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The Man Who Spoke Snakish

By Andrus Kivirähk
The Man Who Spoke Snakish by Andrus Kivirähk digital book - Fable

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Publisher Description

The runaway Estonian bestseller tells the imaginative and moving story of a boy tasked with preserving ancient traditions in the face of modernity.
Set in a fantastical version of medieval Estonia, The Man Who Spoke Snakish follows a young boy, Leemet, who lives with his hunter-gatherer family in the forest and is the last speaker of the ancient tongue of snakish, a language that allows its speakers to command all animals. But the forest is gradually emptying as more and more people leave to settle in villages, where they break their backs tilling the land to grow wheat for their “bread” (which Leemet has been told tastes horrible) and where they pray to a god very different from the spirits worshipped in the forest’s sacred grove. With lothario bears who wordlessly seduce women, a giant louse with a penchant for swimming, a legendary flying frog, and a young charismatic viper named Ints, The Man Who Spoke Snakish is a totally inventive novel for readers of David Mitchell, Sjón, and Terry Pratchett.

27 Reviews

Thinking Face
Animal abuseViolenceUnsatisfying plot
“Where to begin with this book? It was absolutely beautiful, brilliant, and like nothing else I've come across. Folk horror, fantasy, sci-fi mix. Really makes you think about how we are pushed to go along with the "sheep" or be ridiculed, sometimes even killed. I loved Leemet and his story is amazing. Sad. Heartfelt. He stood strong and never gave in. A new favorite!!”
Surprised Face with Open Mouth“this book is a translation of a estonian book, so to be honest i wasn’t expecting much. my friend did recommend this and once i read it i could see why. the plot was heavy and it was all writ in with a lot of meaning and subtext, those in which we could use to reflect our own lives as of now. i can see it be a cult classic, just not my favorite however”
Characters change and growMulti-layered charactersOriginal writingTwistyUnpredictableImmersive settingMagical settingComing of ageHeartbreakingThought-provoking
Anxious Face with sweat“I loved this book when it started out - but it got so dark and graphic. I’m sad that this story turned from something so whimsical into such a dark and twisted tale filled with gore and hatred between people of different cultures and religious groups.”
Multi-layered charactersTwistyUnpredictableDark settingMagical settingDarkUnsatisfying ending
Anxious Face with sweat“I have so many emotions about this book and wish I had made it to the group discussion. It started out SO good! And while I don’t totally hate Allof the violent twists, a lot of it just felt like the author wanted the book to end with everyone dead and was trying to accomplish that as quickly as possible.”
Diverse charactersBeautifully writtenDescriptive writingTwistyUnpredictableImmersive settingDarkHeartbreakingViolenceUnsatisfying plot

About Andrus Kivirähk

Andrus Kivirahk is one of Estonia's most highly regarded contemporary writers. A journalist by profession, he is known for his satirical newspaper columns and his bestselling novels. A popular board game has been created on the basis of his novel "The Man Who Spoke Snakish," which is his first book ever to appear in English. He lives in Tallinn, Estonia. Christopher Moseley is a translator of Estonian and Latvian. He teaches at University College London and is Treasurer of the Foundation for Endangered Languages.

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