Use these discussion questions to guide your next meeting.


A sweeping, masterful debut about a daughter's fateful choice, a mother motivated by her own past, and a family legacy that begins in Cuba before either of them were born

In present-day Miami, Jeanette is battling addiction. Daughter of Carmen, a Cuban immigrant, she is determined to learn more about her family history from her reticent mother and makes the snap decision to take in the daughter of a neighbor detained by ICE. Carmen, still wrestling with the trauma of displacement, must process her difficult relationship with her own mother while trying to raise a wayward Jeanette. Steadfast in her quest for understanding, Jeanette travels to Cuba to see her grandmother and reckon with secrets from the past destined to erupt.
From 19th-century cigar factories to present-day detention centers, from Cuba to Mexico, Gabriela Garcia's Of Women and Salt is a kaleidoscopic portrait of betrayals―personal and political, self-inflicted and those done by others―that have shaped the lives of these extraordinary women. A haunting meditation on the choices of mothers, the legacy of the memories they carry, and the tenacity of women who choose to tell their stories despite those who wish to silence them, this is more than a diaspora story; it is a story of America’s most tangled, honest, human roots.


This recommended reading and discussion guide is shared and sponsored in partnership with Flatiron Books. 


The novel begins with this sentence: “Jeanette, tell me that you want to live.” How did this intimate direct address from mother to daughter set the tone for some of the themes that we encounter in the following pages?

Maria Isabel loses two of the most important people in her life and gives birth to her daughter, Cecilia. In what way does the concept of loss continue to impact/inform the decisions these women make?

The story exposes the flaws and inequities in the immigration system. How did Gloria’s deportation become a catalyst for this story?


Of Women and Salt

“A mesmerizing patchwork of determination, courage and survival.”

—The Washington Post


“This stunningly accomplished first novel is both epic and intimate.”

—O, the Oprah Magazine  


Gabriela Garcia captures the lives of Cuban women in a world to which they refuse to surrender and she does so with precision and generosity and beauty.”Roxane Gay, bestselling author of Hunger and Bad Feminist


"Phenomenal . . . readers won’t want to put [it] down." BUST


“A sweeping tour de force about addiction, displacement, and the legacy of trauma." Harper's Bazaar