We were delighted to have had Gabriela Garcia, the author of this month's selection Of Women and Salt, pen the letter to subscribers this month.
When I was 15, a school administrator told me I’d never amount to anything. I was sitting in his office, suspended. This counsellor wanted to know why I kept messing up. I should have told him about everything going on in my life at that time. But I was too focused on those words—I’d never be anything, I’d never do anything. I sat in silence.
But I did do something. I wrote a book. And this book is for him, for everyone who wouldn’t listen to me then. This book is for the girl I once was. This book is for everyone willing to listen to me now. This book is for you.
In Of Women and Salt, the protagonist Jeanette struggles with drug abuse and abusive relationships as a teenager against a backdrop of Miami over decades—the bonds and fractures with family in a changing Cuba, with a mother too full of her own secrets to see her daughter’s secrets, with a city where ICE raids have become commonplace and privilege, race, and class dissolve the notion of a monolithic Latinx community. The novel traverses decades and nations from nineteenth century Cuba to present-day Mexico, from a cigar factory to a family detention centre.
I am amazed every day that this book even exists, that I get to say I did amount to something—I am an author now. But I can’t pretend I am doing this alone. I am indebted to all of the readers who have connected with Of Women and Salt. Thank you for being a part of this community.
With gratitude, Gabriela Garcia