Snake Ropes Paperback – 13 Dec 2012
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Jess Richards's debut is a cornucopia of secrets and surprises, written in a bright, sassy style. The author is exuberantly inventive in creating a bitter-sweet world of magical transformations. (Independent)
Visceral, evocative . . . haunted by the influence of Angela Carter and Margaret Atwood. (Observer)
A terrific story, quirky and wildly original. (Joanne Harris)
Richards handles her ambitions with aplomb. SNAKE ROPES is partly an extended meditation on trauma and healing, and the trauma is handled so well that the reader is exactly as upset as she needs to be to follow through . . . SNAKE ROPES reminds us that the act of storytelling is in itself a form of resolution. (Guardian)
Richards skilfully alternates between Mary and Morgan and their stories, touching on themes such as the transmission of folk wisdom, the creation of myths and violence against women. (Financial Times)
From the islanders' subtle creole to their myths of sea and sky and earth, Jess Richards has nurtured a remarkable community, their home glimpsed in the sea-mist like a new Avalon. Angela Carter or Laura Esquivel would have been proud of this. (We Love This Book)
A mystical book where a harsh self-sufficient lifestyle meets myths, legends and magic . . . an unusual, haunting debut novel. (thebookbag.co.uk)
Stunning fiction in the vein of Angela Carter and Margaret Atwood from debut author Jess Richards.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I bought and downloaded 'Snake Ropes' in December 2012 and then got the paperback copy from my husband for Christmas the same year (much to my own embarrassment I had forgot to tell him I already had a copy). It took me a few attempts to get into 'Snake Ropes' but I am glad to say by the third attempt I was engrossed in the story. 'Snake Ropes' is a well written and quirky story, I loved how Jess Richards described the island, bleak but beautiful. Mary's dialect is difficult to read at first but the more you read, the more you understand it. Mary and Morgan are interesting characters, they are both determined in their own ways, brave, independent and great to read.
Beautifully written and highly recommended. I am looking forward to reading Jess Richard's next book 'Cooking with Bones'.
Snake Ropes is something quite beautiful, magical, creative and transporting. Transporting because I felt like I'd opened a little door somewhere and entered into another, more wondrous, reality. The characters are so real, beautifully and truthfully drawn, and the writing poetic and vivid. Jess Richards has a deftness of touch, dealing with some raw, painful subjects with the lightness of a poet. And the world of women was tenderly evoked, creating the a space where women have autonomy and weave a web of stories, magic and legend. Having worked with women in labour, it would be the lovely character Kelmar I would want by my side in that moment. In fact, if I ever work in that capacity again, I'll channel her I think!
The watery world of the island is vivid, a place where stories and folklore are tangled in the seaweed. I read the book whilst at home on the cliffs, with rain lashing down and waves crashing on the rocks below, and felt at times like I really had slipped through that portal to join Mary and Morgan...
This is a beautiful book and a real pleasure to read. It's so refreshing to find a debut writer with such a unique voice and I'm sure this writer has a long career ahead of her - I'm looking forward to the next book already!
It is hard to do justice to Jess Richard's style of writing in a review given her mix of real life family issues and the magical aspects thrown in. The descriptive aspects of her writing are captivating - the mystical ones are often thought provoking. If this kind of thing appeals to you - try it - I am looking forward to the next one!
Told by two young girls in alternate first-person narratives, the island's mystery and history gradually unfold over more than 300 enthralling pages. Local girl Mary is in her teens, motherless, traumatised by the loss of her baby brother Barney, the latest of several of the island's young boys to mysteriously disappear. Meanwhile, over-educated Morgan is imprisoned by her incomer parents behind the fences of a makeshift fortress, confined like Rapunzel and made to clean like Cinderella. She and her sinister twin sisters are kept barefoot, isolated, their heads crammed with stories from the books that are the only relics of a mainland they can't really remember.
In this matriarchal society, wrongdoing is dealt with by committee in the 'weaving rooms', whose culture is an echo of Scotland's 'waulking' tradition. Lost in time, these islanders survive by bartering fish and handicrafts with the "tall men" who bring supplies from the mainland every month. Magic is commonplace in this pre-industrial world; words are trapped in metal, trees can move, female ghosts become avenging owls and artists gather dreams like fallen petals. The lives of the people are intertwined with stories, myths and legends, their dreams and imaginings as relevant as objective world of the outsiders. And as Morgan plots her escape and Mary seeks her lost boy, the truth at the kernel of all the stories begins to work its way to the surface.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This took a while to get into but was worth it as it was a good tale. Very interesting as a glimpse of a very different way of life.Published 4 months ago by Staying sane
Beautiful story. One of my favorites. Something I return to every now and then.Published 5 months ago by beebeeseven
A great novel in the magical realism tradition. I almost gave up at the start as I found it confusing and the speech a little irritating. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Stuart C.
This book started off a little confusing but it prompted me to read on. I loved it, it was different and compelling.Published 12 months ago by Ms. K. A. Samples
This is not the style of book that I usually read, however, I thought I would give it a go as I have recently become quite bored with my usual reads. Read morePublished 22 months ago by KAYMAS
Great, My Daughter wanted this and she is thrilled with it.Published on 16 Aug. 2014 by Patricia Shepherd