The Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate

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Award-winning novelist Martha Southgate (who, in the words of Julia Glass, “can write fat and hot, then lush and tender, then just plain truthful and burning with heart”) now tells the story of a family pushed to its limits by addiction over the course of two generations.

Josie Henderson loves the water and is fulfilled by her position as the only senior-level black scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. In building this impressive life for herself, she has tried to shed the one thing she cannot: her family back in landlocked Cleveland. Her adored brother, Tick, was her childhood ally as they watched their drinking father push away all the love that his wife and children were trying to give him. Now Tick himself has been coming apart and demands to be heard.

Weaving four voices into a beautiful tapestry, Southgate charts the lives of the Hendersons from the parents’ first charmed meeting to Josie’s realization that the ways of the human heart are more complex than anything seen under a microscope.

About Martha Southgate

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Martha Southgate is a graduate of Smith College, with an MFA in creative writing from Goddard College. She has had fellowships at the MacDowell Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She was books editor at Essence and has written for The New York Times Magazine, Premiere, Entertainment Weekly, and Rosie, among other publications. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is at work on her next novel. You can visit her Web site at
Published September 13, 2011 by Algonquin Books. 303 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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The story spins out, told through Josie's eyes and those of her brother, Tick, father, mother and husband after Josie goes back to her hometown of Cleveland to pick Tick up from his second stint in rehab.

Jul 25 2011 | Read Full Review of The Taste of Salt

Entertainment Weekly

B+ Originally posted Sep 14, 2011 Published in issue #1173 Sep 23, 2011 Order article reprints

Sep 14 2011 | Read Full Review of The Taste of Salt

Washington Independent Review of Books

Josie Henderson is a black marine biologist stationed at Woods Hole.

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Fred Beauford

In trying to escape the salt in her life and hence her family, she finds that the inner loss and emptiness she feels in attempting to shed her past instead permeates her life.

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