From Publishers Weekly
A dystopian novel of the American South set in 2044, Braziel's latest recounts family dramas against a Mad Max
–style backdrop. A tear in the ozone layer has turned the Southeast into an inhospitable desert where pregnant protagonist Jennifer is quarantined, though she's determined to escape from Alabama and join her mother in Chicago. Along the way, Jennifer endures a horrific bus crash, the sudden transformation of Birmingham into a wasteland and placement as an indentured servant at an Illinois brothel. She also becomes the reluctant guardian of Mazy, a young girl whose mother has abandoned her. Braziel paints a dark picture of a world where corpses are left unburied and slavery (based on class, not race) is a part of life, and while the novel is filled with creepy imagery—a household with encroaching desert sand finding its way indoors; the handling of poisonous snakes during a church service—it also suffers from a too-deliberate lyricism that obfuscates the narrative or devolves into hoary Southern colloquialism. There's no shortage of postapocalyptos this summer; this one unapologetically sits on the far dark end of the spectrum. (Aug.)
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“With imaginative grace and poetic intensity, James Braziel has written an apocalyptic masterpiece that will keep any reader on edge. Though filled with the grim realities and sometimes hallucinatory violence of a devastated United States, Snakeskin Road
also reinforces our hope that love and compassion can survive.”—Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff