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In this beautifully crafted debut novel, poet Isabel Zuber deftly traces the joys and the sorrows of a passionate but troubled marriage in Appalachia at the turn of the last century.

Anna Stockton was a bright and imaginative child, reveling in a rare wild freedom in the mountains of western North Carolina. As a young woman possessed by romantic yearnings and a great love of books, she hungers for a new kind of life for herself. John Bayley is a hard-driven hill farmer who carries with him the pain of the early death of his father and the loss of two previous wives. When a sudden encounter brings the two together, Anna and John marry into a difficult and passionate union, one that mirrors the changing, sometimes violent, and often haunted times in which they live.

Turning her jeweler's eye upon the members of a small rural community, Isabel Zuber weaves together the lives of John and Anna's family and friends in a deeply moving account of exultation and despair, of grief and ghosts. A novel worthy of the element that gives it its name—an emblem of work and sacrifice as well as of blessing and preservation—Salt is entrancing, piercingly honest fiction that gazes deeply into the human heart and yields the wisdom that such scrutiny brings.

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