I believe that humans are, by nature, fascinated by the ocean—and what is not known about her. That’s why so many legends of varying kinds have crept up over time.
The best-known sea myths involve Mermaids and their cousins, Selkies. THE BLUE SALT ROAD is the story of an adventurous Selkie who, in an act of curiosity, set foot on land a few times too many.
Throughout the book, we do not learn his name. We know only that he is a Selkie, that he met a woman whose beauty ensnared him, and that his Selkie skin was stolen during one of their nighttime meetings.
Losing his skin meant that he could never return to seal form, that he could not communicate with his people—indeed, forgot his memories entirely. Now a very confused human man, he does feel a draw to the ocean, but can’t say why.
Since the woman is expecting his child, he agrees to marry her and look after his family. The Selkie, despite his amnesia, makes a valiant attempt to belong among humans. He wants to be a good man and father.
If only he did not feel a curious emptiness, as though something had been robbed from him.
If only the seal skins on his father-in-law’s wall did not make him so uneasy.
When the Selkie agrees to join his father-in-law aboard a whaling ship, he finds the discomfort is too much to bear. He cannot wield the harpoon; he can’t stomach ending the life of a whale, though the reasons behind his apprehension are cloudy to him—until one night, a strange woman climbs aboard the ship.
She claims to have known him in another form. She claims to know why he cannot fit in as a whaler, or even a human.
The truth will set him off on a quest for revenge and freedom. It could end well; he could meet his death. But the nameless Selkie will not sit still once he knows the truth. Where is his seal skin? Why was it hidden from him by a person he had thought cared for him?
If he managed to find that skin again, would he remember who he is and be able to return home? Would they even welcome him back after such a long absence?
THE BLUE SALT ROAD is pure, beautiful, storytelling. If you read it, prepared to be ensnared by the lyrical prose and vivid imagery. You’ll find yourself rooting for the Selkie, too.
One thought on “REVIEW: The Blue Salt Road”
Oh skies, now you too are making me wish I had an alternate life in which to do nothing but acquire and read books!