"Irene marries Rex in the aftermath of the Second World war, when misalliances are the order of the day. Irene is restless and rebellious, dangerously bored by her life as a farmer's wife. Rex, a former soldier, suffers Irene's moods and taunts helplessly, and their two children grow up amid tensions beyond their understanding. Set within a parched, uniquely Australian landscape Snake is a powerful story of thwarted desires and broken dreams."
"...irresistibly good." - Shirley Hazzard
"Kate Jennings' style is as spare and compelling as the landscape of her native country. The reader can feel the heat and smell the disillusionment of this Australian rural scene captured in breathtaking detail." - Jill Ker Conway
Everybody likes you. A good man. Decent. But disappointed. Who wouldn't be? That wife. Those children.
Your wife. You love and cherish her. You like to watch her unobserved, through a window, across a road or a paddock, as if you were a stranger and knew nothing about her. You admire her springy hair, slow smile, muscled legs, confident bearing. If this woman were your wife, your chest would swell with pride.
She is your wife, she despises you. The coldness, the forbearing looks, the sarcastic asides, they are constant. She emasculates you with the sure blade of her contempt. The whirring of the whetstone wheel, the strident whine of steel being held to it, that is the background noise to the nightmare of your days.
From the Minerva paperback edition, 1996.
This page and its contents are copyright © 2005 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.Return to Kate Jennings page.
Last modified: May 8, 2005.