The Salt Letters

The Salt Letters

Book - 2001
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Baker & Taylor
In 1854, Sarah abandons the comforts of England to seek an uncertain new life in the Australian wilderness, joining other young, unmarried women in the close confinement of steerage whose enforced proximity reveals the secrets of their lives and forces Sarah to reevaluate her dreams, goals, and future life. Original. A first novel.

Norton Pub
It is 1854, and with the certainty of land behind her, Sarah flees her home for the uncertainties of life in the new colony. In steerage, she joins the other unmarried women, where the horrors of their close confinement bring an unraveling of secrets no one can control. Sarah endures, longing for her mother's forgiveness and the sweetness of her cousin Richard's breath. As she draws closer to her new land, she becomes increasingly haunted by her own tale and the letter home she cannot write. Moving between the voyage in which pigs run through flooded living quarters to the hallucinatory visions induced by heat and doldrums, Christine Balint's astonishing debut novel brings us close to a time when the world was still a place to be discovered. Shortlisted for the Vogel Literary Award. "Dazzling.... A meticulous history and a beautifully crafted fiction.... Compelling reading."—Brisbane Courier Mail
The sensuous evocation of a young woman's sea journey from refined England to the wilds of Australia.

Blackwell North Amer
The Salt Letters sensuously evokes a young woman's flight from refined England to the wilds of Australia in 1854. In steerage, she joins the other unmarried women, where the horrors of their close confinement bring an unraveling of secrets no one can control. Sarah endures, longing for her mother's forgiveness and the sweetness of Richard's breath. As she draws closer to her new land, she becomes increasingly haunted by her own tale and the letter home she cannot write. Moving between the voyage in which pigs run through flooded living quarters to the hallucinatory visions induced by heat and doldrums, Christine Balint's wondrous debut novel brings us close to a time when the world was still a place to be discovered.

Baker
& Taylor

In 1854, Sarah abandons the comforts of England to seek a new life in Australia, joining other unmarried women in steerage where confinement reveals the secrets of their lives and forces Sarah to reevaluate her dreams and future.

Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton, 2001
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9780393321609
0393321606
Characteristics: 189 p. : map ; 21 cm

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oboechica88
Dec 05, 2013

I thought the prose was very fluid, very like an impressionist painting - the picture is vivid, but it's never ugly. It definitely mirrors the thematic references to water. Although I loved the way the words connected - more often than not, the thoughts do not connect nearly as well. The book is full of water metaphors - but there are so many of them and there are so many insinuations that it becomes very unclear about what is actually going on, what she is remembering, and what she is imagining. I loved the prose, but I feel like the rest of the story was sacrificed for it. I like fluidity in my prose, but not in differentiating between memory and present, reality and imagination. I would not feel inclined to recommend this novel, but I do not regret reading it. Despite my confusion towards the plot, the writing was exquisite. And I know this makes me a hypocrite since I always say plot above all things...but I am such a sucker for beautiful prose. If you liked this book, then you might like The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell For a full review, head to my blog at OboeChica Books (so long and thanks for all the fish).

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