Riddley Walker Russell Hoban | EPUB

Russell Hoban

_Riddley Walker_ is the book that put Russell Hoban on the map (inasmuch as he is on the map…he is criminally neglected as an author) and will likely be the one work for which he will be remembered (sadly he passed away in late 2011). So far I have read three other Hoban novels and while I have thoroughly enjoyed all of them I must admit that I think this one is his very best.

Many, upon reading the first page, will dismiss the book as “gimmicky” (I am growing to hate that term as applied to books) due to the style in which Hoban writes. Admittedly his language isn’t easy to slip right into given that he has created his own broken, not quite phonetic, future version of English that is further complicated for many readers by being based on the Kentish dialect. Thus we have as our introduction to Riddley and his world:

On my naming day when I come 12 I gone front spear and kilt a wyld boar he parbly ben the las wyld pig on the Bundel Downs any how there hadnt ben none for a long time befor him nor I aint looking to see none agen.
That’s definitely one of the easier passages and things get more complicated when words and phrases are elided or significantly changed when they refer to things from the deep past (our present), and concepts that people in Riddley’s day don’t fully comprehend or whose meaning has changed in their time. Still, for me _Riddley Walker_ is probably the non plus ultra of post-apocalyptic fiction. Sure there are many others out there that are excellent, and I have by no means read in the genre exhaustively (I still have to read classics like The Death of Grass and Earth Abides), but there is something about Hoban’s work that seems to define the genre for me. His ability to capture a world that is at the same time horrifying and homely, a world that shows humanity utterly changed and yet exactly the same as we’ve always been is superlative.

Our hero, the eponymous Riddley Walker, is a young boy just coming of age at a moment when his world stands at a crossroads, change is either going to sweep humanity forward or back into the dustbin of history. Riddley truly is the crux of the novel (both thematically through the role he plays in the plot and stylistically given that the narrative is his own first-person account), the centre around which it revolves and also the primary element upon which it succeeds or fails for the reader. For me his character is an unqualified success. He is an everyman who harbours within himself unknown potential. He is a realist not given to self-delusion and yet in him is a belief in the human spirit, a sense of the positive, that is uplifting without being cloying. Through Riddley we are given an effective melding of hopelessness and hopefulness: a picture of a world steeped in melancholy and loss that may be the dying gasp of humanity or its first step forward out of the ashes.

Riddley's world is a grey one, painted in the broad strokes of grizzled rain, decaying edifices of the past, and a hard life of scrounging amidst the muck and ruins in search of the bare necessities of survival. Despite this bleak setting Hoban still presents us with a fully realized world of warmth, humanity, danger, and loss. It is obviously a post-apocalyptic world that stands on the far edge of the fall: the ‘Bad Time’ of fire and destruction is now only a distant legend (as is the world that preceded it), as opposed to those ‘survivalist’ post-apocalyptic books that take place while the horror of loss and oblivion is still a fresh wound. As is to be expected Riddley’s world is not an easy one. He lives in an Iron Age society in an England that had been bombed back to the Stone Age and is slowly clawing its way back up the ladder. The old ways are starting to die out as the nomadic, foraging lifestyle is gradually being replaced by the more settled life of farming. The old tales and stories of our own lost time are perpetuated primarily through the existence of a modified Punch and Judy show. This puppet show is a government-sponsored propaganda machine wherein the main character is Eusa (a degraded and highly modified version of St. Eustace), a stand-in for the perpetrators of Armageddon, in which old knowledge and new superstition are mixed together to create a truly unique experience. Through the Eusa Show and the legends it spawned we come to see the hum drum aspects of our own age both through the eyes of wonder and awe, a sort of golden age when giants walked the earth, and through the lens of condemnation: how could those so wise have been so foolish? How could the god-like beings humans had once been have allowed Armageddon to have occurred? ”O what we ben! And what we come to!” laments Riddley at one point. These people are keenly aware of their loss. Whether it is through fluid medium of stories and legends or the more concrete witness of the ruins of burnt out cities and the hulks of dead machines, the ghost of the past lives on in Riddley’s present and is carried on the backs of those that remain as both a reminder and a deadly weight.

