The Taste of SalteBook - 2011
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Martha Southgate's The Taste of Salt, is a hard-hitting yet subtle examination of Josie's inability to fully connect with those that love her. The sole black person working in a research institute in Woods Hole, MA, Josie is a talented marine biologist. She is married to Daniel, a colleague who is devoted to her. She is happiest when she is diving, surrounded by the ocean, a protective bubble that embraces her and cocoons her from the harsh realities of her past. Raised in Detroit by a long-suffering mother and an alcoholic father, Josie's closest compatriot growing up was her brother Tick. When Tick found the bottle, as well as other, harsher addictions, Josie withdrew emotionally from her entire family and devoted her focus to her education and her career. As an adult, she rarely mentions her family, not even to her husband, this despite the fact that her father has successfully attained sobriety, and her brother is just getting out of rehab (for the second time). But Josie has an addiction of her own, and it's one that takes her by surprise and threatens to destroy her emotionally detached and sheltered life.
The Taste of Salt is compelling reading, about race, shame, family ties and bad choices. This one's not going to make you feel good, but the novel does end on a hopeful note, as Josie takes a tentative step toward connection.
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