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Riddley Walker, Expanded Edition Paperback – September 22, 1998
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"Russell Hoban's 'Riddley Walker' is that rare novel that can be loved by doomster geeks and literary readers alike. It's narrated in a language burnt to its rudiments by nuclear holocaust and revived into new forms by survivors in England who live as hunters, and who believe in a past that's half history, half myth." ―Michael Helm, Nuvo "Off the Shelf", Summer 2008
About the Author
Russell Hoban (1925-2011) is the author of numerous children’s books, including The Mouse and His Child. Other adult novels include The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz, Kleinzeit, Turtle Diary, and Pilgermann.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had to read this for a class, and I hated every moment of it. Maybe this author is an acquired taste, but I found it unreadable.Published 17 days ago by Grace E. Campbell
Being forced to wrestle with the meaning of words and the meaning of the destiny of our civilization forces a new understanding of existence and... Read more
Be careful - really hard to read, as it is written in a broken English. It helped to read it out loud in order to understand.Published 1 month ago by Nadezda Gudkova
Reading Riddley Walker has been one of the most profound and moving experiences I've ever had with literature. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Todd Michael
I really like this book. I keep buying it because my friends keep taking my copy.Published 2 months ago by Kathleen Barrett
The dialect was a little pretentious and unnecessary. An interesting story, but not a great read.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer