Thirst for Salt

Recollections of a long-ago romance and the life choices made in its aftermath haunt the narrator of Thirst for Salt by Madelaine Lucas, an Australian-born author and musician living in the U.S. Lucas's debut, set in a picturesque beach town in New South Wales, Australia, deconstructs an intimate love story from the sun-bleached, sand-encrusted remembrances of a woman yearning to make peace with her past. The narrator, now in her late 30s, is an unattached Australian who's teaching writing in New York. While searching online, she discovers a photograph of her former lover Jude and his young child. The photograph dislodges an avalanche of memories of their affair when the narrator was in her 20s and Jude was 18 years her senior. They met one summer while the young woman and her mother vacationed in Jude's hometown, Sailors Beach.

Thirst for Salt derives its lyrical power from the lapping waves of the ocean, wind-rustled trees and abundance of birdsong, which form the chorus of this engrossing drama, inviting readers to share in the sheer magic of passion ignited and the sweet domesticity that is the reward of everyday love. Lucas's writing captures the emotional intensity of the affair: the narrator envies the other lives Jude had already led before they met. When Jude's longtime friend, the beautiful Maeve, appears on the scene and announces she is pregnant with her married lover's child, the dynamics suddenly shift. As the narrator's memories unravel the tendrils of past truths, readers will be irresistibly drawn into the mystery of all that remains unsaid in Lucas's captivating story. --Shahina Piyarali, reviewer

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