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Where The Serpent Lives Paperback – 3 Mar 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus (3 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349122326
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349122328
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,191,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'I didn't want to stop reading the book once I'd started, mainly because of Padel's fiercely brilliant way of noticing. She has a great sense of myth and an exquisite way of telling a story' --Andrew O'Hagan

'Intensely readable parable of love and fear' --Daily Mail

'A novel you will not lightly forget. Only Emily Brontë has embraced Padel's radical and sympathetic inclusiveness of creaturely life' --Guardian

Book Description

* 'An intensely readable parable of love and fear' DAILY MAIL

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By DubaiReader VINE VOICE on 18 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
This was an unusual novel, melding family relationships with vivid descriptions of wildlife and a heartfelt plea for conservation.
Had I known beforehand that the author was a poet I would have avoided the book, expecting lengthy descriptive prose, but I found myself totally absorbed in the wildlife passages. This was especially true where tension also played a part; such as where we watch king cobras larger than a man, fight territorial battles and then slither towards the watching characters. The observations on an urban fox family were similarly beautiful.

The story behind all this wildlife is that of Rosamund, her husband Tyler and their son, Russel. Ros is the daughter of a world renowned snake expert and had started a biology degree when she fell for the charismatic, though seriously flawed, Tyler. Her father may have had an amazing empathy with snakes but his ability to interact with people is less well developed and Ros is estranged from him when we meet her. Tyler is a philandering smooth talker, while Russel is a sullen teenager. All is not well in Ros's life.
Everything comes to a thrilling climax as London faces the bombings of its underground and bus services in 2005.

It was not a quick read but the effort was worthwhile as we unravel Ros's life and simultaneously follow the natural world beyond the characters.
If you love nature and have strong views on conservation then you'll love this book.
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Format: Paperback
I have just finished reading Ruth Padel`s `Where the Serpent Lives' - what a wonderful book! I am amazed that such an accomplished novel is her first. It is beautifully written, enthralling, and kept me longing to know what happens next - the most important thing for the novelist to achieve. The characters: Anka, Scott, Tyler, Rosamund and Russel, Irena and Richard, are movingly believable individuals (my test of whether a novel is good is whether I can remember the character`s names afterwards). The narrative is absolutely of the moment, including not only the personal lives and interactions of these protagonists, but an entire world view ranging from the terrorism in London to the global destruction of wildlife. What especially impresses me is the physicality of her writing. Ruth Padel`s travels in India and Southeast Asia (recorded in her book `Tigers in Red Weather') have served her well - the descriptions of the forest and jungle, the insects and heat, are equally vivid - and the final `lord of life' scene is breathtaking. This certainly will be one of the outstanding novels published this year.
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Format: Paperback
I love a novel where you don't only get a strong narrative, but also a facinating insight into a world that is new to you: Ruth Padel descriptions of the natural world remain as a vivid images in my head. A beautifully written novel I found it unputdownable.
Bryony Doran. Writer
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Format: Paperback
I read a review of this book in the Independent which encouraged me to seek it out. It is a first novel but Ruth Padel is a successful poet and campaigner on wildlife issues. Her poetic ability shines through. The book is beautifully written. Her descriptions of human activities against wildlife are horrifying. The result is a moving and engaging novel which I found hard to put down until I had finished it.
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