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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.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
Incredibly moving, yet joyful. It made me cry * * Guardian * * 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 * * Observer * * 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 * * Financial Times * * A miniature fable . . . In this bitter age of broken borders, this timely, timeless story's large helping of sugar is not unwelcome * * Sunday Times * * 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 * * Spectator * * An homage to Antoine de Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince, this fairytale novella is a simple but sumptuous read * * The Telegraph * * A beautiful, deceptively-simple read that delves into the human condition . . . Gorgeous turn of phrase . . . The result is a brief read that is poetic, life-affirming and saddening - and you don't want the end to come * * Herald * * Playful . . . sweet, sad but always a hairsbreadth away from whimsy, it's told in a soothing tone that, for better or worse, makes you feel as if you're sitting cross-legged on a classroom carpet * * Daily Mail * * Kennedy offers a gentle, clear-sighted and deeply moving commentary on what humanity really means * * Scotsman * *