July 2019 Indie Next List
“Breathless. This novel left me absolutely breathless. I found beauty in the multiple layers of sadness and tragedy of the characters and felt a unique sense of closeness to the main character. Jones has delivered an enthralling tale of personal exploration, leading us through scenes full of deep and raw emotion that leave the reader unsure where to place their alliance. Superb!”
— Jennifer Morrow, Bards Alley, Vienna, VA
“The Snakes is many things—a parable and an ancient drama where a father’s greed devours his children, a police procedural, an avid take on tabloid venality, and a bitter comedy, superbly observed. Sadie Jones writes with pitiless aplomb and corrosive intelligence.”—Louise Erdrich
A chilling page-turner and impossible to put down, THE SNAKES is Sadie Jones at her best: breathtakingly powerful, brilliantly incisive, and utterly devastating.
This gripping novel by Sadie Jones tells the tense and violent story of the Adamsons, a dysfunctional English family, with exceptional wealth, whose darkest secrets come back to bite them. Set mostly in rural France during contemporary times, THE SNAKES is an all-consuming read and a devastating portrait of how money corrupts, and how chance can deal a deadly hand.
THE SNAKES exposes the damage wreaked by parents on children as observed by a new member of the family, Dan, a mixed-race man from Peckham who marries Bea, the daughter who refuses to take any of her father’s filthy money. But when Bea’s brother Alex (who runs a shabby hotel in Paligny, France) dies suddenly in unexplained circumstances, the confusion and suspicion which arise bring other dark family secrets—and violence—to the surface. And none of the family, even the good members, go untouched.
About the Author
Sadie Jones is the author of five novels, including The Outcast, winner of the Costa First Novel Award in Great Britain and a finalist for the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Los Angeles TimesBook Prize/Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction; the enchanting, hard-hitting novel set on the island of Cyprus during the British occupation, Small Wars; her most successful, bestselling novel The Uninvited Guests, beloved of Ann Patchett and Jackie Winspear, among other; the romantic novel set in London's glamorous theatre world, Fallout; and most recently, the highly acclaimed, bestselling novel, The Snakes. Sadie Jones lives in London.
“A creepy, scary novel about the corrosive effects of money and power and parenthood… Jones…has an Ian McEwan-esque ability to provoke tension and anxiety… I would walk a long distance to procure one of Jones’s daring, interesting, beautifully written, atmospheric books.”
— New York Times Book Review
“Deliciously wicked…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…She’s pursuing a wholly original story about the repercussions of trauma…The criminal story that emerges grows more shocking because of the rare quality of brutality in Jones’s prose…She excels at drawing us into tender sympathy with her characters even as she coolly subjects them to the most monstrous treatment. The result is hypnotic—like staring into the serpent’s eyes just before it strikes.”
— Ron Charles, Washington Post
“A provocative and astute writer…The Snakes asks serious questions about human nature, avarice and justice, wrapped in the fast-paced rhythms of a thriller. It is written with Jones’s trademark economy and a fierce attention to the nuances of familial cruelty…I finished The Snakes with a juddering heart, strangely close to tears.”
“Jones’ portrayal of a dysfunctional family is as powerful as her depiction of provincial France in all its ‘tasteful narrowness’ and her merciless examination of greed, class and corruption…The book’s desperate last act may constitute a jolting change of gear and direction, but that matters little because the events that unfold are so electrifying.”
— Malcom Forbes, Book Street USA
“Ever since her debut, The Outcast, Jones has peopled her propulsive plots with nuanced, dimensional creations, imbued with human failings and graces. The Snakes is no exception…Jones crafts a pitiless shock ending; a denouement that refuses closure and resonates long after the book is set aside, because of its appalling implications… [The ending is] bound to become a talking point.”
— Financial Times
“Sadie Jones has composed a fast-paced story, a reflection on the dysfunctional family of origin that questions principles/values and the sins that are committed in the wake of their disregard. Like the sound of the snakes moving across the hotel attic floor, ‘The Snakes’ will haunt you long after you’ve finished this book.”
“Corrosive secrets are slowly revealed as the story comes to a heart-pounding conclusion…Don’t be misled by the title. Although a few creepy reptiles make an appearance, the real snakes in this twisty story are human ones. Another memorable novel from the versatile Jones.”
— Library Journal, Starred Review
“Jones’s propulsive yet thoughtful fifth novel grips readers from the first page…a tightly crafted, deeply moving, and thrilling story about how money corrupts and all the myriad ways members of a family can ruin each other.”
— Publishers Weekly
“All families are dysfunctional in some way, but some, like Bea’s family, ratchet dysfunction to dizzying heights… An understated, yet page-turning story.”
“Snakes as temptation, snakes as untrustworthy people, snakes as dangerous reptiles—all present and accounted for in this suspenseful drama of an ultrarich, dysfunctional British family… A well-executed, character-driven cross between domestic drama and crime thriller.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“The Snakes is many things—a parable and an ancient drama where a father’s greed devours his children, a police procedural, an avid take on tabloid venality, and a bitter comedy, superbly observed, where behind a woman’s eyes she is ‘all movement inside herself, like a wasp in a glass.’ I admit that I’m still shaken by parts of this novel. Sadie Jones writes with pitiless aplomb and corrosive intelligence.”
— Louise Erdrich
“Finished The Snakes by Sadie Jones in the small hours last night. Gripping from the outset, then finally unputdownable. The writing is magnificent. One of the most powerful and uncompromising novels I’ve read in years.”
— Jonathan Coe