Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Snakes” as Want to Read:
The Snakes
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Snakes

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  1,773 ratings  ·  357 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.
...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published March 7th 2019 by Chatto Windus
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Snakes, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Francesca Pashby
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.42  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,773 ratings  ·  357 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Snakes
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
...more
Paromjit
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 ...more
Amalia Gavea
’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
...more
Liz
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
...more
Carol
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

...more
Zoeytron
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 in the
...more
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
...more
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
...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
Jenna
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 - ...more
Barbara
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
...more
Carolyn
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.

Jones
...more
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
...more
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 ...more
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
...more
Jill
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
...more
Jypsy
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.
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,
...more
Madeline
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,
...more
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
...more
Carolyn
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
Michelle
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
...more
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 ...more
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
...more
Ella
I got an ARC of this in an Indiespensable box a long time ago, and I finally got round to reading it. (Totally unrelated to this book, they should make all books more like print ARCs in that there is loads of space and the words are nice and big. We old eyes appreciate such things.) I had real emotions while reading this. I was affected by the family and the marriage and the many unthinking and deliberate ways these people who loved each other (or hated each other) couldn't get past their own ...more
Annette
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
...more
Tory
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
USE A DAMN SEMICOLON OR DASH ONCE IN A WHILE, run-on sentences with overused commas are really gross, seriously stop doing it please.

Um. So everyone else is incensed that there wasn't an ending, and that was kind of my favorite part of this book? But I'm not saying I liked the book. The first third was intriguing, but then THE WHOLE SECOND THIRD??????? (Which is where I got within about 90% of the way to quitting tbh.) I don't know if the whole premise was that British-ism of "shan't ruffle
...more
Roman Clodia
3.5 stars

What a mash-up of a novel! The beginning is slow and I didn't find Jones's prose as stellar as I have in the past. It takes a while for the plot to get going and even the characterization is somehow a bit blurry in comparison with Jones's usual scalpel-like precision. Then it all suddenly takes off with the corrupting influence of money and dysfunctional family: the nest of snakes in the attic is both entirely apposite and yet a bit crude in its obviousness. Then a death... and a final
...more
Bettie
Mar 01, 2019 marked it as maybe


The Snakes by Sadie Jones review – the abusive power of money This propulsive novel about venomous parenting is a serious investigation of avarice and justice, wrapped in the rhythms of a thriller
Eleanor
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
An impressively sinister slow-burner of a novel about a couple whose plan to take a few months out goes immediately awry when they visit wife Beatrice’s brother Alex at his non-functioning hotel in France. Jones is terrifically, and terrifyingly, perceptive on the emotional claustrophobia of wealthy families, on the warping effects of dishonesty in a marriage when both partners come from very different social backgrounds, and on the frustrating culs-de-sac of French bureaucracy and law. The ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Body Lies
  • The Porpoise
  • Big Sky (Jackson Brodie, #5)
  • Late in the Day
  • The Confessions of Frannie Langton
  • Akin
  • Fleishman Is in Trouble
  • The Man Who Saw Everything
  • The Need
  • The Truants
  • Oligarchy
  • What Red Was
  • The Body in Question
  • Platform Seven
  • Kill [redacted]
  • Girl, Woman, Other
  • Sweet Sorrow
  • The Language of Birds
See similar books…
255 followers
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
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“Attention, taken to its highest degree, is the same thing as prayer.” 0 likes
“The night they decided to leave London Bea had a dream.” 0 likes
More quotes…