SNAKES • Al Young
Holt, Rhinehart & Winston / 1970 / 1st edition
Hardcover / 149 pages

“The novel traces the gradual emancipation of the central figure MC, from the repressive and debilitating forces about him to the trehshold of maturity and enlarged self-awareness; at the novel’s end MC is ready to begin his symbolic journey from home and youth to the beckoning world of the new and unknown. That the journey is a relatively limited one, at least in terms of the physical distance involved, and that no unearned great expectations are granted either the protagonist or the reader is a reflection of Young’s realism and restraint. MC’s experiences during the year and more of the novel’s action have given him insight into both himself and the world and he has developed a necessary inner toughness and self-confidence; but his future is left untouched, his energy, musical talent, and spiritual growth may well be inadequate before the equivocations and institutionalized savagery beyond the ghetto.” —Douglass Bolling