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The Salt Eaters Paperback – June 30, 1992
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Top Customer Reviews
The possible confusion that one might encounter on a first read through this book is due in part to the fact that it is largely written in the style of an epic poem, rather than in the "traditional" form of a novel. Many of the books subtleties and gems can be discovered upon subsequent readings of the book. As this is my first book by Bambara, I am somewhat unfamiliar with Bambara's usual style - if it can be said that she has one at all - but my experiences with "The Salt Eaters" draws me to dig deeper into her repertoire and learn to appreciate her mastery for her craft.
Some readers may be beffudled at Bambara syntax and vocabulary (and yes this is hard to decode), but once you get beyond that you're just disappointed that Bambara did not write many novels: you're in the presence of a great artist, that is someone that has a style, a vision, and a message.
This wise novel cares deeply about healing on political, environmental, and personal levels. Salt, the title image, serves as an antidote to poison but embitters a body; it runs through the neck of an hourglass as a moment in time becomes crucial.
In this moment in time, to drumbeats and the strains of popular music, we meet a group of healers, a spirit guide, a bus driver, the doctors at a free clinic, a paperboy, winos, sisters, lovers, all kinds of mothers, tourists, thugs, transvestites, elders, animals--all of them teach us something about the soul of one strong woman broken under the weight of her passion for justice.
Are there weapons stockpiled at the Academy? Is the nuclear power plant slowly killing its employees? What will happen tonight at the carnival? These questions pale beside the central question: Will yesterday's struggle yield fruit tomorrow? Is there hope?
With that said, this is the first book I ever read that as soon as I finished I immediately wanted to start over and experience it all over again. While the plot takes place over the course of 20 minutes, it takes the reader from this world to the next one through the eyes of many characters both spiritual and physical.
It centers around the spiritual healing of Velma Henry, who has attempted suicide. Through flashbacks to her earlier life, those of her fellow community member,s and conversations between spirits and people with tons of references to cosmology, mythology, and the Bible this story showcases the brokenness of the black community post-Civil Rights. Tiny threads of plot slowly weave themselves together under at the end you feel like you are completely entrenched in a whirlwind of magic and political frustration which ultimately culminates in Velma's spiritual transformation that brings together her fragmented community into a whole entity rooted in Afrocentric thought.
Not a book for everyone, and it's certainly hard to read without having the assistance of a classroom setting and academic criticism, but GOD DAMN was I moved.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
beautiful copy. arrived in a timely fashion. all as promised.Published 22 months ago by courtney reid-eaton
Profound and so excellently written. Bambara is on point with the internal workings of the human condition, especially when in turmoil and on the wavering edge of a discovery.Published on January 12, 2014 by Dusty Jozefiak
I am not quite finished reading Salt Eaters, which I am reading as a part of book club activity. So far, I think this book does a good job drawing the reader into the... Read morePublished on February 26, 2013 by Bertha O'Neal
I paid extra to have the item shipped in 2 days. The item was ordered Monday,October 8 at 9am and nearly $50 was added as a 2 day shipping fee. Read morePublished on October 9, 2012 by Gender
This is a book that I read a long time ago and I am revisiting it now that I am older and I am loving it and understanding it even more....enjoyed this read!!!Published on July 22, 2010 by Mizkaja
I can't believe that this book got that many stars or good reviews. I've been reading this book for two weeks and it usually doesn't take me that long just when i think I'm about... Read morePublished on April 2, 2007 by Jacque Cartwright