Review by Shellie for The Salt God’s Daughter ~ by Ilie Ruby
A lyrical, “stream of consciousness” styled novel about three generations of strong and independent women and their relationship to the sea and a “salt-god”.
About: This story is set in the coastal areas of Southern California, where it catalogs the lives, difficulties and connections to the ocean of three generations of women. Starting in the 1970’s - two young sisters struggle with their mother, her addictions, and their homelessness and its dysfunction. Later Ruthie, one sister, depicts her coming of age and tells of falling in love and the subsequent birth of her child – Naida. Then Naida tells her tale.
Ilie Ruby includes Jewish mysticism, Celtic folklore, environmental themes, women’s issues, and more into this complex and emotional story. It’s women’s fiction that has some mythical aspects and can be viewed as slightly “paranormal” in nature.
Thoughts: Ilie Ruby has an unusual style of writing that is mostly linear yet meanders back and forth in time in a sort of “stream of consciousness” writing style - the reader is taken into the thought processes of the characters as they move through their lives, resulting in a complex mix of happenings, memories and emotions. It’s definitely a literary styled book, definitely women’s fiction, and is character driven. This may not suit some readers, however, others are going to adore it.
I enjoyed this book and plowed through it fairly quickly, mostly because it reminded me that as women, all of us will experience the difficulties exemplified in the book’s pages. Ruby addresses issues of single motherhood, addiction, homelessness, rape, bullying and more. Issues that we are familiar with and have experienced directly or through our children, sisters, friends, or mothers. Sadly they are life events that we cannot deny but wish to ignore. Kudos to the author in addressing them in this second novel.
Feeling for the difficulties of the characters and the natural progression of their lives, loves, and failings, I recommend it for readers who enjoy character-driven stories, literary styled writing, women’s fiction (including feminist issues) and readers who like a touch of the mystical or folklore in their books. I give The Salt God’s Daughter 4 stars. It’s a lovely and heartfelt read.
Soft Skull Press, Inc. 9/4/2012 352 pages.
More about Ilie Ruby and her books can be found at her website: http://www.ilieruby.com/
And on one issue she focuses upon in The Salt God’s Daughter see Ilie Ruby’s article at Shape.com “The Sad Truth About Bullying”.
Happy first day of November!