The Snake Tree
Fiction by Uwe Timm
Translated from the German by Peter Tegel
Edited by Peter Tegel
Wagner, an all-efficient German engineer, takes in hand the job of rescuing a floundering construction project in the South American rain forest. But before he even reaches the site, his car runs over an emerald-green Acaray snake–marking him, according to local beliefs, for death. Things go from bad to worse. Wagner’s slowly degenerating colleagues are useless; his attempts to help the workers bring on a strike that the military regime suppresses; and he botches up the Company’s delicate system of bribery. The building is sinking into the red mud faster than it is being built. Losing ground, Wagner tensely observes himself losing balance and events take an ugly turn.