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The Snakes

3.31  ·  Rating details ·  3,593 ratings  ·  583 reviews
'I wonder if it hurts them to shed their skins,’ she said. She didn’t feel afraid standing in the darkness, imagining snakes, even with the smell of death in the air.

Bea and Dan, recently married, let out their tiny flat to escape London for a few precious months. Driving down through France they visit Bea’s dropout brother Alex at the hotel he runs in Burgundy. Disturbing
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published March 7th 2019 by Chatto Windus
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Average rating 3.31  · 
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 ·  3,593 ratings  ·  583 reviews

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Chelsea Humphrey
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chelsea by: Harper
"I wonder if it hurts them to shed their skins."

Hello friends, and thank you for joining me on what might be the strangest reading journey I've embarked on yet. Usually, if I edit a star rating on one of my reviews, I'm typically knocking it down a peg because, the more I've thought on it, the more I decided I had let the initial high of the book cloud my unbiased judgement. I can't say for sure, but this might be the first time I've actually bumped a review up an entire star after careful thoug
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sadie Jones mirrors a number of contemporary issues in this hugely engaging novel of family, marriage and the insidious corruption and deadly damage that the love of money wreaks. Beatrice Temple is a committed psychotherapist, married to the mixed race Dan, living a modest life in a small flat in London, struggling to make ends meet. Dan has been unable to establish a career as an artist, working in a soul destroying occupation as a estate agent which he can no longer bear as he finds himself q ...more
Amalia Gkavea
’We were a family and now we’re not any more. We’re the wrong number. It’s all wrong. I can’t cry. I can’t.’’

The times we live in are uncertain, turbulent, obscure. Financial insecurity, fear caused by leaders who dream of generating the Third World War, Nazi and Soviet sympathizers in power, presidents who believe themselves to be modern sultans, members leaving the Union they fought hard to form. Utter degradation of every basic human value, absence of feelings, absence of respect. This is o
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Well, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where my opinion changed so dramatically from beginning to end as this one. In the beginning, I couldn’t relate to the characters and I found the plot boring. I was ready to set it aside. But I persevered and I’m glad I did. By the end, I was totally engrossed.

Bea and Dan, a young couple, recently married, decide to escape their lives and take off for a few months through France. They already seem to be having quite a few problems for newlyweds. Dan hat
Liz Barnsley
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
It's a shame because 80% of "The Snakes" was an easy 5* for me and I fully expected that to be my rating and that I would write a wholly positive review.

Sadly it's not to be but we'll start with the really good stuff. The Snakes is for the most part a beautifully complex and beautifully written family drama - following one family through a tragedy that rips the band aid off the many hidden truths in their past. It is thought provoking, melancholy, emotionally resonant and vaguely disconcerting t
3.5 Stars

I am not a fan of snakes, but love my horror and after catching a glimpse of this cool cover, I was drawn in....and fooled. So....for those of you who steer clear of traditional horror novels, have no fear here....not really.

There are some snakes though....but mostly a treacherous humanoid variety. There's a creepy hotel I would not inhabit and a dysfunctional family with filthy rich, disgustingly hurtful parents....who have a horror of a secret.

THE SNAKES is a slow burn and a dark tal

Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Bea and Dan have decided to leave London for a few months. They first travel to Burgundy to see Alex, Bea’s brother, at the hotel he runs. The scene is disturbing when they arrive. Alex is alone in the beaten up hotel; however, there is a nest of snakes in the attic.

Alex and Bea’s parents, Liv and Griff, come to visit, whom Dan does not know because Bea has kept them apart. Liv and Griff are wealthy and kind, and Dan has no idea why Bea has not let them get to know each other. A tragedy happens
Copy furnished by Net Galley for the price of a review.  A "wish for" that was granted.

Snakes - they are reptiles.  Slithering and hissing, coldblooded and creepy.  Did you know there are warmblooded snakes, as well?  They look completely different, but are just as vile.  Yessssss, I'm talking about human snakes.  Poisonous, treacherous, apt to play serpentine games.  Does this brand of snake shed its skin?  If so, what lies beneath?  In a dilapidated hotel in France, there are nests of snakes i
Aug 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brilliantly gripping dark thriller.

This was my first Sadie Jones read and it appears that I've been missing out, on the plus side I went into this with zero expectations so was caught completely unaware by how desperate I wanted to finish this one.

