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The Little Snake

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  1,563 ratings  ·  284 reviews
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 he
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published November 8th 2018 by Canongate Books (first published October 7th 2016)
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Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,563 ratings  ·  284 reviews

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Amalia Gkavea
''Nevertheless, the people in charge of the city were not overly fond of people and so some of the apartments in which the very many different kinds of people lived were often dry when they should have been wet, or wet where they should have been dry, or just cold and dark and supplied with especially listless electricity.''

Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is arguably the finest book in Children's Literature. It has shaped millions of little ones all over the world and will conti
The Little Snake is a charming little fable that could be read by someone of just about any age. I could see reading this at different points in time, because the message will be perceived so differently depending on your place in life.

This is one of those stories that is difficult to explain; its beauty lies in the telling more than the actual plot. It's a story about discovering friendship, learning about humanity, and recognizing the cruel truths of life.

But most of all it's a story about l
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of The Little Snake from NetGalley and Canongate Books in exchange for an honest review.

The Little Snake was a short and bittersweet read, a dark fable which shows a terrifyingly familiar world through the filter of innocence at first, a picture which gets clearer and more heartbreaking as Mary, the main character, grows up. The beginning of the book depicts Lanmo, the titular snake, as he begins to form a strange bond with a kind and clever little girl, the aforementioned Mary
Dannii Elle
Actual rating 4.5/5 stars.

What an utterly charming, little read! This held in its pages pure magic, the likes of which I have not had the pleasure of reading since The Little Prince. It managed to perfectly capture the breath-taking beauty of a withheld belief in magic, with a moralistic undertone that gave this a painfully poignant edge. Both colluded to make this a delightful story of wonder, told in a lyrical yet simple writing style that embodied traditional fairy tales, and that holds a dua
"and, what kind of snake are you?"

"not like any other snake!"

The Little Snake is a touching tale about life, love, kindness and death. It covers everything between good and evil, and also that which cannot be avoided, death.

This is a story of how a snake`s heart began to beat...

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.
Mel (Epic Reading)
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc-netgalley
I clearly missed something in this book. I did not get it.
Obviously it's an allegory about life and circumstances in life but I just couldn't get into it. There may be one obvious issue that held me back here, and it's not the literary writing...

Personality of Snakes
I am a long time snake owner (10+ years). My husband and I have fostered over a dozen snakes over the years and had many of our own. Today we have 3 (an 18-yr-old cornsnake, a 4-yr-0ld ball python, a 4-yr-old boa) and so I intimatel
Dec 29, 2018 added it
Shelves: coverlove, brits
OF COURSE Ms Kennedy can do anything. And OF COURSE I will home in IMMEDIATELY on anything with the name A.L. Kennedy on the cover, and a beautiful cover it is too, one that caught my eye on one of those rare, oh so rare occasions when I was in a real bookshop that offered real books made of real dead trees in a country where the books on offer are all in the language that I prefer to read. So here comes the but. And I have to whisper this in a very, very small voice. But I think Ms Kennedy sail ...more
This tiny novella lives somewhere in that realm of books which are between/both, neither/nor, children's/adults' stories, also inhabited by certain works of Neil Gaiman, Catherynne M. Valente, and other authors I could think of if I read more of this sort of thing.

It begins like a children's book, or maybe the sort of modern fairytale or fable that is very definitely meant to sound like one. I was wrongfooted. I didn't know what to say about a children's book qua children's book. I'd requested
This book hits right in the feels. What a beautiful story of love and friendship, really the best that humanity has to offer. Throughout the book, I was reminded of another all-time favourite book of mine - The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry (if you haven't read it, you should read it!)

Definitely a book that should be read by both, children and adults alike. Such a beautiful story!
Kayleigh Kehoe ♡
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing

"They should fly kites, he thought. They should play with cats and eat ice cream and bake bread and dance with each other and sing and they should marry each other and perhaps make intelligent children who understand things, or adopt children who are orphans and have nobody for them in the world. But he knew that he could not change the humans against their will and that the humans could only choose to change themsel
Jay Moran
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-favourites
When someone pointed this out to me, I was intrigued--but the moment they mentioned it was about the snake from The Little Prince, I needed it. I started this on Christmas Eve, and I've slowly digested it over the last few days as it's such a wonderful little book that I sorely needed. Kennedy could have easily dissolved into mimicking Antoine de Saint-Exupery, jarring her readers by digging them in the ribs with her elbow to raise her eyebrows and wink ("See, see what I did there?") but she did ...more
Karen Mace
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
A random pick from the library - why can't I resist a black and gold cover?! - and what a charming and touching read it turned out to be!

Only 144 pages long but feels longer as you connect immediately to the character of Mary - a young girl who is a rare soul who sees only good in people and things. She's happy with her lot it seems, and that's despite living on the poor side of town and never having much. When in her beloved garden she meets a snake, who becomes a close friend to her and they b
May 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
A cozy and lovely little story. Definitely one of those things that you should read while you are between some heavier stories and you need a little breather. Vaguely a children's story, but also very timeless, since it deals with something we all have to deal with in a beautiful and fragile way.

