuban- American who is struggling with addiction, and her neighbor Gloria and her seven-year-old daughter Ana, illegal immigrants from El Salvador. Jeanette is trying to piece together h Gabriela Garcia's mother is Cuban, and her father is Mexican. She grew up hearing the diverse stories of legal and illegal Latinx immigrants in Florida. In her finely crafted debut novel, Of Women and Salt, Garcia examines these worlds through the stories of women. The book focuses on Jeanette, a twenty-something Cuban- American who is struggling with addiction, and her neighbor Gloria and her seven-year-old daughter Ana, illegal immigrants from El Salvador. Jeanette is trying to piece together her life by coming to terms with her family history and her inner demons. In interlinked segments, Garcia introduces the women in Jeanette's family's back story, beginning in 1866 with her great-grandmother, a cigar roller who survived the Cuban War for independence from Spain. Her great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother, like Jeanette, suffer from trauma and abuse. Although Jeanette's life is in disarray, she tries to help her neighbor, Gloria, by taking in her seven-year-old after ICE takes Gloria into detention. Stories of Gloria's struggle with the immigration system, her reunion with Anna, and their deportation to Mexico are interspersed throughout. The combination of the independent yet, interlinking stories is powerful. Of women and Salt is an impressive first novel. I look forward to reading her future work.

  21. 5 out of 5

    luce ❀ wishfully reading ❀

    ❀ blog ❀ thestorygraph ❀ letterboxd ❀ tumblr ❀ ko-fi ❀ However distressing, I appreciated the realities, issues, and themes Gabriela Garcia explores throughout her novel. Sadly, the author's execution and writing style lessened my overall reading experience. I know that interconnected narratives can work well, and some of my favourite novels employ this technique (The Travelers and Travellers), but I would have probably preferred for Of Women and Salt to either be a series of short stories or to ❀ blog ❀ thestorygraph ❀ letterboxd ❀ tumblr ❀ ko-fi ❀ However distressing, I appreciated the realities, issues, and themes Gabriela Garcia explores throughout her novel. Sadly, the author's execution and writing style lessened my overall reading experience. I know that interconnected narratives can work well, and some of my favourite novels employ this technique (The Travelers and Travellers), but I would have probably preferred for Of Women and Salt to either be a series of short stories or to stick to two or three timelines/perspectives—such as Margaret Wilkerson Sexton does in A Kind of Freedom. Take one of the firsts chapters, the one set in Cuba during the 19th-century in a cigar factory. That chapter bears no real weight on the novel, and it would have fitted a lot more in a family saga authored by Isabel Allende. The other chapters are mainly set in the present day and offer readers rushed glimpses into the lives of Latinx women living in America. Some of them are undocumented, and we see how vulnerable a position that leaves them in (there is the risk deportation, being forced to accept jobs that pay badly or are exploitative, no health insurance, racism, prejudice...the list goes on). We read of the horrifying realities and treatments undocumented individuals are exposed to daily. Garcia returns time and again to themes of motherhood and resilience. Garcia also shows us how devastating addiction is, both on the addict and on their loved ones. A lot of the time I was unable to truly familiarise myself with a character or their situation because I found the author's prose almost distracting. There were certain staccato sentences or oddly phrased phrases that brought to mind Joyce Carol Oates' most recent work and I for one am not a fan of this style. I'm sure many other readers will find it a lot more rewarding than I did but I alas found it a bit contrived at times. I wish the story could have exclusively focused on Jeanette and Carmen. Their fraught relationship was compelling. I could sadly relate to some of Jeanette's experiences, and I am grateful to Garcia for the way she discusses sexual assault. We do have a tendency of dismissing groping or other forms of sexual assault as 'minor' as not 'as bad as rape'. And at times it is difficult to articulate why someone's words or behaviour made you feel so violated or uncomfortable. There is a chapter in which Jeanette is fifteen or so and goes for a night out...and there was something about that chapter that I really did not like. Maybe it was the tone or the way the author described fifteen-year-old Jeanette but something just...rubbed me the wrong way. I also did not particularly care for the direction of her storyline (addicts can never recover etc.). The few chapters focusing on Jeanette's neighbour, who is detained by ICE, and her daughter felt a bit harried. I think the author should have expanded their stories more or simply not included them in this novel. While the topics explored in this novel are important I wish that these could have been presented to us differently. The constant shifting of perspectives made it hard for me to truly immerse myself in what I was reading. It was a bit distracting and maybe it could have worked better if the novel and been longer. Then again, given my feelings towards the author's prose maybe I would have still felt underwhelmed by it. I encourage prospective readers to check out some more positive and/or #ownvoices reviews. If you like the work of Patricia Engel, Melissa Rivero's The Affairs of the Falcóns, or Crooked Hallelujah by Kelli Jo Ford you will probably be able to appreciate Of Women and Salt more than I was able to. If you like me did not find Of Women and Salt to be a riveting read I recommend you read The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio which is a work of nonfiction that explores the realities of undocumented individuals.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Diana | Book of Secrets

