Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
Turtle Diary (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – June 11, 2013
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
“It's this dissonance between the simple turtle story and the irresolvable adult story that makes Turtle Diary a quiet masterpiece.” —Bookforum
“It is an insightful and droll novel about mid-life discontents, entirely timely for the readers who grew up on his books and who now have children and crises of their own. Out of print for several years, this new edition of "Turtle Diary," with an introduction by Ed Parks, gives us a chance to discover a different Hoban – not the earlier children’s author and not the later fantasy novelist – and to be charmed by what’s in between.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“A story about the recovery of life...Like other cult writers—Salinger for instance, or Vonnegut—Hoban writes about ordinary people making life-affirming gestures in a world that threatens to dissolve in madness." —Newsweek
"Crackles with witty detail, mordant intelligence and self-deprecating irony." —Time
"This wonderful, life-saving fantasy will place Russell Hoban where he has got to be--among the greatest, timeless novelists." —The Times (UK)
"The marvellous energy of Mr. Hoban's writing, simultaneously dry and passionate, justifies everything he does." —Times Educational Supplement
"Russell Hoban is our ur-novelist, a maverick voice that is like no other. He can take themes that seem too devastating for contemplation and turn them into allegories in which wry, sad humour is married to quite extraordinary powers of imagery and linguistic fertility that makes each book a linguistic departure." —Sunday Telegraph
About the Author
Russell Hoban (1925–2011) was the author of more than seventy books for children and adults. Hoban worked as a commercial artist and advertising copywriter before embarking on a career as a children’s author while in his early thirties. During the 1960s Hoban and his wife, Lillian, worked at a prodigious rate, producing as many as six books in a single year—many inspired by life with their own children—including six stories about Frances the badger, The Little Brute Family, Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, and The Sorely Trying Day (published by the New York Review Children’s Collection). Among Hoban’s novels for adults are Turtle Diary, Riddley Walker, The Bat Tattoo, and My Tango with Barbara Strozzi. He lived in London from 1968 until his death in December 2011.
Ed Park is a founding editor of The Believer and a former editor of the Voice Literary Supplement and the Poetry Foundation. His debut novel, Personal Days, was published in 2008 and was a finalist for the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. His writing has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, the Los Angeles Times, and other publications. He is currently an editor at Penguin Press. He lives in New York City.
Top customer reviews
William G., the divorced father of two, now works in a bookshop and lives in a small room. As the novel opens, he is at the zoo, where he observes the sea turtles in their "grotty little tank no bigger than my room...soaring, dipping, and curving with flippers like wings, in a glass box of second-hand ocean." Neaera H., a single, 43-year-old writer of children's stories, is sick of writing about Gillian Vole and furry-animal picnics and is thinking of making her next character a predator. Neaera, upon her own visit to the zoo, is also touched by the plight of the sea turtles, and though the two characters do not know each other, they decide independently that they want to free them from captivity (further suggesting their single identity). "The Zoo is a prison for animals who have been sentenced without trial," Neaera remarks. Eventually, with the private collusion of the Head Keeper of the Aquarium, they meet and develop a plan to transport the turtles to the Cornwall coast and to free them, but both are still nervous about this big undertaking.
Although the two characters will undoubtedly intrigue the reader with their separate lives and thoughts throughout the novel, the number of unusual coincidences and the often parallel thinking of William G. and Neaera H. raise the question of whether these two characters are intended to be two incarnations of the same person, or even, more broadly, the yin and the yang. Many readers will undoubtedly have as much fun as I did playing with all these possibilities, which expand the themes and scope while leaving much to the reader's imagination. What follows is no "love conquers all" scenario - Russell Hoban is far too clever an author to resort to narrative cliches. As he and T. S. Eliot have reminded us, "the ends of things are always present in their beginnings," and by the time these two characters begin their road trip with the turtles, two weeks after devising the plan, they are beginning to see life in new ways and to think in new directions. Freeing the turtles will be just the beginning of a new stage of their lives.
Hoban's cleverness also shines through his unique and often amusing descriptions. Neaera thinks her next-door neighbor's eyes "look as if he's pawned his real ones and is wearing paste." William has little respect for composer Stravinsky: "Stravinsky looks to me like a man who was potty-trained too early." He does not like Stravinsky's music any better than his appearance. Throughout the novel, the author's many literary and musical references are included with an offhanded, casual good humor, and usually with great irony. Where else have you ever seen Oedipus Rex and Peter Rabbit sharing the same sentence as it does near the beginning of this novel? With a lack of pretension about his literary roots, Hoban uses these references to broaden his scope and themes beyond the lives of his two (or one) ordinary and unexciting protagonists as they take tentative steps in new directions. Thoughtful, delightful, and great fun to read, the novel is at the top of my favorites list for this year.
Fighting doubt and fear, William and Neaera pull off the turtle heist. It changes their lives in ways they do not expect.
At heart this novel is about loneliness and the desire to connect. Can't give too much away without spoiling the plot but the title is a little misleading as it's not just a "turtle story", it's so much more. It's beautifully written humorous and sad in parts, a subtle and emotive story. Another find from the NYRB Classics.
This book did just that and even though it is not always a happy place, or reality, it is always compelling.
I was very sorry for it to end. I wanted and still want to know more of William and Neaera!!!
You can pick this title up, in hardcover form, for just a penny!
It is worth infinitely more!!
This is the type of book I would love to have written myself about two lonely people in whose lives it seems as though nothing is happening when in actuality everything is changing.
Written in 1975, Turtle Diary holds many truths about life hidden between its pages and deserves to be read again and again. I loved it.