Salt and Skin
A haunting and evocative mystery set on a remote Scottish island
Grief-stricken and on the verge of a breakdown, Luda Managan and her two teenaged children try to make a home for themselves on a collection of harsh and haunted Scottish islands.
Luda, a photographer, is mesmerised by the extraordinary magic of the islands and soon finds herself condemned by the local community after publishing images documenting the death of a local child. Alienated, Luda turns her attention to the records from the 17th century island witch-hunts and the fragmented life stories of the executed women. Min, restless and strong, tries to fill up the space in their family left by her father. She soon finds comfort in the depths of the icy North Sea and in an unlikely friendship with the elderly and irreverent local ‘witch’. The only thing that beautiful and gifted Darcy cares about is getting marks high enough for entry into university – one very, very far away from his mother.
Until he meets the wild foundling, Theo.
When a tragic accident unleashes ghosts and the echoes of long-ago violence and betrayal into their lives, the Managans are forced to confront the ways that history both hinders us and sets us free.
Drawing on records of the witch trials and folk tales of the northern isles, Salt and Skin is full of tenderness, magic and yearning. It’s a meditation on the absence of women’s voices and stories in history, and the unexpected ways that sites of long-ago trauma continue to haunt the living.
‘Salt and Skin is the novel Eliza Henry-Jones has long been destined to write: eerie, evocative, shot through with portents and incantations, things half-glimpsed but fully felt, her rare understanding of the natural world. It is a wonder of a book’
Kylie Ladd, author of The Way Back
‘Eliza Henry-Jones is a brilliant storyteller, and this is a compelling and immersive novel. In Salt and Skin she has conjured a world that is hauntingly alive: to the slippery intersections between past and present, body and spirit, the uncanny and the real. Beyond that, though, lies an entrancing story of loss, redemption and love. ’
Lucy Treloar, author of Wolfe Island
‘Luminous, other-worldly yet intensely human, Salt and Skin is a marvellous evocation of a time and place, and of the dark thread of history running beneath everyday life.’
Carol Lefevre, author of Murmurations
‘Salt and Skin is a sensory masterpiece. With her dazzling prose, Eliza Henry-Jones has created an astute portrait of a family on the edge and a community buckling under layers of history. Intense, tender and haunting. It really got under my skin.’
Anna Snoekstra, author of Only Daughter
About the author
Eliza Henry-Jones is an author, freelance writer, PhD candidate and flower farmer. Her previous novels have been listed for multiple literary awards including the ABIA, NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and QLD Literary Awards. Her work has also been published widely, appearing in place such as The Guardian, Country Style, The Big Issue, and The Age. Eliza has qualifications in psychology as well as grief, loss and trauma counselling.