The Taste of Salt

The Taste of Salt

Book - 2011
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"Josie Henderson is most at home in and around water, and as a senior-level black female scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, she is practically alone in her field. But in building this impressive life for herself, she has tried to shed the one thing she cannot: her family roots back in Cleveland. When Tick, her brother and childhood ally against their alcoholic father, arrives on her doorstep fresh from rehab and teetering on the edge of a relapse, Josie must finally face her family's past--and her own patterns of addiction."--P. [4] of cover.
Publisher: Chapel Hill, NC : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2011.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9781565129252
1565129253
Branch Call Number: FICTION Southgat Martha 09/2011
Characteristics: 281 p. ;,21 cm.

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voisjoe1 Jun 05, 2014

It is late 20th century Cleveland and Josie Henderson and her brother Tick are young African-Americans growing up with their parents. Josie eventually leaves Cleveland as the only Black scientist in an organization studying the ocean and ocean life. The novel deals with two fragmenting marriages, including some secret infidelities and some alcoholic and drug addiction that place pressures on the marriages and the relationships between the two siblings. Racial isolation of the one Black professional in an otherwise all White organization is a minor topic, as the novel focuses on the pressures of alcohol, drugs, and infidelity on the family members.

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Michael Colford Aug 27, 2013

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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