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The Salt Eaters Paperback – June 30, 1992


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (June 30, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679740767
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679740766
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Set in Claybourne, a small town somewhere in the South, THE SALT EATERS is the story of a community of black faith healers who, searching for the healing properties of salt, witness an event that will change their lives forever.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By epiphany7 on February 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
"The Salt Eaters" by Toni Cade Bambara is definitely not a book for those who are faint at heart. This book is filled with unexpected twists and seemingly extraneous information, and may seem quite confusing at times. There were times when I contemplated not finishing the book, thinking that I was too lost in the thick of the plot to truely garner any meaning. I later realized that the beauty of this classic comes at the end, upon the realization that you were never lost - it was the characters who were lost, they were just bringing you along for the ride. It is much like an excursion through a dense jungle, filled with possible pitfalls and dangerous twists and turns that leads one to emerge upon a beautiful beach, just in time for the sunset.
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.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
You need to be aquipped to enter the world of Toni Cade Bambara. I discovered Bambara because her name was often associated with that of Toni Morrison.Bambara is a strong writer, with strong convinctions, and with a militant kind of writing. What she teaches us in this novel is that everything is organized in a network, that everything goes together. More importantly perhaps, she teaches us that freedom is a matter of choice and that it always carries reponsibilities: do you want to be free and what do you want to do with your freedom? This is the question that the novel underscores, the question to which the characters need to find an answer. You come out of "The salt Eaters" full with questions about your place in the universe and what you want in your life. Bambara does not merely depicts a world of victims, of brutalization, alienation and dehumanization. At the center of the novel is the message that you can do something to better the world you live in if only you choose to be well and take responsibility for what it entails. Bambara also makes clear that though everything's in a network, the individual still has the power to take action that may change not only himself and his community but the world at large. For sure, we may question this somewhat idealistic and utopian vision, but is literature anything else but a big utopia?
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.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is best read straight through in one or two sittings. The main action of the story, Velma Henry's healing, takes place in a matter of minutes but requires the entire book to extend through the minds past, present, and future of multiple characters--onlookers and passersby. Each scene requires subsequent scenes to unpack, unfold, and explain it. Toni Cade Bambara has ensured that the attentive reader will be richly rewarded for waiting and wondering. Even the smallest details--a baby bird fallen from its nest--are presented so luminously that when they are revisited pages later they are instantly recognizable. These continual moments of recognition knit together a novel that otherwise might stretch to bursting the limits of time, place, character, and spirit.
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?
-K. Beachy
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bertha O'Neal on February 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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 complexities of life in general. It especially draws you into the complex lives of African-Americans in the USA who are struggling for social justice as they struggle to survive and/or improve their personal lives and struggle with partnerships with significant others, friends, family, co-workers. This book is quite thought provoking and inspires self-reflection.

That being said Salt Eaters has not been an easy read. There are many complex characters who all have relationships and interactions with many other complex characters. This sometimes requires one to have to go back and reread sections of the book to understand the "weave."
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