Set in Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia, Snake is the first novel that Dewi Anggraeni has written about the Chinese descent communities in Southeast Asia. Their stories, woven into the tapestry of the mainstream Malay societies of Malaysia and Indonesia, have not only contributed to the respective society and national culture. They have also moulded the Southeast Asian overseas Chinese into a fascinating society in their own right. In common with Dewi's earlier novels, Snake presents us with an intangible, even mysterious, part of Southeast Asian life. While effective curses, and the power inanimate objects can have over people -- power for good or power for evil -- are generally considered in Australia to be fantasy, they are very much a part of life in Southeast Asia. In 'Snake', a brooch worn as a clasp for the traditional blouse, the kebaya, has power over its owner. Featuring Serena, a choreographer and lead dancer, this is the story of a family split by honour and pride, a family under the curse of a beautiful brooch. The brooch, named peniti ronce by its first owner, initially fascinates, and then destroys, its owner.
Dewi Anggraeni is a writer and journalist, well-known in Southeast Asia and in the academic world of Indonesia-studies. Dewi is the Australia correspondent for the weekly news magazine, Tempo, and a frequent contributor to the English-language Jakarta Post.