Cover Image: Thirst for Salt

Thirst for Salt

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Member Reviews

A lovely and dreamy novel that seems as if the core relationship is between the unnamed narrator and the older man she meets while on a beach holiday in a small town in Australia. She is 24; the man she first meets in the ocean is 42 and named Jude. Meta in the sense that she is a would-be writer, reading the typical books for a girl that age seeking love, trying her hand at stories, and he, an isolated man, a former actor, an antique dealer of sorts, is drawn to her. It’s a quiet novel, un-melodramatic, and while the love affair consumes her, the real focus of the novel is the relationships among her and her family. Her mother had her when she was the same as the narrator, the father long gone from the picture. Mother and daughter as a pair, the intimacy between them, and with her much younger half brother, the ways that time shifts love and the varieties of love.

Thanks to Tin House Books and Netgalley for the ARC.

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This is a great example of excellent writing bogged down by a not great story.

The bones of the plot here were fine and Lucas writes beautifully and thoughtfully, but the story becomes a tougher and tougher hang as it progresses.

The protagonist isn’t particularly likable, and she’s not interesting enough to offset that. And while I can understand the appeal intellectually of Jude to a person like this, as an objective outsider it’s pretty clear what’s going to happen and tough to fathom why the narrator didn’t see it coming. She has some intriguingly poignant thoughts about what goes on between them, but that’s about as much as you can get out of it as a reader.

It’s a depressing story, and not in a way that makes you feel like the rawness is worth it. And while what happens with the dog in the end is written compassionately, I don’t think it needed to work this way and it furthers the low mood of the book and makes the narrator even less sympathetic and less appealing as a character you want to root for.

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Such an excellent opportunity to explore relationships. (I have a physical copy of this one, so I will be posting my review in my main platform).

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This book is gorgeous. I've recommended it to several friends and will keep recommending. The prose is luscious, the story enthralling...I love it!

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"The strength it takes to bring an old house back from the brink of ruin, bringing in the light, the air. .. That kind of work, she said, it makes you believe that change is possible. You can see the difference you made, and all the better too." Madelaine Lucas, Thirst for Salt

Published: March 7, 2023

FIVE stars

This one stopped me in my tracks. I'm still thinking about it days later. Meant to be a summer read as you can feel the heat, hear the ocean and taste that salty air. It's haunting, heartbreaking and for a me a reminder that each of us views love a bit differently. We fit it into the mold we designed for ourselves, and often when another doesn't view it similarly we resist, we may feel challenged. This story is one of love. Of two people who want and need different things from love. This story brought me back to relationships that could have, should have gone differently. The needs I had and wanted fulfilled by another who'd support, defend and breath life into my wounded soul. Such demands are so unfair to another.

This debut from Madelaine Lucas is outstanding. It brought me tears and acknowledgement as I saw myself. It brought be salve and understanding to comfort my younger self. Thank you @carolinehopper for your review that brought this one to my attention. I'll not soon forget this story.

"There is no end to grief because there is no end to love." Madelaine Lucas, Thirst for Salt

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~ARC provided by NetGalley~

This is a stunning debut about an unnamed female narrator reflecting on an unbalanced, toxic relationship from her 20s. The prose weaves together hindsight and the narrator's past naïveté in a way that is totally recognizable and relatable. The character of Jude is charming and intoxicating from a 24-year old's perspective, even though we know all along that he is totally rotten and vile. However, what really sealed the deal for me was the writing. The descriptions of the beach town, the natural disasters, and the poetic reflections are beautifully woven together.

I highly recommend this book to people who loved "A Very Nice Girl" by Imogen Crimp, "Vladimir" by Julia May Jonas, or "Cleopatra and Frankenstein" by Coco Mellors.

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Thirst for Salt by Madelaine Lucas was a great read! A good mix of literary fiction and lgbt. Would recommend to a friend! 10/10!

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Thirst for Salt by Madelaine Lucas is an immediately captivating, poetically-written novel about a young woman who has just finished college and enters a love affair with a man almost twenty years older. It jumps from the present day when she is 36 back to 12 years prior when she was 24. The writing is so thoughtful and gorgeous. I loved how the author paints a picture of what happened and her ruminations on it. Though the relationship takes place when the author is 24, she is quite inexperienced, so this is a coming-of-age story. They first meet when she is on vacation in a small Australian seaside town with her mother. He is a mysterious and enigmatic 42 year old. I really liked seeing how the protagonist's relationships with her bohemian mother and transient father informed her view of the world and romantic relationships. I listened to the audiobook which is perfectly narrated by the author. She brings great voice to the narrator.

Thank you NetGalley and the publishers for providing this ebook/audiobook ARC. All thoughts are my own.

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I took it slow with this one, because there were no quotes in the book. Once I got used to it, it was easy to fall in love with the writing. That being said, I could totally see this being adapted into a movie ( crossing my fingers).

Also, I know her brother wasn't a big part of the story, but some lines made me 😭😭😭 And omg the dog in this book was my favorite, I loved him. The author weaves so many parts of the story so seamlessly including the dang on dog.

I honestly can't believe this is the author's debut! I'm definitely looking forward to everything else Madelaine Lucas comes out with in the future. I can even see myself revisiting and rereading this book while I wait.

