Titles

Shooting Snakes

Shooting Snakes

R200.00

Maren Bodenstein

An old man is woken up by the wailing of a prophetess. Sitting on the veranda and staring into the dry veld he is beset with images of snakes hiding in the cellar beneath him. His peace is further disturbed by visits from his angry daughter, Susanna. Memories of his childhood on a remote mission station in Venda come flooding in.

An old man is woken up by the wailing of a prophetess. Sitting on the veranda and staring into the dry veld he is beset with images of snakes hiding in the cellar beneath him. His peace is further disturbed by visits from his angry daughter, Susanna. Memories of his childhood on a remote mission station in Venda come flooding in.

Johannes remembers his father’s internment at Koffiefontein during World War II, leaving him and his sister free to make friendships, explore the mythical forests that surround their house and to connect with the spirit world of the Bavenda . On his return, the missionary tries to impose order on the mission station with tragic consequences.

Maren Bodenstein

Maren Bodenstein

Maren Bodenstein grew up in the tiny village of Hermannsburg in Natal which was established around 1856 to provide support to German Lutheran missionaries in Zululand. Here they came to learn Zulu before being posted into remote rural areas and could send their children to the German Lutheran school. Maren’s grand and great grandparents were missionaries themselves and her parents were pupils and later teachers at Hermannsburg. She now lives with her husband on a Buddhist retreat.

This poignant, poetic novel interweaves a 1940s German mission childhood in the Venda heartland with the stark present for an ailing father and his troubled daughter. The evocative images and provocative questions persist long after the final page.
Beverley Naidoo

“In Shooting Snakes the past is a powerful and insistent presence. In the beguiling rhythms of the narrative, its carefully plotted to-and-fro chronology, lies a profound understanding of the vexed relationship between past and present. In this skilfully wrought novel, Maren Bodenstein brings to light a little-known aspect of South African history.”
David Medalie