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, Gabriela Garcia's 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.
Gabriela Garcia is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award and a Steinbeck Fellowship from San Jose State University. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Best American Poetry, Tin House, Zyzzyva, Iowa Review, and elsewhere. She received an MFA in fiction from Purdue and lives in the Bay Area. Of Women and Salt is her first novel.
"At once a multigenerational saga about Cuban women learning to survive after losing everything and a brutally honest look at the immigration system in the United States through the eyes of a Salvadoran mother and daughter deported to Mexico after building a life in Miami, this novel captures the beauty of refusing to surrender." - The Boston Globe
"Fans of multigenerational stories, family sagas, and own voices narratives are sure to be excited about Gabriela Garcia’s debut novel. Following a series of mothers and daughters across five generations through Cuba, Mexico, Texas, and Miami, Of Women and Salt depicts the stories, struggles, and strengths of a collection of Latinx women both within and beyond their families." - The Nerd Daily
"... beautifully evocative." - The New York Times Book Review
"Debut author Gabriela Garcia makes her intentions clear from the first page." - The Washington Post
"... has the feel of a sweeping family saga that’s hard to reconcile with its slender profile." - The San Francisco Chronicle
"In Of Women and Salt, the debut novel from Gabriela Garcia, the daughter of immigrants from Cuba and Mexico, any preconceived notions of migrant women are thrown out the window. Garcia shows a flawed cast of characters that spans decades and settings in a world where their lives are rich and complex — and wholly and simply human." - The Seattle Times
"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." - Library Journal
"Garcia turns her MFA thesis for Purdue University [...] into her widely buzzed first novel. Presented in 12 chapters that read more like interlinked stories, Garcia channels her Miami-based Cuban-Mexican American heritage into five generations of a Cuban American matriarchy." - Booklist
"Garcia’s dexterous debut chronicles the travails of a Cuban immigrant family." - Publishers Weekly