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Riddley Walker, Expanded Edition [Kindle Edition]

Russell Hoban
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"A hero with Huck Finn’s heart and charm, lighting by El Greco and jokes by Punch and Judy.... Riddley Walker is haunting and fiercely imagined and—this matters most—intensely ponderable." —Benjamin DeMott, The New York Times Book Review

"This is what literature is meant to be." —Anthony Burgess

"Russell Hoban has brought off an extraordinary feat of imagination and style.... The conviction and consistency are total. Funny, terrible, haunting and unsettling, this book is a masterpiece." —Anthony Thwaite, Observer

"Extraordinary... Suffused with melancholy and wonder, beautifully written, Riddley Walker is a novel that people will be reading for a long, long time." —Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World

"Stunning, delicious, designed to prevent the modern reader from becoming stupid." —John Leonard, The New York Times

"Highly enjoyable... An intriguing plot... Ferociously inventive." —Walter Clemons, Newsweek

"Astounding... Hoban’s soaring flight of imagination is that golden rarity, a dazzlingly realized work of genius." —Jane Clapperton, Cosmopolitan

"An imaginative intensity that is rare in contemporary fiction.’ —Paul Gray, Time

Riddley Walker is a brilliant, unique, completely realized work of fiction. One reads it again and again, discovering new wonders every time through. Set in a remote future in a post-nuclear holocaust England (Inland), Hoban has imagined a humanity regressed to an iron-age, semi-literate state—and invented a language to represent it. Riddley is at once the Huck Finn and the Stephen Dedalus of his culture—rebel, change agent, and artist. Read again or for the first time this masterpiece of 20th-century literature with new material by the author.



Editorial Reviews

Review

'The book has an evangelical effect on people ... Riddley is an absorbing character, Hoban's language has a fantastic, rough poetry and the post-apocalyptic world is chilling and convincing' Rachel Seiffert, Observer 'Russell Hoban has brought off an extraordinary feat of imagination and of style ... funny, terrible, haunting and unsettling, this book is a masterpiece' Observer

About the Author

Russell Hoban (1925-2011) was the author of many extraordinary novels including Turtle Diary, Angelica Lost and Found and his masterpiece, Riddley Walker. He also wrote some classic books for children including The Mouse and his Child and the Frances books. Born in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, USA, he lived in London from 1969 until his death.