    I'm torn over this book. I feel like OF WOMEN AND SALT paints a distressing and realistic picture of immigration to the US, particularly what it's like for women from Latin America entering the country illegally. I would call it a timely novel, though detention centers, family separation, and deportation have been going on for many years. • My issue with this book was its lack of a strong plot. This has been mentioned in other reviews, but it's more a collection of short stories, some very compel I'm torn over this book. I feel like OF WOMEN AND SALT paints a distressing and realistic picture of immigration to the US, particularly what it's like for women from Latin America entering the country illegally. I would call it a timely novel, though detention centers, family separation, and deportation have been going on for many years. • My issue with this book was its lack of a strong plot. This has been mentioned in other reviews, but it's more a collection of short stories, some very compelling and others not so much. The novel alternates between several different time periods (not chronologically) and POVs from different generations of women from a Cuban/Cuban American family. It also includes the story of a mother and daughter from El Salvador, whom I loved the most. • This was a short novel, and with the choppy nature of the chapters I felt like the story was missing something that would have tied everything together. There were also characters I wish had been fleshed out more, like Maria Isabel who worked in a cigar factory in 1860s Cuba. I wanted to know more about her life. • OF WOMEN AND SALT is a heartbreaking book that explores mother/daughter bonds, loss, survival, and desperate choices. I just wish it had been more cohesive. • Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Whitney Erwin

    This book is eye-opening. Very thought provoking. I enjoyed it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Book Clubbed

    A welcome antidote to the maudlin mess of American Dirt, Of Women and Salt has the scope and wider-ranging curiosities we typically see in a much longer novel. Closer to a collection of connected short stories, the punchy sections are compact, although the format may limit the overarching emotional storylines. At times, the stories set closer to the present forget to set the characters in motion, concerned with picking through the past, the emotional tenor stagnant. There is, however, a lot to A welcome antidote to the maudlin mess of American Dirt, Of Women and Salt has the scope and wider-ranging curiosities we typically see in a much longer novel. Closer to a collection of connected short stories, the punchy sections are compact, although the format may limit the overarching emotional storylines. At times, the stories set closer to the present forget to set the characters in motion, concerned with picking through the past, the emotional tenor stagnant. There is, however, a lot to be admired here. The language is studied and precise, although that does nothing to mute the emotions layered within. Garcia has a command of both her language and subject matter—from addiction to the history of Cuba to all the ways relationships can erode, sandcastles giving into a rising tide. Perhaps most impressive, to me, is her ability to fully inhabit a variety of characters, seamlessly assuming the 1st person perspective. While many authors use the 1st person primarily for the convenience of dialogue and expressing wants, they revert back to their own voice in summary. Garcia is consistent, thinking like the character, noticing like the character, even using similes like the character at hand. Simultaneously timely and set within the intimate history of a family, Of Women and Salt is a worthy read from a new talent. Listen to full reviews at: https://bookclubbed.buzzsprout.com/

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sarah-Hope

    Gabriela Garcia's Of Women and Salt is set during the Obama administration, but it's very much a book of our time. The novel explores the complicated relationships among different generations of women in Cuba and Miami, with the earliest generations living in Cuba during the revolution and the more recent generations in not-quite-present-day Florida. It also explores the relationship between a separate mother-daughter pair, Salvadorans who are living in the U.S. without documentation. Many of th Gabriela Garcia's Of Women and Salt is set during the Obama administration, but it's very much a book of our time. The novel explores the complicated relationships among different generations of women in Cuba and Miami, with the earliest generations living in Cuba during the revolution and the more recent generations in not-quite-present-day Florida. It also explores the relationship between a separate mother-daughter pair, Salvadorans who are living in the U.S. without documentation. Many of these relationships are strained, and we, the readers, gradually find out why, while the characters themselves remain unaware of much of the story that readers are able to put together. Of Women and Salt is neither a tidy book nor a happy one, but it is a very human one. Garcia's characters are clearly presented in their imperfections, with no magic bullets or deus ex machina moments to resolve the challenges they face. One could almost say that in a way each of these women is a failure—but they aren't. They are doing the best they can given their life circumstances. And Garcia tells her story in a way that lets us find something of value in each of these imperfect women. There are any number of reasons to read this book: Garcia packs it full of moments that resonate. And the lack of a tidy ending gives readers one more more reason to care about the lives of each of these women. I received an electronic review copy of this title from the publisher; the opinions are my own.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Karen (idleutopia_reads)