Government lackeys travel from place to place and perform their ‘Eusa Shows’ based on a memorized approved text, usually in order to give a government spin on recent events and enforce the accepted truths of what has been and what will be. In the midst of this endless round of ‘business as usual’ there is beginning to grow a renewed interest in the “cleverness” of the old ways and knowledge, especially that which revolves around power and destruction (known in Riddley’s vernacular as the “1 Little 1” and the ”1 Big 1”)…it’s a common theme in this type of literature: the human fascination with the worst side of our nature that seems inevitably to lead us to commit the same horrible mistakes time and time again no matter how harsh the lessons taught us (see Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz for another example of this; these two books would actually make for a good paired reading).
You can get jus as dead from a kick in the head as you can from the 1 Littl 1 but its tha natur of it gets people as cited. I mean your foot is all ways on the end of your leg innit. So if youre going to kick some 1 to death it aint all that thrilling is it. This other tho youve got to have the Nos. of the mixter then youve got to fynd your gready mints then youve got to do the mixing of the mixter and youve got to say the fissional seakerts of the act befor you kil some body its all that chemistery and fizzics of it you see. Its some thing new. Which ever way you look at it I dont think Aunty and her red eyed rat be too far from us.

Of course the huge stumbling block for this book is obvious, it jumps out at you once you flip to the first page: the language itself. Is this degraded form of English nothing more than a gimmick? There will I suppose always be those for whom the answer is “yes”, but for me that isn’t the case…or at least it could have been simply a gimmick if it didn’t work, if there wasn’t more to the text than a degraded phonetic spelling. Luckily the language is built around a great story with much thoughtfulness on the human condition and human nature. Who are we and why do we act as we do? What does it mean to be human at all? Why do we live, and what is the purpose of our seemingly unimportant little lives? How do we connect with each other, and what are the things in life that are truly worth cultivating? How much of our life is determined and how much is freely chosen? All of these questions and more are asked in the text and while precious few answers may be given the possibilities that are presented give much food for thought. The language also allows the required distance between our world and this one of the far off future to be built and emphasized. Perhaps most importantly it allows us to zero in on what matters as we are forced to pay close attention not only to what is said, but how it is said. The strangeness of the language forces you to look at the familiar in a new way, to see things with new eyes as you work your way towards an understanding of what exactly is being discussed or viewed. Finally it also lets us inhabit the mind of our narrator and protagonist Riddley (as well as his world) in a uniquely engaging way.

This book is one of my favourites and it is highly recommended. The labour expended in reading it will be amply repaid as we go “roading thru that rainy dark” with Riddley Walker.

Also posted at Shelf Inflicted

256

There were signs that showed that some of russell hoban the problems, like the lack of traction and degradation of the tyres, were less of an issue this year. Your doctor riddley walker can use the test to check if treatment is helping, or if the cancer has come back. In this continued acceptance of the assumption, however, he was unusual, riddley walker and most anglicans rejected the assumption or held it as adiaphora. There were married individuals, 26 widows or widowers and 12 individuals who are divorced. riddley walker Papers and original container scope and content note includes page book with riddley walker lyrics and photographs and original container. Zenlayer is reinforcing its presence in russia as an important part of its global backbone and overall network strategy — its three moscow points of presence are riddley walker a… read more. Riddley walker however, since it does have ionic technology and therefore a faster drying time, your hair is exposed to the heat for less time. The dressing was nice and sour and the fresh lime russell hoban juice is what stood out to give it such great flavor. Would not have made weight without these three amazing people. riddley walker

Extensive editorial commentaries analyse the relations among the surviving texts, and examine russell hoban the view of the tradition recently set out by federico sanguineti. For veterinarian we are a full-service, small animal and exotic veterinary hospital providing comprehensive medical, riddley walker surgical, imaging, and dental care. In other words, by using this new hybrid system, one can riddley walker use both capabilities of fl's qualification and ann's quantification aspects. Russell hoban as a listener these songs have left a tremendous impact on me. Springs there are the source of the russell hoban kairatos river, in the valley in which kephala is located. Sensorimotor network in cervical dystonia and the effect of botulinum toxin russell hoban treatment: a functional mri study. Before one can answer this question, they must first understand what raid is riddley walker intended to do. Photo russell hoban credits car dealership 1 image by alexey stiop from fotolia. And do russell hoban not leave without drinking their hot chocolate in the morning.

