Nicole Walker, writing about her new book “Quench Your Thirst With Salt,” says that “Utah is a strange place, especially Salt Lake City. A dominant culture encloses the valley in a kind of protective and paternalistic bubble. A sharp and active subculture attempts to pop that bubble...My father tried to single-handedly subvert the dominant, abstinent, culture by drinking a lot. With every drink, he banged his head against the Mormon granite. With every drink, he hurt his head, never making a crack in that granite. Sometimes the mountains win.
Are bodies the corrosive power of water? The stalwart force of granite? I love it when metaphors break down. When they break down like water. The water is so bossy. The granite it so bossy. The Church is so bossy. We don't like authority. We take it out on our bodies. Growing up in a place where subduing the landscape is as practiced as subduing the people who live there is a hard thing. A person is shaped by that hardness. Is a person as malleable as a mountain? Is she as well-defined as cracks in the granite? Is she as useful as a valley of water pipes? Shaped by the dominant culture and by parents fighting against that subculture, taking the subculture to an extreme, escaping the whole thing, this book is about how I try to stand some ground in a shaky family situation, on the dry edge of the Wasatch Fault.”