“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 the journey we all take through life, about love and family, about war and resilience, about how we live in this world, and how we leave it
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 city change, become sadder as bombs drop and war creeps in. He sees Mary and her family leave their home, he sees her grow up and he sees her fall in love. But Lanmo knows that the day will come when he can no longer visit Mary, when his destiny will break them apart, and he wonders whether having a friend can possibly be worth the pain of knowing you will lose them.
From one of Britain’s most gifted and celebrated writers, The Little Snake is a magical and deeply moving fable about the journey we all take through life, about love and family, about war and resilience, about how we live in this world, and how we leave it.
“Incredibly moving, yet joyful. It made me cry”
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“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”
“As for brave, kind heroines, you can’t do better than A.L. Kennedy’s The Little Snake, about a girl who one day finds a handsome, vain snake wrapped round her ankle. It brings death, but they become friends. A lovely story, and good for readers of any age”
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