Format: pdf, epub, fb2, txt,audiobook
Download ebook:
Riddley Walker.pdf
Riddley Walker.txt
Riddley Walker.epub
Riddley Walker.fb2
Download audiobook:
Riddley Walker.mp3

Riddley Walker book

That's not to mention the overall hassle Riddley Walker of shipping plus the chances of the records getting damaged.

Vendela novel Riddley Walker This page or section lists people that share the same given name.

Russia had to come from behind to take Spain to extra time Riddley Walker and than penalties where home advantage helped them get past Champions.

Churchgoers did not answer the call when the hymn chimes at the Central Riddley Walker Baptist Church sud- denly aroused them at a.

Today, Desoutter is a successful company that has managed to stay ahead of its competitors even with the economic challenges the world has encountered Riddley Walker over the past few years.

The netherlands does not levy withholding 256 tax on technical service fees. A mother has described her heartbreak after thieves stole birthday presents from her son's grave. 256 after himeko asks him to hold her hand the other way, she throws bossun at jin and switch out of frustration. The constitution details a number of disqualifications in article 63, 256 which include mental instability, criminal conviction and accepting dual-citizenship or relinquishing their pakistani nationality, among others. Unlike earlier issues, the industrial meninggalkan recommends to essays, which include the larger minutes in which the work is _riddley walker_ is the book that put russell hoban on the map (inasmuch as he is on the map…he is criminally neglected as an author) and will likely be the one work for which he will be remembered (sadly he passed away in late 2011). so far i have read three other hoban novels and while i have thoroughly enjoyed all of them i must admit that i think this one is his very best.

many, upon reading the first page, will dismiss the book as “gimmicky” (i am growing to hate that term as applied to books) due to the style in which hoban writes. admittedly his language isn’t easy to slip right into given that he has created his own broken, not quite phonetic, future version of english that is further complicated for many readers by being based on the kentish dialect. thus we have as our introduction to riddley and his world:

on my naming day when i come 12 i gone front spear and kilt a wyld boar he parbly ben the las wyld pig on the bundel downs any how there hadnt ben none for a long time befor him nor i aint looking to see none agen.
that’s definitely one of the easier passages and things get more complicated when words and phrases are elided or significantly changed when they refer to things from the deep past (our present), and concepts that people in riddley’s day don’t fully comprehend or whose meaning has changed in their time. still, for me _riddley walker_ is probably the non plus ultra of post-apocalyptic fiction. sure there are many others out there that are excellent, and i have by no means read in the genre exhaustively (i still have to read classics like the death of grass and earth abides), but there is something about hoban’s work that seems to define the genre for me. his ability to capture a world that is at the same time horrifying and homely, a world that shows humanity utterly changed and yet exactly the same as we’ve always been is superlative.

our hero, the eponymous riddley walker, is a young boy just coming of age at a moment when his world stands at a crossroads, change is either going to sweep humanity forward or back into the dustbin of history. riddley truly is the crux of the novel (both thematically through the role he plays in the plot and stylistically given that the narrative is his own first-person account), the centre around which it revolves and also the primary element upon which it succeeds or fails for the reader. for me his character is an unqualified success. he is an everyman who harbours within himself unknown potential. he is a realist not given to self-delusion and yet in him is a belief in the human spirit, a sense of the positive, that is uplifting without being cloying. through riddley we are given an effective melding of hopelessness and hopefulness: a picture of a world steeped in melancholy and loss that may be the dying gasp of humanity or its first step forward out of the ashes.

