ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- A rural family mystery, this is a two-parter beginning in 1968 with the disappearance of Mum. As Christos Tsiolkas notes the 'sparse poetry of the writing' of this first part has an old-timey strangeness that beguiles. Feisty, young JJ rails against the lack of proper answers to her questions. Dad, a farmer of few words, is not forthcoming and JJ's siblings manage their grief in their own ways. The second part, in 1982, is where the now young adult JJ again stirs the pot to find out what really happened.
This is a brooding mystery that looks at the power of patriarchy and the institutions that support it, and the quiet forbearance of the sisterhood. Craig Kirchner
It's a cold and wintery night in 1968 and ten-year-old JJ's mother isn't home. The cows are milked, the pigs fed, and her dad won't answer any questions.
The four children survive as best they can in a cloud of their father's lies and clear misery, dealing with their mother's absence in their own ways. But it's always been JJ's job to cause trouble, and her sleuthing wreaks havoc in their tight-knit community.
Fourteen years on, JJ has a new life, a loving partner and a good job, but she finds herself being pulled back in to the unsolved mystery of her childhood. While pretending to have made peace with her father's dishonesty, she organises a final farewell for her mother so they can all put the past behind them. Will the tragic truth finally set them all free?
The Serpent's Skin is a gripping, literary crime novel about male power and the secrets that can haunt a family. Most of all, it's about the many ways we prove our love.
This novel ushers in Erina Reddan as a brilliant new voice in Australian fiction.
"The Serpent's Skin is a powerful, gripping read, with a cast of complex, satisfyingly original characters. Erina Reddan has written a rich, memorable Australian novel." Graeme Simsion