Of Women and Salt made me want to learn more about Cuba and of the history, culture and lives of her women and girls. There are so many incredible scenes in this novel - of a 19th century cigar factory where classic lit is read to pass each monotonous hot day, of a child returning from school to an empty house after an immigration raid, of a wife who watches the jungle hills, hoping against the return of a spouse, of mothers and daughters narrating their existence in time - from Mexico, Miami and Cuba. Their gorgeous voices narrate a distinctly female perspective on survival, compassion, loss and endurance and the highly complex relationships between mothers and daughters. I eagerly await Garcia's next book.— Nancy Scheemaker
“Gabriela Garcia has delivered a gripping novel that moves between modern-day Miami and revolutionary and post-revolution Cuba to tell the stories of four generations of women whose past traumas continue to play out in current times. It’s a story of strength, immigration, and the unbreakable bonds between mothers and daughters. Of Women and Salt took my breath away on multiple occasions and continues to take hold of my thoughts.”
— Pat Rudebusch, Orinda Books, Orinda, CA
Gabriela Garcia's Of Women and Salt is 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.
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, 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.