❰BOOKS❯ ✭ The Salt Eaters Author Toni Cade Bambara – Uroturk.info

The Salt Eaters Velma Henry Has Always Been A Fighter, But She Has Fallen On Hard Times Exhausted By Her Political Struggles, She Is Undergoing Healing In The Southwest Community Infirmary Confronting Her There Is Minnie Ransom, Spinster And Fabled Vehicle Of The Spirit World This book was one of the first that extended its hand to me and said, see, you can map the real story on the page and that mix of experience and ideas It s true One of the pivotal writers for me who acknowledges and applies her talent to the complexity of consciousness, being a woman and telling a good story. When I was younger, my mother s bookshelf was my library It was home to many novels that are central to Black woman s literature I could grasp plots that featured grown up experiences, but much of the subtext and external references escaped me This didn t stop me from voraciously consuming everything I could get my hands on for I was too young to know the limits of my comprehension There was one novel, though, that even the obtuseness of youth failed to carry me through.There was not much of Toni Cade Bambara s impenetrable novel The Salt Eaters that I could comprehend After I graduated from my mother s bookshelf, I went to Spelman College, where I was assigned other books central to Black woman s literature The Salt Eaters was referenced in my classes, but never assigned Years later, Bambara s American Book Award winning work was selected for my book club I was threatened by the mere mention of it, but deep down, I relished the idea of grappling with this enigmatic and illusive narrative.When I started to read, I recognized the book s merits intriguing and engaging language colorful, humorous, and perceptive characterization a widely ranging fountain of references, which romp through Afrosyncretic religions, scientific concepts, Greek gods, activist culture, Southern life, and , leaving no stone unturned But within twenty pages, I was reacquainted with The Salt Eaters challenges.The story structure is completely nontraditional It is a whirlwind of memory, stream of consciousness, internal reflections, flashbacks and social commentary The front story is supremely simple over the course of the novel s entire arc, a woman who has tried to commit suicide sits on a stool in an infirmary while a nontraditional healer tries to heal her From there the narrative accepts no limits We journey through the main character s life both past and present Through the healer s internal conversation, we meet a spirit woman who resides in the healer s head The main character s husband gives us new perspective on the main character and introduces us to a local arts center along with its characters and coalitions We bounce along with the thoughts and reflections of travellers, pausing to jump into their bus driver s head where the spirit of his dead friend resides The point of view is omnivorous, featuring many, many characters than can be absorbed with ease.Here is a novel that demonstrates complete disdain for the temporal This is not due to an inability on Bambara s part to frame a narrative none of her other works follow this nontraditional structure She insists on communicating one of the core tenants of the novel that everything is linked to the larger whole and nothing exists without everything else through the reader s experience There is no time or space that enjoys primacy there is no privileging of the now In the world of The Salt Eaters,nothing and no one can be understood without unraveling several strands of history and memory strands that, when touched, further unravel, splicing into numerous directions so that you are left scrambling to keep pace with the vastly diverging and multiplying points of view that emerge from the fleet imaginings of Bambara s pen.Read the rest here I struggled through this book The duration of this book is about a healing Velma has been running from a gift her whole life and the suicide attempt is her effort to avoid the inevitable What I do not get is the entire book as a whole It is disjointed Some authors are good at writing books that are fractured but some how come together perfectly by the last line When this novel ended I was dumbfounded and unreleived Was Bambara tired of writing because she could not pull it together or Perhaps I, the reader, did not bring enough context to the text Who knows I do know that I was not satisfied with having read this book.My burning question what is up with Doc Serge Is he really contemplating pimping out Velma as she is trying to heal I guess that is what I get for reading a book that includes the thoughts and doings of characters who do not necessarily help further the plot or subplots I don t know This book was strange to me. Whew, where to start I learned the meaning or true healing when I read this book the damn second time Reading this text is like walking through mud, it s so difficult but it s worth it Take the plunge into The Salt Eaters The book addresses the language barrier between healers and revolutionaries essential for Black organizing as well as the backwardness of the medical arts and its corruption Western medicine has colonized spaces of spiritual health and further disrupted what we see as healthy versus unhealthy We don t see wellness and holistic health as nothing than biological and sometimes mental Even worse, we don t frame in the context of an occupied people This book was the basis of a whole mode of sight for me Take away the miseries and you take away some folks reason for living When I was assigned this book for one of my classes, the professor informed us that it was one of the most challenging books in contemporary Literature She herself had to read it nine times to truly understand it With that said, this is the first book I ever read that as soon as I finished I immediately wanted to start over and experience it all over again While the plot takes place over the course of 20 minutes, it takes the reader from this world to the next one through the eyes of many characters both spiritual and physical It centers around the spiritual healing of Velma Henry, who has attempted suicide Through flashbacks to her earlier life, those of her fellow community member,s and conversations between spirits and people with tons