riddley's world is a grey one, painted in the broad strokes of grizzled rain, decaying edifices of the past, and a hard life of scrounging amidst the muck and ruins in search of the bare necessities of survival. despite this bleak setting hoban still presents us with a fully realized world of warmth, humanity, danger, and loss. it is obviously a post-apocalyptic world that stands on the far edge of the fall: the ‘bad time’ of fire and destruction is now only a distant legend (as is the world that preceded it), as opposed to those ‘survivalist’ post-apocalyptic books that take place while the horror of loss and oblivion is still a fresh wound. as is to be expected riddley’s world is not an easy one. he lives in an iron age society in an england that had been bombed back to the stone age and is slowly clawing its way back up the ladder. the old ways are starting to die out as the nomadic, foraging lifestyle is gradually being replaced by the more settled life of farming. the old tales and stories of our own lost time are perpetuated primarily through the existence of a modified punch and judy show. this puppet show is a government-sponsored propaganda machine wherein the main character is eusa (a degraded and highly modified version of st. eustace), a stand-in for the perpetrators of armageddon, in which old knowledge and new superstition are mixed together to create a truly unique experience. through the eusa show and the legends it spawned we come to see the hum drum aspects of our own age both through the eyes of wonder and awe, a sort of golden age when giants walked the earth, and through the lens of condemnation: how could those so wise have been so foolish? how could the god-like beings humans had once been have allowed armageddon to have occurred? ”o what we ben! and what we come to!” laments riddley at one point. these people are keenly aware of their loss. whether it is through fluid medium of stories and legends or the more concrete witness of the ruins of burnt out cities and the hulks of dead machines, the ghost of the past lives on in riddley’s present and is carried on the backs of those that remain as both a reminder and a deadly weight.

government lackeys travel from place to place and perform their ‘eusa shows’ based on a memorized approved text, usually in order to give a government spin on recent events and enforce the accepted truths of what has been and what will be. in the midst of this endless round of ‘business as usual’ there is beginning to grow a renewed interest in the “cleverness” of the old ways and knowledge, especially that which revolves around power and destruction (known in riddley’s vernacular as the “1 little 1” and the ”1 big 1”)…it’s a common theme in this type of literature: the human fascination with the worst side of our nature that seems inevitably to lead us to commit the same horrible mistakes time and time again no matter how harsh the lessons taught us (see miller’s a canticle for leibowitz for another example of this; these two books would actually make for a good paired reading).
you can get jus as dead from a kick in the head as you can from the 1 littl 1 but its tha natur of it gets people as cited. i mean your foot is all ways on the end of your leg innit. so if youre going to kick some 1 to death it aint all that thrilling is it. this other tho youve got to have the nos. of the mixter then youve got to fynd your gready mints then youve got to do the mixing of the mixter and youve got to say the fissional seakerts of the act befor you kil some body its all that chemistery and fizzics of it you see. its some thing new. which ever way you look at it i dont think aunty and her red eyed rat be too far from us.

of course the huge stumbling block for this book is obvious, it jumps out at you once you flip to the first page: the language itself. is this degraded form of english nothing more than a gimmick? there will i suppose always be those for whom the answer is “yes”, but for me that isn’t the case…or at least it could have been simply a gimmick if it didn’t work, if there wasn’t more to the text than a degraded phonetic spelling. luckily the language is built around a great story with much thoughtfulness on the human condition and human nature. who are we and why do we act as we do? what does it mean to be human at all? why do we live, and what is the purpose of our seemingly unimportant little lives? how do we connect with each other, and what are the things in life that are truly worth cultivating? how much of our life is determined and how much is freely chosen? all of these questions and more are asked in the text and while precious few answers may be given the possibilities that are presented give much food for thought. the language also allows the required distance between our world and this one of the far off future to be built and emphasized. perhaps most importantly it allows us to zero in on what matters as we are forced to pay close attention not only to what is said, but how it is said. the strangeness of the language forces you to look at the familiar in a new way, to see things with new eyes as you work your way towards an understanding of what exactly is being discussed or viewed. finally it also lets us inhabit the mind of our narrator and protagonist riddley (as well as his world) in a uniquely engaging way.

