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The Salt God's Daughter Hardcover – September 4, 2012
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"When a blue moon rises, mistakes can be undone, lost children can find their homes, and sea lions can shed their skins. The selkie myth lies at the heart of Ruby's (The Language of Trees, 2010) second novel.... This is a bewitching tale of lives entangled in lushly layered fables of the moon and sea."--Kirkus Reviews
"Certainly other readers have had this experience: you discover a book that is thrilling in its truth about the world, a book that captures your imagination so completely that you actually feel scared by the thought you might have never held this book in your hands... The Salt God's Daughter is that kind of book."-S. Berlain, The Rumpus
a lyrical, luxuriantly mystical meditation on being female. The Salt God's Daughter is astonishing and unusual because selkies--mythical shape-shifting creatures who are human beings on land and seals in the water--are part of the story. In the otherworldly universe Ruby creates, the existence of selkies do not detract from the authenticity of the characters. Quite the opposite: the myth sharpens the characters' humanity Ruby's novel comes as close as possible to achieving a deep understanding of the possibilities of being female.” Leora Tanebaum, The Huffington Post
"Ruby’s second novel (after The Language of Trees) imbues the complex relationships between mothers and daughters with legends and feminist mysticism . . . Ruby’s writing is elegant and insightful...” Publishers Weekly
"The book beautifully evokes scenes of two girls adrift in the late 70s and early 80s bohemian beach culture...the result is a breathtaking, fiercely feminine take on American magical realism. Ruby spins sweeping mythologies without straying far from the story of a young woman just trying to survive." Interview Magazine
"Lushly woven with elements of folklore, Ruby’s novel is a captivating inquiry into the generational, wayward bonds of mothers and daughters."Booklist
This is a bewitching tale of lives entangled in lushly layered fables of the moon and sea.” Kirkus Reviews
The characters and the setting hunger for each other the ocean is everywhere, its saltiness fills the pages, lingers on the characters Lovely in its complexity, Ruby has written in many layers. Yes, her book is mystical and fanciful, but at the same time it is intensely raw, and often unsettling.” Bookslut
Certainly other readers have had this experience: you discover a book that is thrilling in its truth about the world, a book that captures your imagination so completely that you actually feel scared by the thought you might have never held this book in your hands; that you might have missed it completely. Ilie Ruby’s The Salt God’s Daughter is that kind of book.” Stacy Bierlein, The Rumpus
Three generations of indelibly original women wrestle with the confines of their lives against a shimmering backdrop of magic, folklore, and deep-buried secrets. About the bonds of sisters, mothers, and daughters, and the refusal to accept limits, this is a story as heartbreaking, gritty, magical, and real as a waking dream, with a sense of place so immediate, you can feel the ocean’s salt spray. To say I loved this book is an understatement.” Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You
Open The Salt God's Daughter and it is as if you are walking through a door, where things are at once utterly recognizable and utterly mysterious, like life, and like an ancient fairy tale, or a myth from a lost continent, another time and place. Ilie Ruby offers up a story that is both exquisitely fantastical at the same time that it maintains the feel of unblinking realism. This one's a story in which to lose one's self in the best possible way.” Joyce Maynard
Magical and gripping, The Salt God's Daughter captivated me from the very first sentence and has stayed with me long after I finished reading. A lyrical exploration of the timeless search for belonging and the complicated bonds between mothers, daughters and sisters, I devoured the novel in one sitting and then immediately ordered copies for my own mother and sister." Jillian Cantor, author of The Transformation of Things
Propulsive, mythic, and rhythmically mastered....a singular, knock-out work of fiction about love and the evolution of identity." James Ragan
"What a rare pleasure this novel is, a kind of embarrassment of riches, Ilie Ruby has given us a work glowing with the emotive illuminations of two sisters, caught in exile, in homelessness, in a parentless subculture which they both survive by the pure transcendent powers of their personal fantasy-life and myth. The bond of sisterhood prevails. I cannot recommend this passionate look at family and society and outcast-ness enough. To be a part of their journey is to look at our own travels through deprivation, rejection, poverty and find their quiet ultimate triumph, to feel their fulfillment, as if it were our own. I look forward to what this talented writer offers us next!" Leora Skolkin-Smith author of Hysteria
"Ruby's book is an eloquent unfolding of language brilliantly crafted. The Salt God's Daughter is beautiful writing of life, love, relationships between mother and daughter, families of one's own making, and the push/pull of the moon on the course of relationships. Lovely!"-Katherine Pinard, McIntyre's Books
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Top Customer Reviews
Ilie Ruby's second novel - The Salt's God Daughter - (the first one was called 'The Languages of Trees) is stunning in its creativity!
