I am beside myself with joy over sharing with you that I am contributing to book coverage for Oprah Magazine online, now the Oprah Daily. I wrote about the gorgeous Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia for the Oprah Daily launch today.
The novel opens in 2018 with Carmen lamenting her daughter Jeannette’s opioid addiction, desperately hoping she will get sober, survive. This is not the American dream Carmen had envisioned for her family when she migrated from Cuba to Miami. Carmen writes: Maybe if I had a way of seeing all the past, all the paths, maybe I’d have some answer as to why: Why did our lives turn out this way?
Readers are then whisked back to 1866 and introduced to Carmen’s great-grandmother, Maria Isabel, who was the only female employee in an all-male cigar factory in Camagüey, Cuba. Antonio, Carmen’s great-grandfather, enchanted Maria Isabel by reading aloud to her and other workers to help pass the time. He reads from novels by Alexander Dumas, from Shakespeare’s plays, from news stories—his aim to help distract them from their toil, and from the encroachment of guerrilla fighting in their town. Maria Isabel herself cannot read, but in listening to Antonio she wonders: “Can one learn to fall in love with a mind?”