Shaindel's Reviews > The Snake's Pass

The Snake's Pass by Bram Stoker
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May 29, 2008

really liked it
Recommended to Shaindel by: found it at Duffy's in Dublin, down the street from Trinity U.
Recommended for: Stoker fans, Irish lit fans, people who study post-colonialism
Read in January, 1999

I can't believe I forgot to add this! I just thought about it when I saw that Dracula was still on my "currently reading" shelf and got recommendations of "More books by Bram Stoker."

This is Stoker's little known, and seldomly written about first novel. I did my first Master's thesis (the Humanities University of Chicago one) on this novel and Dracula as two different interpretations of the Irish land war. At the time, I think I was the first person outside of Ireland to write scholarly work on this novel.

Anyway, many people hate it and think it's horribly written. What you MUST understand is that Stoker is writing an Imperial Adventure Romance--think of H. Rider Haggard's _She_, where a proper gentleman goes to a strange country, falls in love with a woman of another race, and colonialism ensues. The interesting thing here (to me, anyway) is that it is an Englishman and an Irish "peasant" woman, so the issues of social class are really interesting. There is also an interesting unease about what race she really is since she is "Black Irish"; it's as if even her having black hair throws the entire novel into a bevy of racist jokes at times.

You can also see that Stoker is *thinking* of writing something *like* Dracula, if not Dracula itself, because the evil moneylender in this novel (the villian) is "the very devil himself," "he'll bleed you dry," etc.

I wrote something like 80 pages on this novel and Dracula, so I obviously thought something worthwhile was there...
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