The Salt RoadseBook - 2003
In 1804, shortly before the Caribbean island of Saint Domingue is renamed Haiti, a group of women gather to bury a stillborn baby. Led by a lesbian healer and midwife named Mer, the women’s lamentations inadvertently release the dead infant’s “unused vitality” to draw Ezili—the Afro-Caribbean goddess of sexual desire and love—into the physical world.
As Ezili explores her newfound powers, she travels across time and space to inhabit the midwife’s body—as well as those of Jeanne, a mixed-race dancer and the mistress of Charles Baudelaire living in 1880s Paris, and Meritet, an enslaved Greek-Nubian prostitute in ancient Alexandria.
Bound together by Ezili and “the salt road” of their sweat, blood, and tears, the three women struggle against a hostile world, unaware of the goddess’s presence in their lives. Despite her magic, Mer suffers as a slave on a sugar plantation until Ezili plants the seeds of uprising in her mind. Jeanne slowly succumbs to the ravages of age and syphilis when her lover is unable to escape his mother’s control. And Meritet, inspired by Ezili, flees her enslavement and makes a pilgrimage to Egypt, where she becomes known as Saint Mary.
With unapologetically sensual prose, Nalo Hopkinson, the Nebula Award–winning author of Midnight Robber, explores slavery through the lives of three historical women touched by a goddess in this “electrifying bravura performance by one of our most important writers” (Junot Díaz).
From Library Staff
Riding the line between historical fiction and science fiction, a great African goddess intervenes in the lives of three women across time and space to improve their situations.
Utilizing West African/Caribbean mythology, The Salt Roads intertwines the lives of three black women across the millennia. The three women live completely different lives (sex worker, slave, woman in Ancient Egypt), but the goddess Elizi connects them all with the hope of changing lives for the ... Read More »
IndyPL_AhliahB Feb 07, 2019
Hopkinson's writing style is lyrical, expressive, and impeccably detailed. Throughout the novel, I felt as though I was living the characters' experiences. I was impressed at the seamless and non-token nature of the LGBTQ+ inclusion within the book. The use of a goddess to weave together the many... Read More »