The Salt Road - Jane Johnson

This was a good read even though it took me a long time to get through it. The story was interesting enough but I found myself drifting off to sleep in the middle of chapters. I'm not sure what that means. It was relaxing to read as opposed to a story about cannibalistic, body dismembering, murderers? Maybe.

The Salt Road tells the story of two women and intertwines them throughout the story ably jumping back and forth from present day to the past but not in a way that left me feeling tired. One is Izzy, a modern woman with modern priorities - single, career, goals - and the other is Mariata, a woman from the past who is a member of a proud and noble tribe of nomads living The Sahara.

The two objects that bind them together is The Sahara itself, one of the main characters in this novel, and an amulet left to Izzy by her father, an archaeologist. The different perspectives of the two women was a fascinating contrast with the pragmatic Issy's viewpoint being one I related to. Mariata's perspective was the point of view of a woman from the past living in Morocco whose life choices were not hers to make and whose actions and beliefs are rooted in tribal religion and superstitions. 

This is a historical novel based in Morocco and so there is a lot of information about people and places that sound like they were named by Klingons and I admit I did a lot of skimming when it came to those names. Although Moroccan history, exotically plump with camels, sand, oasis, and veils, isn't something in which I would have knowingly immersed myself however I find myself encouraged to read a little more about it and the political struggles of its people.

In the end I would recommend this story. It's a slow, dry read much like a caravan crossing the desert but with enough colour to make the trip interesting. I found myself wondering if, when and/or how the two woman and their lives would cross and became impatient to find out. They do meet in the end and the twist surrounding their meeting was almost, but not completely, unexpected.


Tonya said...

Damn, I was on board to read this until the final paragraph. I love stories about strong women and their friendships.

Tonya said...

My mouth looked just like that before 25 years of smoking. I used to have great lips. *sigh*

Anonymous said...

Do you read Canadian Authors? Margaret Atwood or Robertson Davies ( my two favs btw )?


Anonymous said...

OMG - Flash Forward - Robert Sawyer. I will mail you my copy if you have not already read it.


Frimmy said...

Yes, I read Canadian authors! Life of Pi is one of my all time favourite books. I've read a few Margaret Atwood's. I love the Flavia De Luce series by Alan Bradley and am always impatient for the next book. I've read "An Irish Country Doctor" by Patrick Taylor, it was decent.

I haven't heard of Flash Forward, but I'm always on the look out for my next good read so I'll check it out along with any more suggestions you might have.

Tonya what did I say in the last paragraph that discouraged you from reading it? The fact that the two women don't meet until the end? There are other friendships between strong women throughout the story.

Tonya said...

"Slow, dry read." The ADD demands to be fed constant entertainment.


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