04 September 2012

The Salt God's Daughter by Ilie Ruby, Book review

Publisher: Soft Skull Press 
ISBN-13: 978-1619020023


The Salt God's Daughter by Ilie Ruby is the story of a loss of innocence as told by Ruthie and Naida, a mother and daughter who are forever changed by violence, by family mysteries, by towering acts of love. In an oceanic wilderness where identity is as changeable as the ocean, they face the rites of passage necessary to endure and find in themselves a strength and connection that survive the ages. Theirs is a story that brings to light the primal divinity of the isolated, the marginalized and of those bonded by blood and myth as seen through a lens of transcendent beauty. A stunning, raw, evolutionary tale about the ties that bind, and how far we'll go to save the ones we love.

FIRST...A word from the Author:

The stories of the women who populate THE SALT GOD'S DAUGHTER were inspired by the confluence of real life and Celtic myth, which I learned from a folksong my mother liked to play on the guitar, The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry. While the myth is the map, its many roads reflect the experiences of my grandmothers, of my mother, of my friends, and of four young girls I never knew but whose histories found me and begged to be written down and shared. 
My wish was to illuminate the female experience through generations--not only those times that are shrouded in shadows, but also those that are lovely and beautiful, and made indelible with light. At its heart this is a story about true love, sometimes found between mothers and daughters, in the secrets of sisters, and in the arms of the first person with whom you ever shared your heart. 
When all is said and done, this novel belongs to resolute sisters Ruthie and Dolly. Their journey of discovery and survival is at the center of this story. 

My thoughts:

I might never have reached for this novel on a display and I would have lost something!
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. 

Diana is the wanderer, a product of the troubled sixties, a struggling single mother who follows the Farmer's Almanac predictions, a traveler living day by day in 'Big Ugly', a green station wagon with her two daughters. The moons balances her life, around her neck you would see a St Augustine medal and a Star  of David. 

Ruth and her sister Dolly live a wild childhood caring for their drunken mother, dodging social services and surviving somehow all sorts of deprivation but always together.

Ruth or Ruthie is the daughter who after a tragic event finds purpose in life and reaches out to others finding a fulfillment as a caregiver for those whom society has no place for. 
Her one fear is the ocean...

Feeling rejected, unloved and yet full of hope, Ruthie meets mysterious Graham who seems to emerge from the ocean always carrying a wet suit only to disappear again and again. With him she learns to  love again.
Months later Ruthie gives birth to a daughter she names Naida, meaning 'Hope' in Russian. 

Naida is the child who is different...An excellent swimmer, the ocean and its creatures draws her powerfully...She lives in hope to meet one day her father...
Faced with prejudice Naida learns to be strong and discovers her place in this universe. 

Ultimately individuality is often a stigma as we well know!  

In this often emotional complex story you discover an inner depth of feelings you might never have thought you possess for Ilie Ruby holds your imagination with her recounting of people bound together by love and the many lives they touch as they travel along. 

And like the call of a siren, you find yourself listening to The Salt God's Daughter mesmerizing message...

5 Stars
Recommended for mature readers due to adult thematic contents.

Note: Publication date is today, 4 Septembre 2012!

About the Author:

Ilie Ruby is intriguing as her writing! Read more about her in this 'That Mag For Women' article (here) and discover a multi facet personality!
Also visit her website including her blog (here)

I received this book free from SPARKPOINT STUDIO as part of their blogger review program.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like another good book. Too many books to read and not enough time, Noelle. I bet the bookstores in heaven are glorious! I bet the edges of the pages are even real gold.


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