Praise for Of Women and Salt
Roxane Gay's June Audacious Book Club Pick
A Most Anticipated Book (Amazon, Books Are Magic, Bustle, Bookish, Buzzfeed, Electric Literature, Enterntainment Weekly, Goodreads, Harper's Bazaar, O Magazine, Lit Hub, Refinery29, St. Louis Magazine, Vogue India, Write or Die Tribe, Palm Beach Daily, The Nerd Daily)
“Gabriela Garcia captures the lives of Cuban women in a world to which they refuse to surrender and she does so with precision and generosity and beauty.” - Roxane Gay, bestselling author of Hunger and Bad Feminist
"Of Women of Salt is a fierce and powerful debut. Garcia wields narrative power, cultivating true and profound work on migration, legacy, and survival." - Terese Marie Mailhot, bestselling author of Heart Berries
"Garcia’s vivid details, visceral prose and strong willful women negotiating how to survive in this world are easy to fall for." - Angie Cruz, author of Dominicana
"From the perspectives of several generations of Cuban women, this remarkable debut shines a brilliant light on the broken immigration system and legacy of trauma for the people who endure it." - Ms.
"When Jeanette agrees to take in the daughter of a neighbor detained by ICE, she is suddenly forced to reckon with her complicated ties to her motherherself an immigrantand her grandmother who still lives in Cuba. Following three generations of Cuban women from Mexico to Miami, Gabriela Garcia’s debut novel promises to be a sweeping tour de force about addiction, displacement, and the legacy of trauma." - Harper's Bazaar
"I love a sweeping, ambitious debut, and this novel about a woman’s family, with examinations of contemporary immigration and trauma and motherhood, sounds just incredible." – Emma Straub, Books Are Magic
"This gripping, accomplished debut follows generations of Cuban women, from María Isabel, rolling cigars as she listens to the words of Victor Hugo and men die around her, to Jeanette, struggling with addiction in Miami, and trying to find a place in the world that feels real. An interlocking portrait of women striving, loving, losing, getting lost and getting found." - Lit Hub
"The debut that's had publishing buzzing all winter long meditates on the way immigration shapes the lives of Latinx women." - Entertainment Weekly
"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." -The Nerd Daily
"Gabriela Garcia, a prolific poet and fiction writer, delivers her highly anticipated debut novel, centered on three generations of Cuban and Cuban American women. Jeanette, determined to understand her family history but unable to get her mother (who’s still processing the emotional effects of her displacement from Cuba) to tell her about it, travels to Cuba to visit her grandmother, but this decision brings uncomfortable secrets and betrayals to light." - Arianna Rebolini for Buzzfeed News
"Another book I’ve anticipated for a while, Of Women and Salt is a debut novel about the daughter of a Cuban immigrant, Jeanette, who takes in the daughter of a neighbor detained by ICE. Garcia has worked as an organizer in migrant rights movements, and Terese Marie Mailhot says Garcia’s novel is a “true and profound work on migration, legacy, and survival.” - R.O. Kwon for Electric Literature
"Gabriela Garcia has delivered a gripping novel that moves between modern-day Miami, 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 Stars took my breath away on multiple occasions and continues to take hold of my thoughts." - Orinda Bookstore
"I just wanted to let you know that I finished OF WOMEN AND SALT last night, and it was so good. Really impressiveI loved the structure, the story, the writing, the characters. All of it. It was one of those books that I couldn't wait to get back to every evening." - Tattered Cover
"Stephanie Skees, a bookseller at The Novel Neighbor, selects Gabriela Garcia’s début novel, Of Women and Salt, coming out in April. Skees describes the book as exploring 'one family’s matriarchal choices and the legacy they create. It’s a sweeping tale ranging from the 19th-century cigar factories to present-day detention centers that will leave the reader haunted.'" - St. Louis Magazine
"Starting in Miami, Jeanette takes in a neighbor’s daughter after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detains her parents. As she tries to repair her relationship with her own mother and learn more about her family’s history, she decides to travel to Cuba to seek answers from her grandmother. Following five generations and taking place in several countries, Of Women and Salt examines the relationships between mothers and daughters." - Refinery29
"Gabriela Garcia’s debut novel has been raking hype ever since it was announced, and for all good reasons. Through five generations of women, Garcia takes us from 19th century cigar factories in Cuba to Mexico to present day ICE detention centres in America in this ambitious debut." - Vogue India
DEBUT Garcia's debut novel tells two parallel stories of Latinx immigrant families. While the stories intersect near the beginning and end of the book, the women's experiences are as distinct as the cultures from which they come. At the story's center is Jeanette, whose mother, Carmen, emigrated from Cuba, cutting off all ties with her family. The family is impacted by multigenerational trauma caused by war, revolution, and abuse, and Jeanette struggles with drug addiction. When her neighbor, Gloria, an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador, is detained by ICE, Jeanette briefly takes in her daughter, Ana, who is inadvertently left behind. In nonsequential chapters, we follow the struggles of Jeanette and her family, as well as Gloria and Ana's harrowing experiences with the current U.S. immigration policies. VERDICT While the nonlinear structure of the narrative sometimes makes the story feel disjointed, Garcia has carefully layered the novel so that each chapter delivers revelations about the motivations and psychological burdens of the characters that add to understanding on the part of the reader (though not necessarily the characters, who are not always party to the secrets of their mothers or grandmothers). A relevant and timely work delivered with empathy.—Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, Univ. of Minnesota Libs., Minneapolis
An affluent Cuban immigrant reckons with her daughter’s drug addiction and her own culpability in their self-destructive choices.
As the book opens, it's 2018, and Carmen is writing in anguish to her daughter, Jeannette, begging her to find the will to live. Then we're immediately swept away to Camagüey, Cuba, in 1866, right before the first Cuban war for independence from Spain, where we meet one of the women's ancestors. María Isabel works at a cigar factory, and, as the war blooms bright and bloody, she's pursued by the factory’s lector, who reads newspapers and Victor Hugo novels to the workers as they roll cigars. If the novel had continued to offer rich scenes like these, it would have been a success, but from this point on, it feels haphazardly stitched together. We meet Jeannette in 2014, and then Carmen's and Jeanette’s voices alternate erratically through different time periods, with little resonance between them—both strands of the narrative center the useless or even abusive men who litter the lives of all the family’s women. Then, as if grafted onto the story, Garcia adds intermittent sections from the points of view of a woman named Gloria and her daughter, Ana, undocumented immigrants from El Salvador. Gloria is picked up by ICE agents while Ana is at a babysitter's house, and when the girl gets dropped off, Jeanette takes her in for a few nights before Carmen convinces her to call the police—a decision that will come to haunt Carmen. Even with snatches of gorgeously compelling prose, the book can't overcome the lack of relationship development among the women of the family in both Miami and Cuba.
A Cuban family grapples with violence and addiction, but their relationships lack depth.