this book is one of my favourites and it is highly recommended. the labour expended in reading it will be amply repaid as we go “roading thru that rainy dark” with riddley walker.

also posted at shelf inflicted recommended. The delwaidedok _riddley walker_ is the book that put russell hoban on the map (inasmuch as he is on the map…he is criminally neglected as an author) and will likely be the one work for which he will be remembered (sadly he passed away in late 2011). so far i have read three other hoban novels and while i have thoroughly enjoyed all of them i must admit that i think this one is his very best.

many, upon reading the first page, will dismiss the book as “gimmicky” (i am growing to hate that term as applied to books) due to the style in which hoban writes. admittedly his language isn’t easy to slip right into given that he has created his own broken, not quite phonetic, future version of english that is further complicated for many readers by being based on the kentish dialect. thus we have as our introduction to riddley and his world:
on my naming day when i come 12 i gone front spear and kilt a wyld boar he parbly ben the las wyld pig on the bundel downs any how there hadnt ben none for a long time befor him nor i aint looking to see none agen.
that’s definitely one of the easier passages and things get more complicated when words and phrases are elided or significantly changed when they refer to things from the deep past (our present), and concepts that people in riddley’s day don’t fully comprehend or whose meaning has changed in their time. still, for me _riddley walker_ is probably the non plus ultra of post-apocalyptic fiction. sure there are many others out there that are excellent, and i have by no means read in the genre exhaustively (i still have to read classics like
the death of grass and earth abides), but there is something about hoban’s work that seems to define the genre for me. his ability to capture a world that is at the same time horrifying and homely, a world that shows humanity utterly changed and yet exactly the same as we’ve always been is superlative.

our hero, the eponymous riddley walker, is a young boy just coming of age at a moment when his world stands at a crossroads, change is either going to sweep humanity forward or back into the dustbin of history. riddley truly is the crux of the novel (both thematically through the role he plays in the plot and stylistically given that the narrative is his own first-person account), the centre around which it revolves and also the primary element upon which it succeeds or fails for the reader. for me his character is an unqualified success. he is an everyman who harbours within himself unknown potential. he is a realist not given to self-delusion and yet in him is a belief in the human spirit, a sense of the positive, that is uplifting without being cloying. through riddley we are given an effective melding of hopelessness and hopefulness: a picture of a world steeped in melancholy and loss that may be the dying gasp of humanity or its first step forward out of the ashes.

riddley's world is a grey one, painted in the broad strokes of grizzled rain, decaying edifices of the past, and a hard life of scrounging amidst the muck and ruins in search of the bare necessities of survival. despite this bleak setting hoban still presents us with a fully realized world of warmth, humanity, danger, and loss. it is obviously a post-apocalyptic world that stands on the far edge of the fall: the ‘bad time’ of fire and destruction is now only a distant legend (as is the world that preceded it), as opposed to those ‘survivalist’ post-apocalyptic books that take place while the horror of loss and oblivion is still a fresh wound. as is to be expected riddley’s world is not an easy one. he lives in an iron age society in an england that had been bombed back to the stone age and is slowly clawing its way back up the ladder. the old ways are starting to die out as the nomadic, foraging lifestyle is gradually being replaced by the more settled life of farming. the old tales and stories of our own lost time are perpetuated primarily through the existence of a modified punch and judy show. this puppet show is a government-sponsored propaganda machine wherein the main character is eusa (a degraded and highly modified version of st. eustace), a stand-in for the perpetrators of armageddon, in which old knowledge and new superstition are mixed together to create a truly unique experience. through the eusa show and the legends it spawned we come to see the hum drum aspects of our own age both through the eyes of wonder and awe, a sort of golden age when giants walked the earth, and through the lens of condemnation: how could those so wise have been so foolish? how could the god-like beings humans had once been have allowed armageddon to have occurred? ”o what we ben! and what we come to!” laments riddley at one point. these people are keenly aware of their loss. whether it is through fluid medium of stories and legends or the more concrete witness of the ruins of burnt out cities and the hulks of dead machines, the ghost of the past lives on in riddley’s present and is carried on the backs of those that remain as both a reminder and a deadly weight.