Too often we pick up a book whose scenario is so predictable we anticipate its development after the first or second chapter. In this instance be prepared for the unexpected for this author's perception of society reveals our most inner thoughts.
Inspired partly by the Selkie lore the story transcends over three generations of women, each different yet each of them an extension of the other.
Beautifully written, poetically articulate and refreshing in its uniqueness you might wonder why you never heard of this author before.
Here is an excerpt to help you see what I mean:
'I recalled how my eyes had followed the swan like neck of a ballerina, the pink blossoms on her flushed cheeks, the rest of her captured in strumming white-gold strokes. below, a rectangle of light on the hardwood floor, and the barre, touched with gold, too. The ballerina's lip would part slightly, her fingers caught in that space. I'd examined a certain dark lavender hue, deciding that a flat brush had been used. I defined form in terms of instruments used to create it. As I paged through books, I hunted for patterns and repetitions, just as I did with my mother's almanacs. A blue lavender hue might trail above a fire near a hearth, and also make up the iron tub where a different woman hitched her foot and unrolled her stockings before she stepped into her bath.'
Ilie Ruby's novel is certain to capture your imagination with her descriptions of Diana, Ruthie and Naida, the past, the present and the future.Read more ›
Ruthie and her older sister, Dolly, are the daughters of Diana, a woman of the mystical 1960s who consults full moon cycles in The Old Farmer's Almanac as she roams California coastal highways with her physically homeless children in Big Ugly. Diana struggles to find a lost love and assemble a "normal" life for her family as they journey on complex roads of life, finally landing at Dr. Brownstein's beach hotel. When young Diana dies, the two sisters of Jewish heritage fiercely cling protectively to one another, transitioning into womanhood, first at the Bethesda Home for Girls and then back at Dr. B's Wild Acres, where Ruthie becomes its caretaker and caregiver of aging residents. She falls in love with Graham, who, like her father, only appears during full moons and, after the birth of their daughter, Naida, mysteriously disappears. Naida has a webbed foot, an uncannily attraction to the ocean, an ability to commune with three "sister" sea lions", and a desperate desire to find out where--and what--her father really is.
Ruby deftly entwines Jewish-American tradition and culture with Celtic mythology, transcending what could have been a humdrum, feminist romance into a complex, mystically moving, spiritually uplifting novel. The Scotch/Irish legend of sea lions shedding skins each full moon to become human is integral to the plot set on California's coast. Are Ruthie's father and Graham such creatures?Read more ›
The Salt God's Daughter is also about mother/daughter relationships. As a daughter I know how conflicted and complex these relationships are. Ruby weaves a tale of mothers and daughters and their bonds. Rich in imagery of the sea and of the moon, The Salt God's Daughter is a great follow-up to Ruby's first novel, The Language of Trees: A Novel. Ruby has a talent for threading disparate parts of story into a coherent whole and I am glad to say that her sophomore effort is just as wise and wonderful as her first. Highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this book through the first parts but it ran out of steam about 2/3rds of the way through. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Anne M. Tennison
I loved this book. Very different than most books and very special. The moons and the tides were very much a part of this story of three generations of women living on the beach on... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Sarah
The Salt God's Daughter is a beautifully written novel about mothers, daughters and sisters and the bonds that tie them together. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Naida M.
It took me quite awhile to finish this book because I didn't want to end reading it. The words are so beautiful that I just wanted to savor every one and cherish them. Read morePublished on November 14, 2013 by Jennifer Doorenbos
The Salt God's Daughter is an amazingly beautiful and deeply moving story that immerses the reader into a magical, mythical world of women. Read morePublished on October 31, 2013 by Stephany Manning
This story, this book, these characters... The entire concept grabbed me from the first page. The story has it all--spirituality, folklore, love, family, hopes and... Read morePublished on October 29, 2013 by MontanaReader
“She bent the rules of the universe,” says one of the sisters in Ilie Ruby’s lilting tale, the Salt God’s Daughter. So does Ruby the novelist. Read morePublished on October 26, 2013 by Diane R. Hanover
Yes, full of poetry and prose--way too much poetry and prose...and bougainvillea, over and over and over again, bougainvillea, bougainvillea, bougainvillea. Read morePublished on October 19, 2013 by Isabeau
The Salt God's Daughter spans three generations, Diana (Ruthie's mother), Ruthie and Naida (Ruthie's daughter. Read morePublished on October 8, 2013 by Wendy L. Hines