"Fantasy, you see, is really about things that are not believed; and the reality or unreality of those things has nothing to do with it."
Gene Wolfe (from the Introduction)
"Sixteen cautionary, sensual stories of love, reversal and revenge upend fairy tale conventions in Nazarian's lush collection.... Sumptuous detail, twisty plots and surprising endings lift these extravagant tales."
Publishers Weekly (October 2, 2006 Issue)
"These are beautiful, haunting confections, reminiscent of Tanith Lee's erotically charged tales in Red as Blood and elsewhere.... And while Nazarian thus strikes fresh notes off old vessels, she provides the template of sword-and-sorcery with new glitter, new power.... Fine shades of emotion, mythic grandeur, crystalline prose, sharp revisionist intelligence: these are Vera Nazarian's hallmarks, signs of a strong emerging talent. Salt of the Air is her best, most representative book so far."
Nick Gevers, Locus (December 2006, Issue #551)
You are familiar with the salt of the earth. But did you know there is an even finer, more delicate essence?
Take wisdom and imagination, responsibility and beauty, and mix them together in arcane proportions to form a rich and peculiar brine. The resulting water of life is an emotional muddy liquid, filled with existential sediment swirling in the light of secret reality and reflecting prismatic colors of hope and wonder. If allowed to evaporate escape, flee, ascend into the ether and join the music of the spheres what remains is the quintessence; a precious concentrate that is elusive and volatile, neither fully solid nor so illusory as to be devoid of pithy substance. It is the Salt of the Air.
In this debut collection from the critically acclaimed author of Dreams of the Compass Rose and Lords of Rainbow, the sixteen stories are distillations of myth and philosophy, eroticism and ascetic purity. Dipping into an ancient multi-ethnic well, they are the stuff of fantasy of maidens and deities and senior retirees, of emperors and artists and con artists, of warriors and librarians, of beings without a name and things very fey indeed. . . .