This is for fans of My Dark Vanessa or My Last Innocent Year! If you're into age gaps + literary fiction, you'll love this one!

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While on a summer holiday at a quiet beach in Australia, a young woman falls in love with a man nearly 20 years her senior. She has just finished college and is trying to figure out what she wants from life, and all of her desires begin to formulate around the man, Jude, and his solitary life on the beach. We watch as their relationship grows and evolves over the next year and as the narrator begins to learn more about the man she lives with and the person she wants to be.

The story is told from the perspective of the narrator when she is older and looking back on this year of her life, and we can see the way the relationship shaped her and her understanding of what love is. The writing was beautiful, and the detailed imagery brings us to the beach house with the characters. The author is a keen observer of the nuances and complexities of relationships, and the story was unflinching in its honesty. However, the story was quite slow for me, and it felt more like a character study than a story with a plot. The ending was predictable, which is not a bad thing in itself as long as I’m invested in the journey, but I never felt entirely invested in the characters. I did not feel that I took something from the story that will stick with me.

I would recommend this to lovers of character studies, quiet dramas, and contemplative reflections. Thank you to Tin House and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Thirst for Salt is a quietly devastating mother daughter story cloaked in a first love 'romance'. Our unnamed protagonist reflects on her relationship years before, when she was 24, with 42 year old Jude, a strong and silent type who she reveres simply because of his age and experience. Their whirlwind romance takes place against the backdrop of a small beach town in Australia and blazes out nearly as quickly as it begins, with our protagonist leaving her friends and family behind. Her close relationship with her mother feels like the most important relationship in the book and throughout, the theme is clearly how the relationships in our lives shape us forever - if we allow them to.

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A slow arc of a relationship that becomes toxic narrated by an unnamed woman reflecting back on her life with Jude. She is 24 and aimless when she meets him- and he's 42. The daughter of a single mother who moved from relationship to relationship, she's entranced by the older man who would be easy to dismiss as a father replacement. It's a good life, at first, in the small beach town (great atmospherics) but then other women appear and things fall apart as she struggles to reconcile how he reacts when confronted. Lucas has a mannered writing style which took a moment to kick in for me but it works in this reflective novel. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. For fans of literary fiction.

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In a small coastal town in Australian, our 24 year old narrator meets a 42 year old man in the water and mistakes the palindrome as a sign. As their relationship grows and deepens, she finds herself scrambling of whatever scraps of him he'll measure out. After moving in with him and encountering the complex relationship he has with a friend, she begins to question the tether between them.

First of all, I could read a book about paint drying if Lucas wrote it. Her mellifluous prose had me highlighting left and right. I can't think of another book that had me highlighting so much before the 15% mark. She writes such a profound story of our narrator and the loss of a love that was never really hers to begin with. The way the narrator reflects back on her mother and grandmother in an attempt to piece herself together is beautiful. We are all collages made from pieces of those who have influenced us. The heart wrenching way Lucas writes about the allure of someone wanting you and seeing you is sincere and sweeping. You can feel the growth of our narrator by the end of the book but the heartache still lingers, as this piece of the collage will remain still with time.

I will 100% reread this and recommend often.

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thirst for salt is a poetic and atmospheric novel which features a tender exploration of the relationships we have in our lives - both romantic and platonic.

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Thirst for Salt follows a 37-year-old woman recalling her 24th year as she gets entangled in a relationship with a 42-year-old man. I thought the ways this book navigated relationships--both romantic and parent-child--were beautifully done. It was understated, but packed a punch. I loved the descriptive writing and the ways places were painted on the page. This character-driven novel doesn't feel overly pretentious the way other books like this can feel. Everyone has their own flaws, but I didn't hate them. It was a lovely exploration of love, and the ways that our main character handles her first "grown-up" relationship.

At times, the book failed to hold my interest so that's why it only got four stars for me. But another book to add to the Sad Girl Lit Fit category! I loved it.

Thank you to NetGalley and Tin House for the eARC! This title publishes March 7, 2023.

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Thirst For Salt is a beautiful and painful mediation on love, loss, and the choices we make. It evokes such a strong sense of place and feels very real, yet I found myself wanting to skim over certain parts to get back to “the meat” of the story and was hoping for a bit more resolution, but then, I guess that element is true to life too. Thank you, NetGalley, for the opportunity to read!

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This is a beautifully written book, written almost like a diary in real time. How love can affect us, now and years later. How it can color our lives forever.

Love and intimacy and how it affects the rest of our lives and it's power.

Beautiful and intimate. It's going to be with me a long time.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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Thank you @NetGalley for this ARC for an honest review.

A melodramatic drama that grips you with her lyrical writing and fascinating story about a Girl who has a love interest in an older man at the age of 24. The voice takes you to understand the momentum of young love, exploration, and more. Page after page gives you an intriguing feeling to read more.

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This debut novel from Madelaine Lucas was stunning. I absolutely savored this book; the story, the setting, the characters. It was not just a love story between a young woman and a man but also between the young woman and her mother.

I'll be looking out and looking forward to whatever Lucas publishes next.

Thank you to the publishers and netgalley for the arc.

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I loved this slow story about a young woman and her first introduction to love. It was atmospheric and lush and tense and made me remember what it's like to fall in love. So good.

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