Salt in the Wounds


ISBN 9781770863859 | 5.25″ x 8″ | TPB | $21.95

Category: Short Story Collections





Salt: We have shed blood for it. We have paid for it. In many ways it is priceless; in others, virtually worthless. Its presence can make or break a dinner, a culture, all life on Earth.

In Salt in the Wounds, Mark Blagrave reminds us of the dynamic, elementary, and precipitous relationship that people share with this simple molecule, and with each other. In “Transit of Venus,” a couple resort to salt as an ancient, folk-medicine, fertility aid; in “Rupert and Sophia,” online-auction bidding rivals bond over their rare, shared admiration for the beauty of an ornate salt cellar; in “Ageusia,” a woman’s relationship with a chef dissolves over her sudden inability to taste salt; and in “Love You Like Salt,” old friends become more than just that as they trade folk-tales about salt’s role in love and life.

Paracelsus said, “The dose makes the poison,” and every word in Salt in the Wounds is a carefully measured curative agent; with each new page your blood will flow, your heart will beat, and your mind will delight in these short, sharp, brilliant gems.

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“Blagrave doesn’t hit readers over the head with his salt metaphors and insights; in fact, he sprinkles to perfect taste.”
Atlantic Books Today

“Blagrave demonstrates a self-consciousness to writing about unlikeable characters, and more importantly, about the lies and compromises that keep friendships and relationships together.”
Town Crier


It started with a story at lunch. When I look back, I don’t know why I was telling it.

“There once was a man who had three lovers and a heart condition.”

“You’re making this up.”

“Yes. But it’s a very old story.”

“They all are.”

“He couldn’t decide which of the lovers to marry, for they were all wonderful women of excellent character.”

“You can skip that part. Or come back to it with dessert. Where is that waiter anyway?”

“Is there something you want?”

“Nothing a waiter can give me.”

It was exactly the kind of response that made me love eating lunch with Elizabeth. I couldn’t fathom why some other man hadn’t seen it too, why somebody so sharp had remained single. Her research, perhaps. She had joked more than once that she was married to Jane Austen.

“So anyway, he’s trying to make his decision between these three women.”



“His decision among these three women.”

“Why among?” I was never ashamed to show Elizabeth that I was still willing to learn. It was, I liked to think, a difference between us.

“If he was trying to make his decision between them it would be quite a different tale. Sexier.”

“I don’t get it.”

“Think about it. Where would he actually be, what would he be up to, if he was trying to make the decision between them all?”

“Oh. It’s like ‘lay’ and ‘lie.’”

“Sort of. In spirit. Not grammatically. Anyway, it’s not that kind of story, Martin.”

“You don’t even know the story yet.”

“You said it’s very old. Okay, so how does he decide? Among them?”

“He says for each of them to bring him a gift.”

“That figures.” She reached for the salt and sprinkled her seafood crepe for the third time. “With you anthropologist-types it’s nearly always about gifts somewhere along the line.”

“Each of them is to bring him the one thing that she thinks is essential to life. And then she’s supposed to explain how her love for him is like that thing — you know, essential for life.”

“Right. I see. Is this guy a king, maybe? Some old guy called Lear?”

“No. Could be. Anyway, so the first woman …”

“Does she have a name?”

“Probably. But not in the story.”

“They never do.”

Book Club Guide


About the Author

Blagrave, Mark - was shortlisted for the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Novel and the 2009 Margaret and John Savage First Book Award (Atlantic Book Awards) for his first novel, Silver Salts. (read more)

Books by the Author

Salt in the Wounds - Mark Blagrave
ISBN9781770863859 | 5.25" x 8" | TPB | $21.95

A thematically-linked short story collection that reminds us of the dynamic, elementary, and precipitous relationship that people share with salt, and with each other. (read more)
Silver Salts - Mark Blagrave
ISBN 9781897151242 | 5.5" x 8.5" | TPB | $21

Shortlisted for the 2009 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Novel
Shortlisted for the 2009 Atlantic Book Awards Margaret and John Savage First Book Award

Set in the beginning of the 20th century, the story of Lillie Dempster, who finally has the opportunity to live her film fantasies when a group of filmmakers come to Saint John, New Brunswick to shoot a movie. (read more)

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