of references to cosmology, mythology, and the Bible this story showcases the brokenness of the black community post Civil Rights Tiny threads of plot slowly weave themselves together under at the end you feel like you are completely entrenched in a whirlwind of magic and political frustration which ultimately culminates in Velma s spiritual transformation that brings together her fragmented community into a whole entity rooted in Afrocentric thought Not a book for everyone, and it s certainly hard to read without having the assistance of a classroom setting and academic criticism, but GOD DAMN was I moved. I had to come back to this one because my first attempt to read it stalled in confusion over the opening scene of a healer attending to a patient while thinking about other things made it confusing when you didn t know all these people she was talking about Persevere, though, for the rest of the novel Set in a small southern town, this is about a community of black folks and their search for faith healing through salt Seemingly, but I think the whole story, culminating in a parade celebration gone crazy, is allegory for the sixties and early seventies when radical change was a seeming inevitability Many of the townspeople are like the artist activists of that period with their hope up and expectations high The novel, I think, tells us how it all failed, ultimately, but maybe I m reading it too cynically. 7 8 12 OK, I ma have to put this one back on the shelf for a while It s too complex for my bar prepping brain to handle right now sigh 6 27 12 wholeness is no trifling matter Ten pages in and I m happy I started reading this book just for that line. Rating 3.75 of fiveWonderful prose, not so much on the storytelling.I haven t changed my mind on that one, either.The Book Report Velma is a healer s worst nightmare a failed suicide depressed by life and Life Minnie and Old Wife, who is Minnie s spirit guide, work to heal Velma s wounds both inner and outer, in the course of this novel.And that, mes amis, is it.My Review Which is kinda the problem It makes this gorgeous incantation of a tale into a pretty tough swallow Interiority can be overdone Bambara s enraged response to the world of 1980 when this wa first published was perfectly justified, as she saw coming the horrors we presently live through in the never subtle, never hidden class warfare counterattack begun after Nixon s crash and burn Velma is a computer programmer, a telling detail that Bambara clearly wants to remain a detail, who can t cope with the workloadprescient much and whose entire world centers around yawn an unworthy man cue 21st century Serious Lady Lit music so she loses her inner Old Wife just like Minnie did.Minnie is a daughter of privilege, a former Bible college attendee, and now a root woman who talks to haints I love Minnie and Old Wife with a passion They are the kind of ladies I want to live next door to, so I can go over with a plate of blondies and a bottle of bourbon and talk about Life to them.But loving them, and loving the loooooooooooooong internal monologues that Minnie and Old Wife share as they work to heal dull little Velma, does not make this book a novel In French, it would be called a r cit a simple internal narrative, usually in past tense, with one PoV It s an excellent r cit, and a meh novel.Recommended for language lovers, Southerners, and white people wondering what the fuss about African American literature is. I would give this book 3.5 stars Toni Cade Bambara was a visionary In the current political climate you may hear a number of people of colour saying to leftist white counterparts that it was about time they started noticing the levels of oppression that POC have been talking about for decades, and this novel is a testament to that The community in this novel is comprised of people fighting for their lives against institutionalized racism, big business, nuclear waste, and patriarchy They fight for clean drinking water on indigenous land and in black communities They fight for recognition and respect from one another within their own movements They fight to have their very lives legitimized And these intersecting oppressions play out at the wider level of community and nation as well as in the most intimate interactions That intricate interaction between the personal and the communal is something of a theme in this book The story itself doesn t really have an arc, per se Instead the shape of this narrative is like a universe expanding outward from a central singularity That singularity is made up of the two women at the centre of the story Velma, who has attempted suicide, and Minnie Ransom, the healer who is working to bring her through this crisis From there the story radiates outward to the other people in the room, witnessing the healing, and beyond that to the people in Velma s circle of acquaintance and the community beyond And then the story reaches a horizon and circles back in to the healing again, so that at stake is not only Velma s, but an entire community s healing.So it s a very unorthodox way to tell a story, and it s not for everyone There s no real beginning or end to it The writing style employs a great deal of highly academic stream of consciousness that is pretty typical of feminist intellectual movements of the time period in which the book was written This is my main difficulty with the book It can be very beautiful and thought provoking, but at times also very opaque and inaccessible, which is its biggest downfall, IMHO.That said, some of those passages are also the novel s greatest strengths, as in the following They act the fish, then fly and are the birds, tail in the air and fingers hunched under arms they go monkey, dancing and loud, acting the medicine people who leap the healing circle and wait for what we run from troubled They act the sun Head, arms, hearts rich with recitation and the word They send a child to fetch Velma from her swoon and fetch a strong rope to bind the wind, to circle the world while they swell the sea with their song She is the child they sent She is the song So sometimes I loved this book and sometimes it was a complete chore to slog through it, but either way I believe it to be an important read, if not entirely an enjoyable one.



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