A Woman of Salt by Mary Potter Engel
A Novel

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In an uncommon mosaic of fiction and commentary, a new writer brilliantly explores the conflict between a woman's mundane secular life and her passionate longing for spirituality.

A Woman of Salt opens with Ruth VanderZicht receiving the news that her mother is dying and is asking for her. Ruth is thrown into a fierce turmoil of memory in which she veers between love and anger, sense and insanity, as she decides whether to heed her mother's call. This struggle in contradiction takes the form of a dialogue, and each story Ruth tells herself is commented upon by a midrash, a narrative exploration of a biblical text. The book becomes the spiritual biography of a tormented woman searching for rest, the story of the forty-year struggle of a would-be skeptic and religious runaway whose fate is haunted by a longing for God that she resists at every turn. As Ruth gradually settles her heart and mind the distance between her stories and her midrashim dissolves.

A Woman of Salt is a daring and complex novel that confronts the dangers of introspection and the healing power of imagination. It is a resonant meditation and a beautiful story of one woman's longing and spiritual regeneration.


About Mary Potter Engel

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Engel, formerly professor of historical and constructive theology at United Theological Seminary, is now writing fiction.
Published October 1, 2001 by Counterpoint Press. 256 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Her '60s-era rebellion manifests itself in mind-expanding mescaline trips ("Ruth willed herself to believe Huxley was right: Mescaline would help a poor visualizer like herself") and copious references to the works of William Blake.

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