‘The Man Who Spoke Snakish’ by Andrus Kivirähk

My rating: 3 stars

Some books are more meaningful for readers from the same countries as their authors than for those from other places. I feel like The Man Who Spoke Snakish by Andrus Kivirähk is one of such books, mainly because of the various references to what I believe is Estonian lore. This is an allegorical fantasy novel, set in the Middle Ages, about a changing world. The action is based on the contrasts between the ancient traditions that lingered in forests and the modernity of daily life in villages, where the influence of other countries and the Catholic Church was intense.

Leemet, the narrator of the novel, still lives in the same forest where he settled in with his mother when he was only 1 year old. There seems to be no other human beings left there, although he has a “companion”. He is the last remaining speaker of Snakish, a language used to command animals. But, unfortunately, not many of them obey anymore. He starts recollecting various events from his past and elucidating the reader about why the forest became devoid of people.

Before he was born, his parents had moved to a village almost like everyone else. His father enjoyed the way of living there, whereas his mother didn’t. They didn’t stay there for long, though, since his father died following an altercation with a bear who his mother was having an affair with. Yes, bestiality is a reality in this story and is present throughout. Bears are tremendously attracted to women, which I found bizarre and not that funny. Also, I’m not a huge fan of talking animals and there are plenty of them. Continue reading

My Summer Reading Plans

Summer is just around the corner and, although I’m not much of a seasonal reader, there are some types of books that I tend to read during the hottest season. For no particular reason other than that I associate them with past holidays, I’m more inclined to read fantasy, adventure and funny books during summer. Below are some of the books that I plan to pick up throughout the following months. The weather has been extremely erratic in Portugal (it has been awfully cloudy and much cooler than usual), but I can already imagine myself reading these while the sun shines on a blue sky!

 

The Man Who Spoke Snakish by Andrus Kivirahk

Seeing that this is a book about the arrival of outsiders into a forest full of ancient traditions, myths and legends, I believe that it must have at least some fantasy or magical realism undertones. I’m not really sure what to expect from it, though, since I had never heard of this book before searching for Estonian authors online.

 

The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson

I don’t know much about the plot of this book by the Swedish author Jonas Jonasson, but I’ve heard that it features quite a few funny moments. According to the blurb, it follows Nombeko Mayeki, who is on the run from a secret service. Continue reading

Book Haul – March 2018

I bought a total of ten books in March. As I didn’t buy them all at once, it was only when I decided to write this post that I realised how many they were. I can’t truly remember the last time I bought so many books in just a month. The majority of them I’m going to read for my ‘EU still 28’ project, while others were at a discount and I don’t seem to be able to resist a bargain.

To know a little bit more about each of my choices, carry on reading!

 

Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier

I love the covers of the books by Daphne du Maurier from the Virago Modern Classics collection. Since I’m slightly afraid that they may vanish from the market before I have them all, once in a while, I buy one of them even if I don’t plan to read it soon. Jamaica Inn was recommended to me numerous times. It focuses on Mary Yellan, who, after the death of her mother, goes to her aunt Patience’s home. Continue reading