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Where the Serpent Lives

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  29 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
There was a time when it seemed as if the whole world was in love with Rosamund. Then she married Tyler and lost herself. A dramatic and unexpected return to India seems to offer her a chance for renewal, but can her family survive the changes she must make to save herself?
Paperback, 308 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Little Brown and Company
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Rebecca Foster
Jul 25, 2011 Rebecca Foster rated it liked it
Shelves: nature, science
For a novel by a nature-loving poet, Where the Serpent Lives struck me as surprisingly plot-driven. There are domestic English dramas – a husband’s adultery, a son’s drug use and descent into chavvy habits – along with rather obvious romantic entanglements and a sly buildup to the events of 7/7. I preferred the more wild setting of the subplot: herpetologists in India. Several of the most enjoyable themes from Padel’s poetry (at least in the two collections I’ve read, The Soho Leopard and Darwin ...more
David Hebblethwaite
Mar 07, 2010 David Hebblethwaite rated it liked it
Where the Serpent Lives is the first novel by the poet Ruth Padel. I didn’t know much about Padel prior to reading the book, but the author biography mentioned that she’d been acclaimed for her nature writing – and, straight away, it was easy to see why. I found the first scene, which describes an encounter with a king cobra in the jungles of India, to be wonderfully intense, making poetry out of the precise language of science. Sadly, the novel never quite reached that level of intensity again. ...more
May 23, 2010 DubaiReader rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Jenny, SusieH
Shelves: library, 2010
A wildlife novel.

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 watch
Katrina Tan
Jan 11, 2011 Katrina Tan rated it liked it
Engaging and interesting, but falls so easily into sentimentality.
Sasha Martinez
Oct 04, 2011 Sasha Martinez added it
Shelves: 2010
Could’ve been, if not great, then good enough, a respectable first venture into fiction. But it’s an ambitious novel that fails. There’s no doubt where Padel’s talents lie; Padel–who happens to be the great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin–turns her narrative eye to nature, assigns her lyricism to the plights of the jungles of India and the odd badger in England. So much vividness in her exploration of ecological issues, the characterization of animals here and there.

However, I couldn’t hel
Jul 27, 2016 Meghan rated it it was ok
Shelves: general-fiction
Well that was depressing.

There is a lot of very graphic scenes in this book about the state of endangered species in India and the corruption of the law and guards protecting them as well as the plight of wild animals living in urban spaces, and a brief mention of endangered animal black market imports to china, I won’t go into detail as It was very upsetting to read, especially the badger hunting scene, and made me angry that money is more important than preserving a species and that animals al
Dec 30, 2011 Ryan rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, nature
Rather disappointing coming after 'Tigers in Red Weather', which was an excellent non-fiction account of her travels in Asia researching the status of wild tigers.

Being the author's first work of fiction, it shows in the often inappropriate similes and descriptions she uses for her characters' behavior and thoughts. I expected much more of the story to be in India given the title and the author's background as a Nature/Science writer, but we only get mere glimpses and no more than a couple doze
Bronwyn Hegarty
Nov 26, 2012 Bronwyn Hegarty rated it really liked it
This is an intriguing book seemingly about snakes in the jungle. it is also about human snakes, in particular a philandering husband and his wife who suffers his infidelities for the opulent lifestyle he provides.

Richard the snake man studies serpents in India in particular the cobra. The story switches between India and London and two families. It was a really interesting and a very sad book.
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Ruth is a British poet and writer. Her most recent book The Mara Crossing is a mixed-genre meditation on migration, prose and poetry. She has published eight poetry collections, a novel, and eight books of non-fiction, including three on reading poetry. She also presents Radio 4′s Poetry Workshop, visiting poetry groups across the UK to discuss their poems.

Her awards include First Prize in the UK
More about Ruth Padel...

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