Snake by Kate Jennings | Black Inc.


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About the author

Kate Jennings

Kate Jennings (1948–2021) was an award-winning poet, essayist, short story writer and novelist. Both her novels, Snake and Moral Hazard, were New York Times Notable Books of the Year. She won the ALS Gold Medal, the Christina Stead …

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Praise for Snake

‘The story is told with such restraint and dry humour that it is a pleasure to read’ —Herald Sun


‘A wonderful balance between deft, dry comedy and genuine heartbreak’ —Sunday Times


‘The work of a powerful imagination.’ —Carol Shields, New York Times Book Review


‘Irresistibly good.’ —Shirley Hazzard

 ‘A taut, poignant story. That she makes your heart ache for both her protagonists is a testimony to her artistry.’ —The 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.’ —Times Literary Supplement

 ‘This snake of a novel is lethal and fast-moving – and so spare it will leave readers wishing for more.’ —Publishers Weekly

 ‘A novel that simmers with energy, passion, and thoroughly unresolved tensions.’—Debra Adelaide, Sydney Morning Herald

 ‘Kate Jennings’s style is as spare and compelling as the landscape of her native country. The reader can feel the heat and smell the disillusionment of this Australian rural scene captured in breathtaking detail.’ —Jill Ker Conway

 ‘It’s hard to believe a full-blown family tragedy can be told so wholly and well in such small, deft snatches, but then rarely has a poet’s skill at compaction been put to better use in prose. You can easily read the entire book in one sitting – and only upon standing be struck by how much pity and terror you’ve consumed.’ —Los Angeles Times

 ‘Not a word is misplaced, the colours leap out from the page, and characters are sketched with a deft and terrible economy.’ —Financial Times

 ‘A book that will come to be regarded as a classic account of the realities of Australian rural life.’ —People

 ‘What astonishment, stimulation, refreshment, enjoyment is to be found in this short novel by Kate Jennings … Snake makes various current challengers in the fiction race look simply awful.’ —The Bulletin

‘Jennings’s detailed character studies and her beautiful use of language create an uplifting and wonderfully satisfying work.’ —Canberra Times

 ‘Beautifully written, exquisitely painful, insidiously memorable.’ —Adelaide Advertiser

 ‘How often do you find a book that seizes you and doesn’t let go until it has finished its assault? Snake does that, quite painfully and beautifully.’ —Australian Book Review

 ‘Jennings lays bare the anguish of the mismatch at the heart of the story ... This slim, unyielding and yet poetic book portrays a desperate marriage with great depth of understanding.’ —Weekend Australian

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