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SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2012 COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARD



ON AN ISLAND
OFF THE EDGE OF THE MAP,
BOYS ARE DISAPPEARING.
The day the tall men come from the mainland to trade, Mary’s little brother goes missing. She needs to find him. She needs to know a secret that no-one else can tell her.



Jess Richards’ stunning debut will show you crows who become statues and sisters who get tangled in each other’s hair, keys that talk and ghosts who demand to be buried. She combines a page-turning narrative and a startlingly original voice with the creation and subversion of myths.

Reviews

Jess Richards's debut is a cornucopia of secrets and surprises, written in a bright, sassy style. The author is exuberantly inventive in creating a bitter-sweet world of magical transformations.
<i>Independent</i>
A terrific story, quirky and wildly original.
Joanne Harris
Richards handles her ambitions with aplomb. SNAKE ROPES is partly an extended meditation on trauma and healing, and the trauma is handled so well that the reader is exactly as upset as she needs to be to follow through . . . SNAKE ROPES reminds us that the act of storytelling is in itself a form of resolution.
<i>Guardian</i>
Richards skilfully alternates between Mary and Morgan and their stories, touching on themes such as the transmission of folk wisdom, the creation of myths and violence against women.
<i>Financial Times</i>
From the islanders' subtle creole to their myths of sea and sky and earth, Jess Richards has nurtured a remarkable community, their home glimpsed in the sea-mist like a new Avalon. Angela Carter or Laura Esquivel would have been proud of this.
<i>We Love This Book</i>
A mystical book where a harsh self-sufficient lifestyle meets myths, legends and magic . . . an unusual, haunting debut novel.
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