Snakes speaks to the creative tension between life-and-death urgency and the transcendence that inhabits the slower everyday realm — the quotidian, the known and the mysterious. The novel combines two narrative voices: Hanna and an anonymous framing narrator, N. Hanna's story tangles with, and separates from that of N, a neighbor to Hanna and oddly omniscient. They both are at a loss in the dark woods of middle age. Both are burdened with long-held grief while struggling in their marriages. N's solution to these intractable dilemmas is an assemblage of found and created material, including her child's diary, her adult journal, and shards from her dissertation research on Anna Karenina. Hanna's story continues as a distinct and different thread throughout, as she resolutely begins to claim her own life.
For all the sense of pathos and emergency — both individual and societal — the novel and its mode of construction honors the beauty of the impermanent and transient, and takes solace in an everyday immersion in detritus. The snakes of the title appear throughout the book, a fundamental earthy power that cannot be denied or ignored.
Praise for Snakes and the Songs of All Other Birds series:
Nothing passes. The birdsong, an accompaniment to the life, spills out on the page and invites us in. Not fiction, nor memoir, nor scholarship, nor poetry—this book is none, yet all, of these: a bracingly original, deeply moving patchwork quilt, a feast for the eyes, ears, and mind. Songs of All Other Birds is a tribute to family, to memory, to the spoken and written word, to books and those who create and tend them, and a gift to those who read. Songs of All Other Birds takes the reader on a gripping emotional and intellectual journey through a life glimpsed in scraps, yet possessed of profound human meaning and order.
- Carol Apollonio, author Dostoevsky's Secrets: Reading Against the Grain.
A brilliant, funny, moving volume by an unusual and accomplished writer. Amey Miller shuffles and reshuffles an eccentric deck of memory, place, history, tragedy, literature and language, intimacy, irony, fleeting sensory embodiment, and narrative.
- Sylvia Rodriguez, author Acequia: Water Sharing, Sanctity, and Place.
$24, $5 s&h and $2.17 tax
full-color hardback, 160 pages
[link will open Paypal to complete your purchase]