‘Stunning – the work of a powerful imagination’ Carol Shields. Snake is Kate Jennings first novel, she has written poetry and an award-winning collection of short stories.
My life is about to begin. This is the only thought in Irene’s head the day she marries a handsome second-world war veteran. But irritation, frustration and disappointment follow as the couple start their life together on a remote Australian farm. Rex, hard-working, reliable, agonised by love not returned and ‘imprisoned in loneliness’, bears mostly silent inarticulate witness to Irene’s flailing attempts to escape their claustrophobic existence. So do Girlie and Boy, their children, who to Rex seem like ‘the blurred faces on…a passing train. Faces that never gained definition no matter how hard they stared.’
Stark yet strangely comic snapshots document the inexorable disintegration of the family. Kate Jennings’ black humour and muscular prose, both pared down and rich in startling imagery, distils time and place in a work of literature that carves its exquisitely painful mark deep into the mind.
Reviews of Snake
- ‘Kate Jennings’s brief first novel is superbly assured: evocative, unexpected and hard to forget. She has an unerring eye for the unexpected, telling detail. A wonderful balance between deft, dry comedy and genuine heartbreak.’ Sunday Times
- ‘A taut, poignant story. That she makes your heart ache for both her protagonists is a testimony to her artistry.’ Sunday Telegraph
- ‘Jennings’s black humour is distilled into a potent, bitter brew that transforms her melodramatic subject matter – adultery, lesbian love affairs, teenage pregnancies, car crashes and suicides – into a novel of extraordinary, if bleak, beauty.’ TLS