“Mary was a little bit taller than the other girls her age and had brownish crinkly hair. She was quite thin, because she didn't always have exactly enough to eat. She liked honey and whistling and the colour blue and finding out.”
A magical, charming and deeply moving fable about love, family, war and resilience from the Costa Prize-winning author of Day
‘Charming lessons in life, death and kindness … Hugely moving’ Observer
This is the story of Mary, a young girl born in a beautiful city full of rose gardens and fluttering kites. When she is still very small, Mary meets Lanmo, a shining golden snake, who becomes her very best friend.
The snake visits Mary many times, he sees her grow and her city change, as bombs drop and war creeps in. Lanmo wonders, can having a friend possibly be worth the pain of knowing you will lose them?
“Incredibly moving, yet joyful. It made me cry”
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“Charming lessons in life, death and kindness … This heartwarming fable is a reassuring read for anyone, young or old, coming to terms with mortality … Hugely moving”
“After entering Kennedy’s world, it’s hard to find a way out … In The Little Snake, the swift emotional slippages click along, one after another, sentence after sentence, like an intricate concatenation of rainbow-bright dominoes. Funny, surprising and unexpected … Kennedy’s prose – like the endlessly unreeling speculations of her most interesting characters – is simultaneously logical and illogical, sad and funny, simple and profound, turning over and over in endless permutations, like an elegant small snake wrestling against the constraints of its own shiny and menacing skin”
new York Times
“Teaches its protagonists lessons about cruelty, mortality and above all, love … [An] enchanting modern fairy tale … A fable for our time … Kennedy’s humour and lightness of touch serves to underscore her serious intent: an urgent reminder of the small and great things that actually give life its meaning”
“A miniature fable … In this bitter age of broken borders, this timely, timeless story’s large helping of sugar is not unwelcome”
A.L. Kennedy has twice been selected as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists and has won a host of other awards, including the Costa Book of the Year for her novel Day. She lives in London and is a part-time lecturer in creative writing at the University of Warwick.
@Writerer | a-l-kennedy.co.uk