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As Meat Loves Salt (Harvest Original) Paperback – January 7, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Sound terrible? Well, it was, but in the best kind of way. I suffered through everything with Jacob Cullen, Maria McCann's fascinating narrator. Jacob is somewhat schizophrenic and completely obsessed with violence, but like most people he has his own (flawed) reasons for what he does. He doesn't hate himself, so in seeing everything from his perspective it becomes difficult to hate him for his actions. One also becomes aware of every possibility he has to improve himself and his life. Christopher Ferris, Jacob's lover, is the kind of person any man or woman could (and does) fall for, passionately. This makes it all the more horrifying to be trapped in Jacob's mind as he watches everything good in his life come to ruin. The ending, as gut-wrenching as it is, seems inevitable given that it's brought on by Jacob and Ferris both being true to who they are, for better or worse. There's no escape.
It's also worth noting that much could have gone wrong in the craft of this book, but didn't - quite the opposite. Not only is there the difficulty of narrating from Jacob's point of view (the mystery that is Jacob is dribbled out in the smallest hints, dreams or passing thoughts, never given too quickly), but also the story stretches from a manor house to London to the common fields, and it's all covered in compelling detail. The language, too, never falters in successfully blending 17th-century and modern.Read more ›
Maria McCann gives us fair warning when she begins her story with a brutal murder, yet romantic idealist that I am, I kept hope alive in my heart that Jacob Cullen would overcome his dark interior voices and that he and Christopher Ferris would mature into a mutually supportive male-male couple. I hoped this to the final bleak and heartbreaking pages.
We see the world narrated through the eyes of Jacob Cullen, who maintains control of his irrational violent impulses 99% of the time, however, when he is threatened or hurt, he becomes a terror, a Dark Angel. McCann carefully allows us to see deeper and deeper into the disturbed mind of Jacob. He rationlizes much of his hostility and violence and I didn't fully understand until I was 75% of the way through the book as to how dangerous Jacob really is. He suffers so much for his actions that I empathized with him until the final 2 chapters when he facilitated the destruction of Christopher Ferris' world. When a love affair ends, there are those who will go to extremes to re-ignite the flames of passion, and if this does not work, they will seek the total destruction of their past lover. Jacob Cullen is one of these folks.
I hoped that Jacob's paranoid schizophrenic violent nature would be "cured" by his love for Christopher Ferris, his lover.Read more ›
It is sad to read reviewers casually dismissing this book's narrator as unlikable. Jacob Cullen is twisted, but I find him darkly alluring. During the novel, he alternately reveals his intelligence, his resourcefulness, his idealism, his selfishness, his willingness to please, his paranoia, his shame, his sexual magnetism, and his capacity for cruelty. Still, he does not easily reduce to any of these. If he has one distinguishing characteristic, it is his brooding, passionate nature. Someone flippantly asked why anyone would want to read a novel about such an unpleasant man. The answer is that this sullen protagonist leads a richly textured emotional life, which McCann communicates with alarming power and precision. This book challenges the reader to feel the sprawling beauty and ugliness of Jacob and his world. As such, McCann's talent is a welcome tonic to our current era's numb complacency and tidy compartmentalization of affect.
This novel unsettles because life is unsettling. Love, desire, vulnerability and obsession fold in and out of each other, with violence limning the contours. McCann's novel somehow manages to capture this great big mess in all of its sadness and glory. Reading this novel made me feel my own life anew. I can think of no better praise.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This compelling book raises an interesting question for me as a writer and a reader: how does a truly repellent and unlikable narrator affect your enjoyment of the book? Read morePublished 21 days ago by Mary Pagones
I wasn't too impressed with this book or the author's writing style.Published 25 days ago by Michael Minton
Absorbing and intensely well written. Dark and beautifully tragic.Published 9 months ago by courtney
very well written, gay historical novel. 1600s, quite moving and well told and historical. loved itPublished 9 months ago by tonytag
Outstanding historical fiction. A thoroughly disagreeable protagonist you can't quit reading about. Complicated and brutal gay love in the time of Oliver Cromwell, the English... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Spencedogg
I knew nothing about this book when the title and cover called out to me from a crowded bookshelf. I bought this taking a leap of faith, and was rewarded with a dark, deeply... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Timothy Dolan
Read this book! Very finely written and crafted. I selfishly suggest it needs a sequel. Can't believe it's not been made into a film or mini-series. READ IT!!Published 11 months ago by casenji