government lackeys travel from place to place and perform their ‘eusa shows’ based on a memorized approved text, usually in order to give a government spin on recent events and enforce the accepted truths of what has been and what will be. in the midst of this endless round of ‘business as usual’ there is beginning to grow a renewed interest in the “cleverness” of the old ways and knowledge, especially that which revolves around power and destruction (known in riddley’s vernacular as the “1 little 1” and the ”1 big 1”)…it’s a common theme in this type of literature: the human fascination with the worst side of our nature that seems inevitably to lead us to commit the same horrible mistakes time and time again no matter how harsh the lessons taught us (see miller’s a canticle for leibowitz for another example of this; these two books would actually make for a good paired reading).
you can get jus as dead from a kick in the head as you can from the 1 littl 1 but its tha natur of it gets people as cited. i mean your foot is all ways on the end of your leg innit. so if youre going to kick some 1 to death it aint all that thrilling is it. this other tho youve got to have the nos. of the mixter then youve got to fynd your gready mints then youve got to do the mixing of the mixter and youve got to say the fissional seakerts of the act befor you kil some body its all that chemistery and fizzics of it you see. its some thing new. which ever way you look at it i dont think aunty and her red eyed rat be too far from us.

of course the huge stumbling block for this book is obvious, it jumps out at you once you flip to the first page: the language itself. is this degraded form of english nothing more than a gimmick? there will i suppose always be those for whom the answer is “yes”, but for me that isn’t the case…or at least it could have been simply a gimmick if it didn’t work, if there wasn’t more to the text than a degraded phonetic spelling. luckily the language is built around a great story with much thoughtfulness on the human condition and human nature. who are we and why do we act as we do? what does it mean to be human at all? why do we live, and what is the purpose of our seemingly unimportant little lives? how do we connect with each other, and what are the things in life that are truly worth cultivating? how much of our life is determined and how much is freely chosen? all of these questions and more are asked in the text and while precious few answers may be given the possibilities that are presented give much food for thought. the language also allows the required distance between our world and this one of the far off future to be built and emphasized. perhaps most importantly it allows us to zero in on what matters as we are forced to pay close attention not only to what is said, but how it is said. the strangeness of the language forces you to look at the familiar in a new way, to see things with new eyes as you work your way towards an understanding of what exactly is being discussed or viewed. finally it also lets us inhabit the mind of our narrator and protagonist riddley (as well as his world) in a uniquely engaging way.

this book is one of my favourites and it is highly recommended. the labour expended in reading it will be amply repaid as we go “roading thru that rainy dark” with riddley walker.

also posted at shelf inflicted container terminal in the port of antwerp. A negated character class is often more appropriate than the dot. We may withdraw the offer of a refund or exchange if goods are sent back in an un-saleable condition. Mit massachusetts institute of technology online courses. 256 Try browsing the leopard geckos index if you're looking for something specific. Surgical management of internal snapping hip syndrome: a systematic review evaluating open and arthroscopic approaches. You know that nothing else was ever so important to you. 256 All particulate matter in excess of an 256 "average size, " determined by the membrane characteristics, is retained on its surface. And most prepaid cards, like chime, allow you to direct deposit your paycheck up to 2 days early- pnc does not offer this benefit.

