The Salt Roads

Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
Length: 13 hrs and 14 mins
4 out of 5 stars (248 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2003 Nalo Hopkinson (P)2018 Tantor
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    3 out of 5 stars
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Salt Roads

I was disappointed in this story. The narration was excellent. I love this particular narrator's beautiful voice and inflections, outstanding! But the story itself was difficult to follow and left me wondering what she was really trying to say. I often struggled to get through, and then I'd think okay I got it....but not really.

48 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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such an incredible book

A must-read book with afro-futurist, historical and magical realist themes. If you enjoy this book, you will also enjoy her book The Midnight Robber Queen.

27 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Another brilliant Nalo book

Nalo's poetic journeys are unmatched. I loved each character; they were nuanced, difficult, understandable and had their own brand of beauty. This particular journey is irreverent - it is boldly sexual, emotional, and desiring. It mixes personal aspiration with the political aspirations that have transcended time as we know it. Fittingly, Nalo bypasses linearity and forges connections through other, more elemental aspects: salt, water and wanting. The performance was great. The story was the right kind of difficult. The climax was godly (in more ways than one). It leaves me hoping for a new Nalo novel soon...

12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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This book takes the reader/listener on a ride

This book really allows the reader/listener to understand what the mind of a person in bondage goes through. The narrator really brought the pages to life! I am a new fan of Nalo Hopkinson because of this work. It gave me a satisfaction I have not had in a long time.

11 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Difficult to convey

I selected the book because I needed to expand beyond my usual reads.

It took me until around chapter 63 to really "get" where the story path was headed and I'm glad I stuck with it.

The characters are beautifully written and performed.

22 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Strong Female Characters

I loved the characters and separate storylines but thought it was too much and too long for one book. Would have been stronger if it was three different novels.

11 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Too Strange

As much as I love just about everything Bahni Turpin reads, this story was just too strange for me to follow. I really wanted to
understand the strange story unfolding, it was just too difficult to really enjoy. Sorry Ms Turpin, you lost me on this one.

16 people found this helpful

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How to make a sex scene boring

I was so interested in finding out where this story was going. I was willing to put up with the confusing timeline and the way the narrative bounces randomly between characters making it hard to follow (presumably this is way less of a problem in text), but this book is so long. I was fine with the incredibly graphic sex scenes at the beginning of the book because I felt like the author was trying to make a point that sex between women is real and gross and not some fetishized fantasy, but the sex scenes just go on and on and on and on. Constantly dragging the story to a complete and utter halt to describe some graphic slimy sex act. It's not shocking, it's boring. I'm on chapter 36 and everything has stopped so that the main character can experience a lengthy (over 10 minutes of run time) fingerblast with her never before mentioned brother because, I can only presume, the author realized the shock of all the previous sex would have worn off by now and thought incest would make things interesting again. It doesn't! I want to know what's going to happen to the goddess in the main character's head! I want to hear about the slave rebellion! I can't do it any more. This book could have been half as long without the utterly meaningless sex scenes.

2 people found this helpful

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Quite a great read

This was a great read, I couldn’t even think of any dislikes about it after I finished. For being fiction the theological aspects were well researched. 2 thumbs up

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Frustrating but enjoyable

I enjoyed Bahni Turpin's narration and the story but the book was hard to get into. It took listening well into the book for me to fully understand what was going on. The fantasy aspect could have been explored more. I appreciated the historical fiction aspect to the story the most.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-18-19

Brown herstory

I admit that while amazing written and beautifully narrated I almost stopped listening because salt roads is in parts so heart breaking. I am so glad I continued. Hopkinson weaves so many stories together with a touch a mysticism and a lot of courage. She does not shy away from hard topics and successfully creates authentic characters based on historical events.