BOOKS

The Man Who Spoke Snakish

Andrus Kivirähk Christopher Moseley

RRP: £8.99

6 July 2017

Published by Grove Press

ISBN: 9781611855272

Unfortunately people and tribes degenerate. They lose their teeth, forget their language, until finally they’re bending meekly on the fields and cutting straw with a scythe.

Leemut, a young boy growing up in the forest, is content living with his hunter-gatherer family. But when incomprehensible outsiders arrive aboard ships and settle nearby, with an intriguing new religion, the forest begins to empty – people are moving to the village and breaking their backs tilling fields to make bread. Meanwhile, Leemut and the last forest-dwelling humans refuse to adapt: with bare-bottomed primates and their love of ancient traditions, promiscuous bears, and a single giant louse, they live in shacks, keep wolves, and speak to snakes.

Told with moving and satirical prose, The Man Who Spoke Snakish is a fiercely imaginative allegory about a boy, and a nation, standing on the brink of dramatic change.