Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Snake Ropes-Jess Richards

Snake Ropes-Jess Richards

the facts
satisfaction: side
pages: 342
gender: F (queer)
year: 2012

Set on an isolated island off the Scottish coast, in a community run by women who are in awe of a mysterious structure called the Thrashing House, the novel is narrated by two teenage girls in very different circumstances. Mary is doing her best to protect her younger brother, Barney, as the island’s sons are mysteriously disappearing. Morgan is scheming to escape the prison her parents have made of their home. The two girls unite, each on a desperate mission in which secrets will be revealed and lives changed forever

Pretty bizarre. You're never quite sure what is real or what is meant to be real or whether this whole thing is a fantasy or fairy tale. Not even the realistic parts were very believable so I'm inclined to want the whole book to have been complete fairy tale. But there was an annoying thread of this must have been set within the tapestry of reality running through. I didn't really enjoy it, I couldn't follow what was going on so I couldn't lose myself into it. It would have been better had it all been fantasy but instead the setting ruined it all for me. A pity, because the setting was quite nice without the strange fantastical moments.

I almost most enjoyed the parts of the book set in Morgan's life. Trapped in her house with a mentally unstable mother, this was a world I could both believe and follow the events in. But this was partially the problem with the book-jutxaposing the highly dysfunctional but quite realistic story with the unreal island story just jarred. I guess there was just too much in this story (Selkies, Rapunzel, a whipping house, etc) and it never really came together satisfactorily. The narrative meandered too much-we learned far too little about the characters and yet they did so much. It was a bit stagnant.

The book does end on a nice ideal that I think made the whole strong matriarchy clearly what we were supposed to be rooting for the whole time. Mary has faced her problems and now needs to heal from her ordeal and Morgan has a vision of them living together. Their feminine bond supporting each other and furthering the healing ends the book on a hopeful note.h

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