The story follows young Dan and Bea who want to escape their modest life in London and decide to travel across Europe.
Early on in their journey they decided to stop off at Bea brothers hotel in France.

It's quite apparent early on that theres a dysfu
Shelve under Horror. Possibly the most misanthropic book I’ve read in some while. The ending of the book, seemingly imported from another book, is just a giant F*#k You to the reader. Content warning for ultra violence at the end. The shortcuts of utter hopelessness and blatant nihilism felt lazy and uncreative. I finished feeling angry this book even exists, but it made me appreciate even more what other writers and artists have given us in the face of despair. What a fitting wrap to 2019 - hop ...more
Ron Charles
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sadie Jones's “The Snakes” is the perfect antidote to a relaxing summer’s day. Her title practically hisses the story’s symbolic implication, pricking those ancient warnings embedded in the Garden of Eden and the face of Medusa. And the novel’s contemporary setting exhibits the markings of Gothic terror, with wry allusions to Frankenstein, Edgar Allan Poe and even Stephen King. But Jones coils all these old elements around new anxieties involving race and class — and then constricts until fresh ...more
Dec 28, 2018 rated it liked it
I loved most of this book, but if I had a hardcover in my hand, instead of my kindle, I might have thrown it across the room at the "end." Quotation marks - because there is no end to this novel. The author simply stops writing.

Snakes is a deep, complicated, multi-layered novel. I didn't expect Jones to give us a neat ending with all the loose ends tied up in a bow. But I did expect something, some moment of understanding, maybe, in return for the hours of my life I invested in her story.

book rat
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
I would recommend this book to people. I want other people to read it, because I want to discuss it with them. The writing was crisp and clean, the characters knowable, the themes elegantly considered. The whole thing was largely very successful.

So why two stars?

The book hinged on a married couple dealing with the wife's wealthy background. The wife wanted nothing to do with her family's money. The husband thought maybe using some of the money wasn't such a bad thing. The author presents both s
I listened to “The Snakes” by Sadie Jones, performed by Imogene Church on Amazon’s Audible. For me, Imogene Church’s performance made this story. Church has an amazing range in her voice. Each character had a distinct voice, and I found it amazing that it was only one narrator.

The story is depressive and horrible. Again, the reason I kept listening was Church. The writing is clever and author Jones is skilled. It’s the story itself that was, for me, difficult to get through. One must be in the r
Chris Haak
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book sounded so promising and I was really looking forward to reading it. But it was a largely disappointing read.
I'm not sure what Sadie Jones's intention was with this book. Is it about family? Money? Love? Abuse? Is it a thriller? A realistic novel? Drama? I think Jones wanted too much, the result being unsatisfying. There were some excellent parts, very thrilling as well, but then there were also large parts, which went nowhere and were unbelievable and annoying. All in all, the book is
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Meet the Adamsons. They are an ultra-rich family who can only be called venomous. The father, Griff, made an obscene amount of money as an exploitive slum landlord and his attractive wife, Liv, is a malignant narcissist who has done great emotional harm to at least one of her children.

Their youngest, Bea (referred mockingly by her father as St Beatrice) somehow escaped from this snake pit and lives frugally with her husband Dan, a handsome mixed-race, impoverished man who has dreams of followin
Mel (Epic Reading)
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I wasn't actually expecting any real snakes to be featured in this book (regardless of its title). However I was pleasantly surprised to leave that the use of snake in the title wasn't just metaphorical when a few slithering friends showed up. Broken into four parts, The Snakes is a character study that has little plot besides that which everyday life would gives us all; family problems, marriage troubles, insecurity, financial woes, etc. There is nothing particularly special about Sadie Jones n ...more
3.5 stars.. write more in a bit
Okay, I'm still not entirely sure what I think of this book. I've gone back and forth a lot on what sort of rating to give this book, since the entire time I was reading I thought it was 'meh' but by the end I had such a visceral reaction.

The first section of the book was mostly a drawn out fancy dinner discussion about privilege, ethics, etc, amongst only rich white people, which was exhausting. I just didn't care about anything that they were talking about, an
switterbug (Betsey)
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"She wondered what level of wealth it took to rearrange the molecules."

