Book of the Week, January 5th 2019


The Little Snake

A L Kennedy

Our first pick of the week for 2019 is a short fiction of rare grace, imagination and gentle wisdom.

Mary is a poor girl living in an unnamed city where rich and powerful rulers live in luxury whilst everyone else struggles. Mary is clever and bright; she makes her little patch of garden seem larger by taking the tiniest of steps across it.  One day in the garden she meets a beautiful golden talking snake with magical powers. The snake’s name is Lamno and his real purpose is to ease the journey onward of those whose life is ending. Lamno takes time out from these duties to befriend the girl. From Mary, he learns truths about human life and love while protecting her from danger.  Life becomes harder as Mary grows up. Armies mobilise, bombs fall and the city faces destruction.

This enchanting tale of Mary and the magical golden snake is a fable about the greed of the powerful, the kindness of strangers, and the enduring importance of friendship and compassion.

Canongate Books, hardback, £9.99