Snakes of New Zealand

By William Gruar
Publication: October 2006

Snakes of New Zealand by William Gruar, Valid Press Publishing
Order Snakes of New Zealand by William Gruar

320pp Paper Back Perfect Bound
Postage inclusive within New Zealand.
Add $5 for overseas postage.


The fourth work by William Gruar, following Spinal Dogs, the report on his rehabilitation following spinal injury. In Snakes William returns to his first year at Canterbury University to create a whimsical novel about the rigours of under-graduate study juxtaposed with initiation into sex, alcohol and drugs.

In 1965 tetra-hydra-cannabinol was mentioned in hushed whispers, as ‘reefers’, ‘marihuana’, and ‘drugs!!!’. By 1968 universities were awash with ‘joints’ and stoned long-haired anti-social deviants protesting about war, Che Guevara and Mao and football tours. Words like ‘bullshit’, ‘capitalist pig’ ‘weathermen’ and ‘hegemony’ were common in the courts and the public arena.

Plus ca change!

Snakes also takes us into an undergraduate battle of rote-learning against free-thought, with surprising results.

Essays on morality, existentialism, romantic poetry and New Zealand’s colonial past bemuse and annoy the academic staff. The reader becomes absorbed in an anti-revisionist historical analysis, giving new insights into the motives behind the signing of The Treaty of Waitangi.

Voices of early travelers and citizens are expressed in fifty pages of original cantos, personae and apologia.