Ruth Padel may be a good zoologist and poet but her debut novel fails to hold your attention.
Being Charles Darwin's family and a zoologist is one thing but assuming such a relation makes for a natural philosopher is a fallacy. Ruth Padel, Darwin's great-great-grand-daughter, declares herself a scientist and poet early on in her first novel Where the Serpent Lives. Having authored an anthology of poetry, Darwin: A Life in Poems, and being a Fellow of the Zoological Society of London the titles sit aptly. But applying science to the general human condition and fusing the two to fashion a convincing story requires a superior kind of maturity; of the sort Darwin, Albert Einstein or close home A.K. Ramanujan showed. Padel, lamentably, cannot hope to be a patch on such writing and insights.
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