The Snakes: A Novel (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

"Bea is a psychologist, sympathetic to the underprivileged,  and newly married to Dan, an aspiring artist working as a realtor so the two can make ends meet.  When they decide to rent their London flat to take a vacation, it isn't long before the vipers invade in the form of Bea's family. The first stop on their trip is to visit Bea's older brother Alex at a decaying hotel that his parents have purchased for him to restore. The hotel has no guests, and there are snakes living in the attic. Dan can't understand Bea's devotion to her emotionally stunted brother, and then the parents arrive. While Dan knew that Bea's family had money, their wealth is more than he can imagine, and the fact that Bea herself eschews that wealth to live on a pittance, confuses and frustrates him. When tragedy strikes, both Dan and Bea struggle with the greed and privilege that can buy your place in society at catastrophic costs. Sadie Jones's terror-stricken novel is a social commentary on class, and the tragic results of unmitigated greed. Enjoy!"--Reviewed by Susan

— From Susan Recommends


The Snakes is many things—a parable and an ancient drama where a father’s greed devours his children, a police procedural, an avid take on tabloid venality, and a bitter comedy, superbly observed, where behind a woman’s eyes she is ‘all movement inside herself, like a wasp in a glass.’ I admit that I’m still shaken by parts of this novel. Sadie Jones writes with pitiless aplomb and corrosive intelligence.”                       --Louise Erdrich

A chilling page-turner and impossible to put down, THE SNAKES is Sadie Jones at her best: breathtakingly powerful, brilliantly incisive, and utterly devastating.

Recently married, psychologist Bea and Dan, a mixed-race artist, rent out their tiny flat to escape London for a few precious months. Driving through France they visit Bea's dropout brother Alex at the hotel he runs in Burgundy. Disturbingly, they find him all alone and the ramshackle hotel deserted, apart from the nest of snakes in the attic.

When Alex and Bea's parents make a surprise visit, Dan can't understand why Bea is so appalled, or why she's never wanted him to know them; Liv and Griff Adamson are charming and rich. They are the richest people he has ever met. Maybe Bea's ashamed of him, or maybe she regrets the secrets she's been keeping.

Tragedy strikes suddenly, brutally, and in its aftermath the family is stripped back to its heart, and then its rotten core, and even Bea with all her strength and goodness can't escape.


About the Author

Sadie Jones is the author of four novels, including The Outcast, winner of the Costa First Novel Award in Great Britain and a finalist for the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize/Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, Small Wars, and the bestselling The Uninvited Guests. She lives in London.

Praise For…

“A provocative and astute writer…The Snakes asks serious questions about human nature, avarice and justice, wrapped in the fast-paced rhythms of a thriller. It is written with Jones’s trademark economy and a fierce attention to the nuances of familial cruelty…I finished The Snakes with a juddering heart, strangely close to tears.”
The Guardian
Product Details
ISBN: 9780062897022
ISBN-10: 0062897020
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: June 25th, 2019
Pages: 448
Language: English