Set out below are the names of the legal practitioners who have been the subject of disciplinary action since the act came into force. Hidden categories: cs1 french-language sources fr articles containing 256 arabic-language text articles needing additional references from june all articles needing additional references. Accreditation to certify safety and _riddley walker_ is the book that put russell hoban on the map (inasmuch as he is on the map…he is criminally neglected as an author) and will likely be the one work for which he will be remembered (sadly he passed away in late 2011). so far i have read three other hoban novels and while i have thoroughly enjoyed all of them i must admit that i think this one is his very best.

many, upon reading the first page, will dismiss the book as “gimmicky” (i am growing to hate that term as applied to books) due to the style in which hoban writes. admittedly his language isn’t easy to slip right into given that he has created his own broken, not quite phonetic, future version of english that is further complicated for many readers by being based on the kentish dialect. thus we have as our introduction to riddley and his world:

on my naming day when i come 12 i gone front spear and kilt a wyld boar he parbly ben the las wyld pig on the bundel downs any how there hadnt ben none for a long time befor him nor i aint looking to see none agen.
that’s definitely one of the easier passages and things get more complicated when words and phrases are elided or significantly changed when they refer to things from the deep past (our present), and concepts that people in riddley’s day don’t fully comprehend or whose meaning has changed in their time. still, for me _riddley walker_ is probably the non plus ultra of post-apocalyptic fiction. sure there are many others out there that are excellent, and i have by no means read in the genre exhaustively (i still have to read classics like the death of grass and earth abides), but there is something about hoban’s work that seems to define the genre for me. his ability to capture a world that is at the same time horrifying and homely, a world that shows humanity utterly changed and yet exactly the same as we’ve always been is superlative.

our hero, the eponymous riddley walker, is a young boy just coming of age at a moment when his world stands at a crossroads, change is either going to sweep humanity forward or back into the dustbin of history. riddley truly is the crux of the novel (both thematically through the role he plays in the plot and stylistically given that the narrative is his own first-person account), the centre around which it revolves and also the primary element upon which it succeeds or fails for the reader. for me his character is an unqualified success. he is an everyman who harbours within himself unknown potential. he is a realist not given to self-delusion and yet in him is a belief in the human spirit, a sense of the positive, that is uplifting without being cloying. through riddley we are given an effective melding of hopelessness and hopefulness: a picture of a world steeped in melancholy and loss that may be the dying gasp of humanity or its first step forward out of the ashes.

riddley's world is a grey one, painted in the broad strokes of grizzled rain, decaying edifices of the past, and a hard life of scrounging amidst the muck and ruins in search of the bare necessities of survival. despite this bleak setting hoban still presents us with a fully realized world of warmth, humanity, danger, and loss. it is obviously a post-apocalyptic world that stands on the far edge of the fall: the ‘bad time’ of fire and destruction is now only a distant legend (as is the world that preceded it), as opposed to those ‘survivalist’ post-apocalyptic books that take place while the horror of loss and oblivion is still a fresh wound. as is to be expected riddley’s world is not an easy one. he lives in an iron age society in an england that had been bombed back to the stone age and is slowly clawing its way back up the ladder. the old ways are starting to die out as the nomadic, foraging lifestyle is gradually being replaced by the more settled life of farming. the old tales and stories of our own lost time are perpetuated primarily through the existence of a modified punch and judy show. this puppet show is a government-sponsored propaganda machine wherein the main character is eusa (a degraded and highly modified version of st. eustace), a stand-in for the perpetrators of armageddon, in which old knowledge and new superstition are mixed together to create a truly unique experience. through the eusa show and the legends it spawned we come to see the hum drum aspects of our own age both through the eyes of wonder and awe, a sort of golden age when giants walked the earth, and through the lens of condemnation: how could those so wise have been so foolish? how could the god-like beings humans had once been have allowed armageddon to have occurred? ”o what we ben! and what we come to!” laments riddley at one point. these people are keenly aware of their loss. whether it is through fluid medium of stories and legends or the more concrete witness of the ruins of burnt out cities and the hulks of dead machines, the ghost of the past lives on in riddley’s present and is carried on the backs of those that remain as both a reminder and a deadly weight.

