The Serpentine Cave, Paperback

The Serpentine Cave Paperback

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


When Marion's mother is silenced, first by a stroke, and then by death, she is left confronting the chaotic detritus of a life obsessively devoted to art. she has left it too late to ask the crucial questions about scenes confusedly remembered from her childhood, and above all about the identity of her own father, 'lost in the war'.

Out of the hundreds of paintings in her mother's studio, one, a portrait of a young man, is inscribed 'For Marion'.

Is this her father? And who was he? Marion's search takes her to the Cornish town of St Ives.

In the remote and closeknit town where communities of fisherfolk and artists have coexisted for many years, she learns of a tragedy which is intrinsically tied up with her father's life.

Over fifty years before, the St Ives lifeboat went down with all hands bar one.

Marion must delve deep into the past to discover the identity of a man she never knew,a nd in so doing confront the demons which have tortured her own adult life.

The Serpentine Cave is an imagined story containing a true one - a powerful novel about memory and loss, birth and rebirth, and past regrets which still have the power to plague the present.




Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Showing 1 - 1 of 1 reviews.

Review by

(16 Aug 2011)Having met the author at the Iris Murdoch conference in 2010, I have been vaguely looking out for her books since, and added two of them to the August charity shop haul I seem to be working my way through at the moment. I felt really upset for her when I found some glaring editorial errors in this book (published by Black Swan): an artist’s “pallett” (and art is a big theme: it is spelled correctly the other times it’s used), and the central character wakes up in one bedroom and goes to bed that evening in a different one, which was odd indeed. A well-done story but maybe a bit slight – I was expecting more bulk, somehow. But I liked the locals in the book, the Cornwall setting, and I will read more of hers.

Also by Jill Paton Walsh   |  View all