Reading Journal Entry: The Salt Roads, by Nalo Hopkinson

I saw Nalo Hopkinson read from her next book last month at a Clarion West event. She was so magnetic that I immediately rushed back to the library and reserved all her books (no, I didn't buy them - why? Because I read 5 books a week, duh, if I bought them all I'd be poor.)

In The Salt Roads Hopkinson interweaves several storylines about black women connected by Ezili, the goddess of love, and the power of the sea road on which the Ginen were taken from Africa. The three women are Mer, a healer in Saint-Domingue; Jeanne Duval, a historical figure and the lover of Charles Baudelaire; and Meritet, who becomes St. Mary of Egypt.

These are richly told, heartwrenching portraits. Hopkinson is really skilled at evoking the historical era; the smells of the Mer's cane fields, Jeanne's powder and makeup, and Meritet's dusty Roman roads.

Hopkinson's vivid writing makes up for the lack of resolution. Ultimately the three stories (and Ezili's story) didn't come together in a satisfactory way. I can't decide whether the loose structure is a strength or a weakness. I think, though, that it's enough. It's good as it is. Forcing it into the mold of a traditional story arc would have crippled it.

Adjectives I will apply to this book: interesting, exciting, thought-provoking.

1 comment:

~Kathlyn said...

A very amusing site. ...I live/love to read as well.