I listened to the audiobook on my walks to the sea and the author's voice carried gently over the waves and it was a beautiful day out and I had a really great time.

P.S. The snake's name is Lanmo and m
Kim Lockhart
Aug 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Charming and deceptively clever. Oh. Like a Snake!
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Blog Post:

This book is proof that a story doesn’t need to be pages and pages long in order to leave a lasting impression, to make you fall in love with characters, to teach you what you thought you knew and confirm what you did know deep down. I am head over heels in love with this story and it means a great deal to me, and surprisingly, I’m actually not upset that it wasn’t longer, it was perfect exactly the way it was. As you can probably tell this is g
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Magical garden, and magical thoughts and feelings, with a little social satire thrown in. Many others have attempted to create a magical, self contained world; I believe this is one of the successful ones.
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a subtle and deeply moving fable that although ostensibly at first sight may appear to be an enchanting children's tale in reality it is something far more universal that will appeal to all ages. A.L Kennedy in the acknowledgement thanks Saint-Exupéry and like his timeless The Little Prince it is observational about the essence of human nature for as the fox famously states "One sees clearly only with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eye."

Kennedy's novella resolves around th
Rating: 1.5 stars

Aaaaaaaah. The Little Snake was quite boring. I guessed basically every occurrence long before it took place, and overall, the story just fell really flat for me. A.L. Kennedy's style of writing was not particularly memorable, but it wasn't especially bad either. I listened to the audiobook, which was narrated by the author, and Kennedy's narration had a similar feeling to her writing to me.

There is nothing I can say and point out that is distinctly wrong with The Little Snake,
Feb 12, 2019 rated it did not like it
Geez! People loved this little book. It was either way over my head or beneath me. If you like allegories, this may interest you: a little snake wanders into a garden and meets a lovely girl named Mary. Not surprisingly, only Mary can see the snake, which, curls up around her neck and kisses her sweetly and yet turns into a demon to protect her from other obnoxious children on the playground. And so on and so forth. Not my cuppa tea but read on if you fancy that sort of thing.
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

This is almost, but not quite, the whole of the story about a remarkable, wise little girl. She was called Mary. Everything I will tell you here began when Mary went walking in her garden on one particular afternoon.

If you're ever looking for a sweet little tale in the vein of The Little Prince this is the book for you. I think there are people that could even like The Little Snake better than The Little Prince because, while both treat on the same path, their steps are a little
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
“One often finds that if a book is good; it is never long enough.” - some smart person.

A definite re read planned for this one.
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful and terrible and strange.
Jun 15, 2020 rated it did not like it
Maybe a brilliant piece of literature for others but not for me.. I barely crawled up my way through this...
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Somewhere between 'The Book Thief' and The Little Prince, this small little story lies and breaks your heart a little, right after making you smile because everything seems so beautiful. Sad, at times, yes. But beautiful. ...more
Marcus Hobson
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
'The Little Snake' is quite unlike anything else that A L Kennedy has written. You can read it on so many levels; modern day fairy tale, allegory on the state of the world, futuristic dystopia or even as a story you could read to your children with just the faintest hint of sinister.

The central character, Mary, lives in an apartment block in a crowded city. A “remarkable, wise little girl”. She and her family have a rooftop garden, no bigger than a table cloth. Mary has learnt that if she takes
Moray Teale
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
For one thing, the concept is not new. While Lanmo's physical form is original the idea behind his character forming a friendship with a human, in this case a child called Mary, has been done many times before. On the surface it's a sweet story that addresses love, friendship and death but I found its very simplicity problematic.

The fable format can be very powerful but its tendency to cast the world in black and white means that it requires some delicacy to avoid becoming dogmatic and prescrip
Debbie Littley
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In only 144 pages this book manages to encompass a plethora of emotions from love, loss, family and friendships found in the most unlikely of places. A little book with a massive heart!

A dark fable for adults and children alike it is a magical read that will touch your heart and retain a special place inside.

The book blurb is pretty extensive covering the story’s plot so I won’t go into that any further and let you read and discover it for yourselves. I went into this book with no prior knowledg
Miina Saarna
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reading2019
Loved everything about this little book! It's a wonderful story about a lifelong friendship between a very special snake called Lanmo, and a girl named Mary. It's a story about death, humanity, war, and the heartbreaking truths of life. But mainly, it is about love.

A story that will stay with me for a long time. Another book I'd like to give to all of my friends, together with the Fox 8.

Meriel Hart
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh my goodness. This is so clever! So delicate but so hard hitting. A grown up fairy tale that is really about the world having no borders, war and every kind of love. Very timely. This is going to take some following! ❤️
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Alison Louise Kennedy is a Scottish writer of novels, short stories and non-fiction. She is known for a characteristically dark tone, a blending of realism and fantasy, and for her serious approach to her work. She occasionally contributes columns and reviews to UK and European newspapers including the fictional diary of her pet parrot named Charlie.

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