Quench Your Thirst with Salt by Nicole Walker is some kind of brilliant new art form disguised as a non-fictional memoir type book. She seems to use every bit of non-fiction form that she can think of, and builds them up next to one another to tell a very interesting story. This piece seams together non-fictional biological narrative on (for example) the amazing musculature of the cervix, how the steepness and severity of the Rocky Mountains required railroad tracks to be laid in the path of landslides, and the scarcity of water in Salt Lake City, Utah. Then Walker pulls in non-fictional personal anecdotes of her life growing up in Salt Lake City, next to non-fictional newspaper clippings and apocryphal stories.
While this may seem attention-deficit to the feeble-minded, Walker’s way of placing seemingly non-related items next to one another calls for a new engagement from the reader’s point of view. While she abstains from using the direct form of poetry, the book reads like a sensory integration lesson. It must be read slowly. Associations must be mulled over, and acquired through ingestion.
Technically, the form is grand. Walker has a command over language. The visuals are always beautiful, and the personal narratives enhance the impersonal statements about the biology and geology Walker is living within. Spiritually, the story is about the zeitgeist of growing up a young Mormon girl, dealing with an alcoholic father, coming to grips with environmental concerns, becoming a woman (and dealing with men problems) and personalizing the generalized stories of tragedy within these worlds.
Quench Your Thirst With Salt was published in June 2013.