I never gave Riddley Walker back to Patrick Tilford (aka TLFRD). A few years ago I loaned it to a student who never returned it. Said student never returned Dune, or The Left Hand of Darkness, or several Jules Verne novels either. Doesn’t matter, I know that he read them.
This book is a favorite. Russell Hoban’s coming-of-age story takes place in a future that has regressed to the iron age due to a catastrophic war. Hoban writes in his own language, a mutated English, full of fragments of the 20th century.
I couldn’t find an image of the edition I stole/lost. This edtion from 2000 features an introduction by Will Self, whose latest book, The Book of Dave, apparently was directly influenced by Riddley Walker. Will Self’s book Great Apes deeply, deeply disturbed me. Nothing repulses me more than images of chimpanzees dressed as humans; Great Apes is the literary equivalent.
Great Apes was an airport bookstore buy; I suppose at some point on this blog I will address the “airport bookstore buy.”
7 thoughts on “Riddley Walker–Russell Hoban”
I’m Patrick Tilford’s brother and I just happened to come across this article.
Are you like, bragging or something Geoff?
Riddley Walker is a great book and my own personal thing about borrowing/lending books is… I don’t let people borrow books. Typically if there’s a book I have that I think someone should give it a look, I know they’re not going to return it, so I just give it to them (then presumably have to get myself another copy down the line).
And the cover of that Will Self book is fucking scary.
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