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Extended Audio Sample Snakewoman of Little Egypt: A Novel Audiobook, by Robert Hellenga Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (305 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert Hellenga Narrator: Coleen Marlo Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2010 ISBN: 9781400187911
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On the morning of his fortieth birthday, anthropology professor Jackson Jones contemplates his future: Should he go back to Africa, where he did his fieldwork, and live with the Mbuti, or should he marry and settle down in the Midwest, where he now teaches?

On the morning of her release from prison, Sunny, who grew up in a snake-handling church in the Little Egypt region of Southern Illinois, rents a garage apartment from Jackson. She’s been serving a five-year sentence for shooting, but not killing, her husband, the pastor of the Church of the Burning Bush with Signs Following after he forced her at gunpoint to put her arm in a box of rattlesnakes.

Sunny and Jackson become lovers, but they’re pulled in different directions. Sunny, drawn to science and eager to put her snake-handling past behind her, enrolls at the university. Jackson, however, takes a professional interest in the religious ecstasy exhibited by the snake handlers. Push comes to shove in a novel packed with wit, substance, and emotional depth. Snakewoman of Little Egypt delivers Robert Hellenga at the top of his form.

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Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jessica | 2/20/2014

    " I picked this book up because the premise reminded me of Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake-Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia by Dennis Covington, one of my favorite non-fiction books of all time. I assumed it would be a fictional retelling of that story, and in a way it was I guess. Both books reference snake handling as a part of religious ritual, but that's where the similarities end. I wanted to like Snakewoman of Little Egypt, but truth be told, it was kind of a mess. The biggest problem for me was that I had a hard time getting attached to either Sunny or Jackson. They were both self-serving and generally unlikable, and after finishing the first few chapters, I no longer cared what happened to either of them. I also thought the setting was unnecessarily busy, and as a result, the story was all over the place and difficult to follow. Just because you can write a story involving snake handling, Paris, academia, prison life, and African pygmies doesn't mean you should. I liked Hellenga's writing style, but this book just didn't do it for me. Your mileage may vary. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy | 2/2/2014

    " Okay. Didn't blow my mind. A tad predictable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sara | 1/30/2014

    " This book maybe should have only gotten 2 stars due to some really stupid parts with language and sex, but overall it was a pretty interesting read. It told a story about a woman who goes to jail for shooting her husband (a preacher at a snake handling church) after he forces her to stick her arm in a box of rattle snakes. After 6 years in jail she has to start over and chooses to go to college. The people she meets, and the stories she tells from her past, as well as the inevitable encounters with her ex-husband make for an interesting read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maria | 1/27/2014

    " Interesting plot, definitely had an unexpected ending. I enjoyed the mix of anthropology and religion but felt that it was a bit overdone at times. However, the characters were intriguing and it was one of the more unique books I have read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ponch | 1/15/2014

    " I really enjoyed this book. It is an odd combination of characters but it really works. I would highly recommend this book and look forward to reading more from Robert Hellenga. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anne | 1/2/2014

    " It was good but perhaps too many loose ends. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maurice | 11/27/2013

    " Learn all you want to know about rattlesnakes, and the true location of the Garden of Eden (hint: it's in east Africa.) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donna | 4/16/2013

    " Thoroughly enjoyed this rich novel, and reminded after so long that Hellenga is a great storyteller. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amy | 1/11/2013

    " Interesting premise, but woefully underdeveloped characters. It did keep my attention to the end to find out what happened, but I didn't particularly care about the characters or understand why they did what they did. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Caitlin | 8/5/2012

    " I won this book in a good reads first reads contest. I'm really looking forward to reading this book, because I really like Egypt. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Margery | 3/13/2012

    " Pentacostal snake handlers - ugh - but I enjoyed her transformation and growth. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara | 1/24/2012

    " An unlikely couple comes together in the arcane worlds of snakehandling religion and academia. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leslie | 12/17/2011

    " Hellenga creates several unique and engaging characters in this tale about searching for love and oneself - too bad his ending feels so abrupt. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cheryl | 10/28/2011

    " An anthropology professor and ex-con ,snake handler share a house and take turns telling their stories. It is an interesting combination of scientist and religious fanatic. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Becky | 4/17/2011

    " Wildly diverse subject matter; from snake handlers and academics in Southern Illinois, to the M'buti in the Congo and vacations in Paris. There's a murder trial,lots of wild life, and biological information. Interesting, learned a lot and appreciated the description of life in southern Illinois. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tarrant | 4/11/2011

    " For a book that appears to be a relatively compact story (and is indeed) this book is a deep slow read and worth the time. Abuse, snake handling, jealousy, doubt and midlife looks at the direction of the characters lives...fascinating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Margaret | 3/7/2011

    " An ex-con who shot her husband when he stuck her hand in a snake box, an anthropology professor who studies the Mbuti and interpreting Carmina Burana. How could you not read this book? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andy | 3/1/2011

    " I wide ranging book which I enjoyed. It touches on so varied subjects taht opens up many avenues. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nora | 2/27/2011

    " I just could not get into this book and ended up skimming it. I was expecting less dialogue and more atmosphere. If you like Hellenga then this is a good book, but it didn't work for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Margery | 2/25/2011

    " Pentacostal snake handlers - ugh - but I enjoyed her transformation and growth. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maurice | 2/22/2011

    " Learn all you want to know about rattlesnakes, and the true location of the Garden of Eden (hint: it's in east Africa.) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julia | 2/21/2011

    " Well-written and fascinating novel -- learned about snake handling churches, pygmies, snake research, anthropology, and the necessity defense. Characters were well-formed and each fascinating in their own way. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Trinette | 2/7/2011

    " On third of the way through and it couldn't hold my interest. Life's too short for books I don't enjoy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anne | 1/30/2011

    " It was good but perhaps too many loose ends. "

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About the Author

Robert Hellenga was educated at the University of Michigan and Princeton. He is a professor at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, and the author of the novels The Sixteen Pleasures, The Fall of a Sparrow, Blues Lessons, Philosophy Made Simple, Snakewoman of Little Egypt, and The Italian Lover.

About the Narrator

Coleen Marlo is an AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator who has been nominated for an Audie Award twice, winning in 2011. She has been awarded three Listen-Up Awards from Publishers Weekly and an AudioFile Audiobook of the Year Award in 2011 and was named Audiobook Narrator of the Year for 2010 by Publishers Weekly. She is a member of the prestigious Actors Studio and taught acting for ten years at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute. Marlo is a proud founding member of Deyan Institute of Voice Artistry and Technology.