Product Details

  • File Size: 824 KB
  • Print Length: 254 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0253334489
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press; Expanded edition (September 22, 1998)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008KI4FV4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,165 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
160 of 171 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Redefines the Very Concept of Reading September 28, 2003
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Aside from The Lord of the Rings, Hoban's Riddley Walker is the most imaginative piece of fiction I've ever read. This is a novel to savor, to prolong, if possible, to pore over, to backtrack upon, to celebrate.
Do not be put off by the post-apocalyptic plot description. This is not your father's Neville Schute story. Nor is it Stephen King. This is a multi-layered, cosmic, end of days tale, that far transcends all other entries in "the genre." Hoban has been compared to Joyce, but don't be put off by that either, if you struggled through Finnegan's Wake, as most do. This is accessible. Highly so. Sure, you have to invest some effort and if you are the type of reader who has to have everything conveyed immediately to you, you will not enjoy this work. Hoban is essentially playing a game with his reader. If you enjoy riddles ("Walker is my name and I am the same. Riddley Walker. Walking my riddles where ever theyve took me and walking them now on this paper the same."), Hoban will definitely keep you guessing. This is probably modern fiction's most "interactive" novel. The progressive revelations clue you in as you "walk" with Riddley through Inland (England). The path is so devious, yet so honest, at the same time, that you never want Riddley to seperate from you (a motif in the work) and you never want to lose his companionship.
Suffice it to say that I've been so obsessed over this book that I have joined a Hoban fan club and I can't wait to read more from this astounding author. If you can read updated Chaucer, you should have no difficulty grasping Riddley's vernacular, though there are some similarities to earlier English speech. Allow at least three chapters to get into the cadence and the inner logic of the "Riddley Speak.
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88 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique, fully realized work of fiction July 26, 2002
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Riddley Walker" is undeniably one of the most unique novels I have ever come across. All plotting aside, the bizarre (yet understandable) pidgin English that it is written in sets it apart from almost every other work of fiction I have come across. The only thing that comes close is the slang in "A Clockwork Orange", but even that mishmash is normal when compared to Hoban's English. That said, Hoban's creation is fairly logical, and is easily followed with a little bit of thought.
It would be easy to overlook the quality of the narrative of this novel because of the uniqueness of its presentation, but there is much more to "Riddley Walker" than that. It is the tale of a humanity reduced to Dark Age misery by a nuclear war, but what makes it different from other apocalyptic fiction is the historical remoteness of the holocaust. It happened so long ago, and was so total that its causes have descended into mythology. At the same time, technology has become confused with religion, and while mankind yearns for better days, he's not sure what they might be.
Hoban paints a fascinating portrait of humans struggling to come to grips with their place in the world. Particularly poignant is the image his characters have of dogs, which have at this point have gone almost completely feral, and yet still exhibit a faint longing for their old masters. The humans see in the dogs an emblem of their fall from grace, and in the dogs' ferocity, a tacit reminder of something lost, although, again, they aren't sure what that might be.
Perhaps the most intriguing element of the novel, however, is fragments of history that have been reassembled into a moral imperative for the power elite (such as they are).
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61 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My desert island book August 24, 2001
Format:Paperback
If you're going to be stranded forever on a desert island and could take one book, which would it be? This is my choice. I've read it at least once a year for the past 20 years. Each time I have found it no less challenging...and no less rewarding. Each time I laugh, I cry, I rejoice and despair, and I tell everyone around me who will listen that they must read /Riddley Walker/. Hoban has written half a dozen breathtaking novels about life and death, history and the future, free will and predestination, human nature and human culture, belief and practice--and I can't for the life of me understand why he isn't considered Earth's Author Laureate. He has also written dozens of deep-hearted children's books, including the Frances The Badger series (which were greatly loved in my adopted home state of Wisconsin). Perhaps some of the reviews below make it clear why this man is so underappreciated. In this age of prefab thinking and easily packaged messages, he's just plain too challenging for most people. No spoon feeding. No easy outs. /Riddley Walker/ is not a book for people accustomed to hearing what they think they want to hear. But for people who can do the work of meeting him halfway...jeez, the riches! Hoban grapples with big questions in this novel: --Are we destined, as a species, to destroy ourselves? --What is violence, and why do people do it? --What is religion, and where does it come from? --Who, or what, is god? --What can we look forward to, if we continue trying to blow ourselves up? --Is there a relationship between maturity/immaturity and violence? --What is the nature of human memory? --What the hell *is* it with men, anyway? There is no sniveling in this book. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars A sharp stick in the eye
After reading all the "glowing" reviews about this book, I took a chance and read it. I'm glad that the author had sense enough to trim it down from the original 500 pages since... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Weazer45
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't do it, if you want just look at how the Iron Age found gunpowder
This book right here almost killed my love of reading. After translating the language and trying to figure out what was going on and seeing nothing at about the halfway point I put... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Aaron Winfree
1.0 out of 5 stars If you want to slog through a virtually unrecognizable version of...
Right up front, let me be clear....I'm probably prejudiced against the "riddleyspeak" this is written in, since I teach upper elementary special ed. Read more
Published 1 month ago by A. Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice purchase for a collector
Haven't read the book yet... but I love Hoban, so it should be fine. I love the edition and all the things in it, plus it is a great size for a bookshelf. Read more
Published 2 months ago by A. Wallace
5.0 out of 5 stars Reading this book without having first scanned some reviews would ...
Reading this book without having first scanned some reviews would have left me frustrated with the apparently intentional language manipulations. Read more
Published 2 months ago by SidBread
5.0 out of 5 stars At last, a Normal book that explains this Abnormal world!
Simply brilliant. This is one very 'quirky' book. Makes Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road' seem pedestrian. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Brian P Woods
5.0 out of 5 stars Top 10
Riddled Walker takes a place amongst my top 10. There is little to be said that has not been said, just read it.
Published 3 months ago by Venus James
5.0 out of 5 stars A story of post apocalyptic re-emergence. A great book, especially if...
Some may find this set of stories hard to follow. I have a keen interest in Language and it didn't take long to pick up a full understanding of what was being said, and the subtext... Read more
Published 3 months ago by greyman
5.0 out of 5 stars I was never bored in any of the readings and continued to see ...
What do I expect from authors when I yield my time to them and listen to them speak? I expect to be told a story that moves me emotionally, that takes me into another world -... Read more
Published 4 months ago by ronh
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer poetic delight in madness
One of the finest books ever written: I do not say that lightly. Hoban's flawless imagining of a post-apocalyptic vision dwells in the language of the narrator, a blasted geography... Read more
Published 5 months ago by K. A. Laity
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