This may be the bravest book that Sadie Jones has ever written, and truly, all of hers rear their defiant heads. She doesn’t land it as a deafening whack, more like a sober blow. You know that you are walking on a minefield when you are reading her novels; it’s with subtle baby steps that lead to the inevitable. You don’t wholly see it coming because it could have gone another way, the one you were expecting. Then hisssss, th
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Snakes proves there's nothing like good old family drama. Like super dysfunctional with major issues, and money plays a role here. The snakes were creepy to think about, but it's not a story about snakes. The entire thing is so odd yet very intriguing. I didn't like the characters, but I liked the story. It's thought provoking and ambiguous and absorbing. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review. ...more
Feb 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, overdrive
The story wasn’t bad but the pace was too slow. The first half of the book was glacial. The book also needed to lose about 150 pages. In the second half the plot kicked in and the pace picked up but the ending was too horrible to think about
Julie Parks
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller
Everything about this book seems explosive. I mean, imagine having this sensation under your chair while reading a book...

It's a very twisty book that spins out of the zone of predictable about halfway in.
I can't say I found it super shocking, the word that comes to mind the most is actually beautiful. And this feeling strangely lingers...even after that ending.

It's very atmospheric but not necessarily in a creepy crime genre kind of way. For me, reading this book made me more interested in visi
Stacey A.  Prose and Palate
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-reads
"He had conceived of forgiving his abuser. It was cruel it was always left to the victims to be the bigger person, the better person, and no real punishment for the ones who hurt them, who carried on unchanged and unpunished. His pain was nothing to her, she made it her pain. She took everything from him, even his death. And he had forgiven her. To love the person who had broken you. That was brave.....She dropped the folded letter, holding it out, so it wouldn't get caught in the vines. Then sh ...more
Sophie Whitbread
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
Unfortuantly this book was just not for me, I didn't connect with any of the characters at all and the writing style seemed to change throughout, which made it feel like more than one author had wrote this.

I didn't like the ending at all, and this knocked another star off of my rating!

I think this is a proper marmite read, you will either love this or hate it.
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Many thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers for this absorbing, thought-provoking ARC. Don't be misled by the title thinking it will be a horror story involving poisonous snakes. The snakes are only mentioned a few times and are of the harmless variety. This is a superbly written character driven novel which progresses at a slow pace, examining a twisted, very dysfunctional family, and the gradual strains on a marriage. The author examines in detail some very flawed characters and the ...more
All snakes are carnivores.
Snakes swallow their prey whole.
Snakes sleep with their eyes open.
Snakes do not hibernate. Instead they lie dormant biding their time.

Consider yourself warned.

Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve these creatures have had a bad rap. But in Sadie Jones's latest foray it is the two-legged variety that one must be wary of. The Snakes is a slow deliberate novel with little to no characters that warranted empathy. With power, privilege and moral corruption taking center sta
Dec 15, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
The nicest thing I can say about this novel is that the last half of it is not boring.
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank God this has just arrived as all my other reading choices seem to be falling flat in my ears.

Already adore Bea the main character for her goodness. Sadie Jones never fails to create fully realised characters that feel like people you've met and know well by the time you finish her novels. Every character in this book, major or minor, succeeds on these terms.

A dark and powerful novel that is a state of the nation metaphor for the times we're living through now. Greed and lust for money smo
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
oooooooooooooooooooooohmygod. Ten thousand emotions and an ending I did not see coming. A literary family thriller, maybe? Marriage, how strong it is, how weak it is. Families -- dysfunctional. France, decaying hotels. Survivors. Surviving.

Here's how I described it to friends: if you want something that is a total beach read -- family dysfunction, a marriage challenged, tragic death, decaying French hotel -- but with a slightly literary style, this is that book. It's compulsively terribly irresi
Feb 24, 2020 rated it liked it
I was on the fence between 3 and 4 stars for this one, so a true rating of 3.5 rounded down. It was such a twisted, odd read, that it's really hard to rate. It seems strange to say I enjoyed, given a lot of the book made me feel super uncomfortable, but I did enjoy the read.

I wouldn't even begin to know how to define the genre of The Snakes. Its dark and depressing, and a book that just displays the absolute faults of the human race. The book centres on one family, and the aftermath of a traged
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was born in London, England, the daughter of a poet and an actress. Her father, Evan Jones, was born in Portland, Jamaica in 1927. He grew up on a banana farm, eventually moving to the United States, and from there to England in the 1950s. His most widely acclaimed work is "The Song of the Banana Man". Sadie's mother, Joanna Jones, was featured as an extra in various television series, including ...more

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