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.
The Man who Spoke Snakish is a wild comic swoop through the histories of Estonia, magic, human-powered flight and man-bear relations. At once fantastic and emotionally engaged, underneath the narrative high-jinks lurks a deeply serious novel about how Europe became the way it is. Lawrence Norfolk, author of JOHN SATURNALL'S FEAST
Andrus Kivirähk 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 The Man Who Spoke Snakish. 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.