    I truly wanted to like this one but it was a disparate patchwork that never came together to form a cohesive story. There were problems with the structure which I should have known since I saw the family tree which was so simple as to be a bit laughable. Still, I gave it a chance because it was own voices story and it is and should have stuck to that. There was potential in this book which I think made it even worse that nothing came to fruition. Anything that could have been thrown into this st I truly wanted to like this one but it was a disparate patchwork that never came together to form a cohesive story. There were problems with the structure which I should have known since I saw the family tree which was so simple as to be a bit laughable. Still, I gave it a chance because it was own voices story and it is and should have stuck to that. There was potential in this book which I think made it even worse that nothing came to fruition. Anything that could have been thrown into this story was added but it was a dressing that never fit the characters. Characters that were never fully fledged and plot that wasn't ever crafted. This could have been a short story collection or it could have been a family saga but it never managed to be either. More cohesive thoughts to come but I would recommend that you get this from your library if you choose to read it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joy D

    Multigenerational story of mothers and daughters in migrant families, this book reads as a series of interlinked stories. Several stories relate to Jeanette in present-day Miami, recovering from addiction, and her mother, Carmen. Jeanette watches her neighbor, Gloria, taken by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). She takes in the neighbor’s seven-year-old Salvadoran daughter, Ana, who was with her babysitter at the time. Moving back into history, we find one of Jeanette’s ancestors, a fema Multigenerational story of mothers and daughters in migrant families, this book reads as a series of interlinked stories. Several stories relate to Jeanette in present-day Miami, recovering from addiction, and her mother, Carmen. Jeanette watches her neighbor, Gloria, taken by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). She takes in the neighbor’s seven-year-old Salvadoran daughter, Ana, who was with her babysitter at the time. Moving back into history, we find one of Jeanette’s ancestors, a female cigar-roller working in Cuba in 1866. Moving forward, Gloria is being held in a detention center in Texas. The stories that follow offer commentary on addictions, abuse, US immigration policies, race, and class. These are stories of strong women making hard choices. The author has taken on a large topic and covered it in a rather short novel. The prose is elegant. Garcia populates her stories with characters that feel authentic. They avoid categorization or stereotyping. One woman has developed a hard outer shell of protection, and has never shared her struggles with her daughter, leaving the daughter to wonder if she has ever truly known her mother. For me, the main drawback is a feeling that one storyline is not adequately established before moving to another. The overall cohesiveness of the disparate stories into a novel is not quite achieved. I found it an insightful examination of the variety of challenges faced by immigrant women. It portrays the impact of decisions on future generations. It is an impressive debut.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Christian

    I’m still thinking about this book even after I finished it. Beautiful, tragic, so powerful in such poetic form.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sofia

    I am having a hard time formulating my feelings about this book. I wish it were two books - the multigenerational story of Cuban women and then the immigration story of a Salvadoran girl and her mother. Both stories were compelling - I just think the thread between the stories was tenuous at best, especially with the way it ended. 3.5 stars rounded up because of the beautiful writing. But for me, this book didn’t live up to the hype. An imaginary star for all the feels reading about my Cuban peo I am having a hard time formulating my feelings about this book. I wish it were two books - the multigenerational story of Cuban women and then the immigration story of a Salvadoran girl and her mother. Both stories were compelling - I just think the thread between the stories was tenuous at best, especially with the way it ended. 3.5 stars rounded up because of the beautiful writing. But for me, this book didn’t live up to the hype. An imaginary star for all the feels reading about my Cuban people. 🇨🇺

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Jablonsky

    So good. 5 generations of women, in Cuba, Mexico and Miami. A current day ICE deportation in Miami kicks off the story. We learn about immigrants, husbands and wifes, mothers and daughters, sisters, love, lies and betrayals. Very engrossing and important in today's world. So good. 5 generations of women, in Cuba, Mexico and Miami. A current day ICE deportation in Miami kicks off the story. We learn about immigrants, husbands and wifes, mothers and daughters, sisters, love, lies and betrayals. Very engrossing and important in today's world.

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