SPECTATOR - "MIGHT WELL BE THE BEST EVER USER'S MANUAL ON SWAMP SURVIVAL"
Two more reviews of Are Snakes Necessary today from the U.K. --
Geoffrey Wansell, The Daily Mail
Legendary film director De Palma (The Untouchables and Dressed To Kill) joins forces with a New York Times editor to write this engaging debut.
It’s pure pulp fiction, with a cast of characters who wouldn’t be out of place in a Quentin Tarantino movie.
Lee Rogers, a U.S. Senator, is cheating on his wife with a young videographer who is covering his campaign. Inevitably, rumours start and he asks his ‘fixer’ to sort out the mess.
The videographer flees to Paris, where she meets a photographer who is working on a new version of Hitchcock’s Vertigo, and who has been having an affair with the wife of one of Las Vegas’s richest men.
The stories quickly coalesce, with justice handed out in ever more lurid forms.
Told with great panache, it is richly entertaining, and the title is a homage to Preston Sturges’s film The Lady Eve, where Henry Fonda reads a book with this same title.
Jeff Noon, The Spectator
Brian De Palma brings his film director’s eye to Are Snakes Necessary? (Hard Case, £16.99), written in collaboration with the author Susan Lehman. The novel merges fierce political satire with the tale of a corrupt senator happy to cheat on his wife, despite her suffering from Parkinson’s disease. The latest object of his lust is a young videographer hired to record his campaign. Of course, things go from bad to worse and the senator is forced to call in a fixer to sort out the trouble. Terrible consequences ensue, all the way from Washington to Las Vegas to Paris. A globe-trotting sleaze-fest.
The story is pushed forward by the three drives of classic noir — sex, money and power, with the first two only seen as stepping stones on the way to the third. Everyone is either corrupt or on their way to being so. The book is giddy on its own pastiche. Yes, this is a film-maker’s novel, with the many short chapters acting like scenes in a movie and the characters painted in deft strokes, one or two emotions at a time. In truth, there is only one goal: to survive in the swamp pit. In which case, this might well be the best ever user’s manual on swamp survival.