The Man Who Spoke Snakish
by Andrus Kivirähk
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.