Genre/Keywords: Literary Fiction
Length: 170 pages (ebook) | 192 pages (paperback)
Publisher: Leaping Goat Press
Release date: August 27, 2014 (ebook) | July 3, 2014 (paperback)
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks
Angela Tyler has spent the greater part of her life in suspension between the world of the small Midwestern farm she grew up on, and her current life in Northern California as the wife of a college professor and mother of three. When her father dies and the family farm is sold, betrayals both small and large are brought to the surface. Angela faces these betrayals and finds new ground to stand on.
Symbolic of transformation, snakes form the bedrock of Angela’s narrative as she examines her relationship to her father, family, the land, and her life. Highly recommended, Snakes is a transformative, engaging, and seductive story about life’s insoluble contradictions.
Reviews of Snakes:
“It’s rare to find fiction that combines such alive characters with imagery that is so poetic.”
– Adam Frey, Writer and Arts Administrator
“Patricia Damery’s protagonist in Snakes speaks in a compelling, fresh, and immediate voice. From the first page, I was taken in by the powerful, precise language and cinematic action. The woman weaves snake stories and lore together with the threads of her life, forming a tapestry layered with knowledge of love, pain, joy, passion, and loss. Her feminine initiation, embedded in the rhythms of farming, engages her identity as daughter, wife, and mother, and delves into layers of the soul.”
– Virginia Beane Rutter, Jungian analyst, author of Woman Changing Woman, Celebrating Girls, Embracing Persephone
“Perhaps it is the skill required by the high craft of weaving that allows Damery to write multi-metaphorically, or the sheer simplicity of her storytelling. The straightforward language and structure can support the artistry of numerous images, which interlock and reinforce each other in a way I’ve not often seen.
So what is Snakes about? It is about the Risks we take, both major and minor, that coalesce over time to define our lives. It is about the Fear of the little things and Fear of the big things, and at the end of the day, the month, the season, and our lives, finding out that it was a shorter distance to Love than we thought. It’s about Mistakes and Regrets, and how necessary they both are to a life well and fully lived. It’s about the Earth and the Sea; the Individual and the Familial; Respect and Trust; Youth and Age. But most of all, Snakes is about finding one’s place in the Universe and how that journey is formed.”
– New Mystics, Joey Madia, author of Jester-Knight
“For Angela to come to terms with herself and the disintegration of families and farms, she must come to terms with snakes. Her weavings become her medium and her message, the storyboard of her life as it was and as it is, all the memories, dreams and reflections of a nurturing mother claiming her authentic role within the natural order of children and husbands, kitchens and bedrooms, warm tidal pools and freshly ploughed fields, and gardens where snakes live amongst the flowers.”
– Malcolm R. Campbell, author of “ Garden of Heaven: an Odyssey, ” a hero’s journey novel
“If I could give my confused and disoriented younger self, just one book to read, it would be Snakes. Why Snakes? Because it would give her courage and hope. She would understand that her way of being and seeing has value and beauty. Angela, the first person narrator and central character in “Snakes” does not suffer from the problem of my younger self. She is both mother and artist— a weaver. Weaving is her medium and her way of perceiving. Her voice weaves a rich tapestry of many threads: the bodily sensations of her milk letting down when her baby cries…the emotional trials of parenting two prepubescent boys … her spirited conversations with her dead father, her marital issues and lusty love for her husband, her memories of the small family farm she grew up on and her grief about the loss of that way of life, her meditations on her ancestors, her fear of snakes, her fascination with snakes and the myth she tells her sons about a shape-shifting serpent and his human bride.”
– Naomi Ruth Lowinsky, Jungian analyst, poet and author, sisterfrombelow.com