Evocative of Miriam Toews’ A Complicated Kindness and Diane Warren’s Cool Water, Tara Gereaux’s novel, set in small-town Saskatchewan, dissects themes of Métis identity, female identity and motherhood, aging and regret, and finally, acceptance.
Nothing ever seems to happen in the small town of Saltus. At the Harvest Gold Inn and Restaurant off Highway 53, two waitresses spend their evening shifts delivering Salisbury steak specials and slices of pie to the regulars. But everything changes when Nadine, a headstrong single mother, and her teenager, Aaron, arrive at the Gold, where Aaron—who has repeatedly been denied appropriate gender-affirming medical care from the mainstream system—undergoes a near-fatal procedure performed by an unqualified and eccentric recluse who lives on the outskirts of Saltus.
The events that transpire that evening force each townsperson to look long and hard at themselves, at their own identities, and at the traumas and experiences that have shaped them. Told from multiple perspectives, Saltus reveals the complexities inherent in accepting the identities of loved ones, and the tragic consequences that unfold if they are ignored. It is a story about relationships with others, and, even more importantly, with ourselves.