The big black snake, by Joanna Walsh

An extract from Vertigo, this month’s Irish Times Book Club choice

Joanna Walsh, author of Vertigo

Joanna Walsh, author of Vertigo

We saw it under the road, in a ditch beneath the road that stretched under the road from one side to the other. The road was not really a road; it was more of a path. The path was so narrow that it was more of a bridge. The ditch under the bridge was so shallow that perhaps it was only a hollow. The snake was in the hollow, thick and black as a bicycle tyre. We could not see its beginning, we could not see its end.

Its head was hidden in some grass or a hole on one side of the hollow, and its tail was hidden in a hole or some grass at the other side. The path stretched over the hollow, and it stretched over the snake. There were four of us. We were all together. We could not decide which was the front end of the snake, and which was the back.

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