Of Women and Salt

A sweeping, masterful debut about a daughter’s fateful choice, a mother motivated by her own past, and a family legacy that begins in Cuba before either of them were born.

1866, Cuba: María Isabel is the only woman working at a cigar factory, where each day the workers are read Victor Hugo and encouraged to recognize their value and strength. But these are dangerous political times, and as María begins to see marriage and motherhood as her only options for survival, the sounds of war are approaching.

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 neighbour detained by immigration officers. 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 follows Latina women of fierce pride and longing, all irrevocably linked by the inheritance of trauma, and the stories passed between them. It is a haunting meditation on the choices of mothers and the tenacity of women who choose to tell their stories despite those who wish to silence them.


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