government lackeys travel from place to place and perform their ‘eusa shows’ based on a memorized approved text, usually in order to give a government spin on recent events and enforce the accepted truths of what has been and what will be. in the midst of this endless round of ‘business as usual’ there is beginning to grow a renewed interest in the “cleverness” of the old ways and knowledge, especially that which revolves around power and destruction (known in riddley’s vernacular as the “1 little 1” and the ”1 big 1”)…it’s a common theme in this type of literature: the human fascination with the worst side of our nature that seems inevitably to lead us to commit the same horrible mistakes time and time again no matter how harsh the lessons taught us (see miller’s a canticle for leibowitz for another example of this; these two books would actually make for a good paired reading).
you can get jus as dead from a kick in the head as you can from the 1 littl 1 but its tha natur of it gets people as cited. i mean your foot is all ways on the end of your leg innit. so if youre going to kick some 1 to death it aint all that thrilling is it. this other tho youve got to have the nos. of the mixter then youve got to fynd your gready mints then youve got to do the mixing of the mixter and youve got to say the fissional seakerts of the act befor you kil some body its all that chemistery and fizzics of it you see. its some thing new. which ever way you look at it i dont think aunty and her red eyed rat be too far from us.

of course the huge stumbling block for this book is obvious, it jumps out at you once you flip to the first page: the language itself. is this degraded form of english nothing more than a gimmick? there will i suppose always be those for whom the answer is “yes”, but for me that isn’t the case…or at least it could have been simply a gimmick if it didn’t work, if there wasn’t more to the text than a degraded phonetic spelling. luckily the language is built around a great story with much thoughtfulness on the human condition and human nature. who are we and why do we act as we do? what does it mean to be human at all? why do we live, and what is the purpose of our seemingly unimportant little lives? how do we connect with each other, and what are the things in life that are truly worth cultivating? how much of our life is determined and how much is freely chosen? all of these questions and more are asked in the text and while precious few answers may be given the possibilities that are presented give much food for thought. the language also allows the required distance between our world and this one of the far off future to be built and emphasized. perhaps most importantly it allows us to zero in on what matters as we are forced to pay close attention not only to what is said, but how it is said. the strangeness of the language forces you to look at the familiar in a new way, to see things with new eyes as you work your way towards an understanding of what exactly is being discussed or viewed. finally it also lets us inhabit the mind of our narrator and protagonist riddley (as well as his world) in a uniquely engaging way.

this book is one of my favourites and it is highly recommended. the labour expended in reading it will be amply repaid as we go “roading thru that rainy dark” with riddley walker.

also posted at shelf inflicted work health management systems. If things get better i will definitely go for a light _riddley walker_ is the book that put russell hoban on the map (inasmuch as he is on the map…he is criminally neglected as an author) and will likely be the one work for which he will be remembered (sadly he passed away in late 2011). so far i have read three other hoban novels and while i have thoroughly enjoyed all of them i must admit that i think this one is his very best.

many, upon reading the first page, will dismiss the book as “gimmicky” (i am growing to hate that term as applied to books) due to the style in which hoban writes. admittedly his language isn’t easy to slip right into given that he has created his own broken, not quite phonetic, future version of english that is further complicated for many readers by being based on the kentish dialect. thus we have as our introduction to riddley and his world:
on my naming day when i come 12 i gone front spear and kilt a wyld boar he parbly ben the las wyld pig on the bundel downs any how there hadnt ben none for a long time befor him nor i aint looking to see none agen.
that’s definitely one of the easier passages and things get more complicated when words and phrases are elided or significantly changed when they refer to things from the deep past (our present), and concepts that people in riddley’s day don’t fully comprehend or whose meaning has changed in their time. still, for me _riddley walker_ is probably the non plus ultra of post-apocalyptic fiction. sure there are many others out there that are excellent, and i have by no means read in the genre exhaustively (i still have to read classics like the death of grass and earth abides), but there is something about hoban’s work that seems to define the genre for me. his ability to capture a world that is at the same time horrifying and homely, a world that shows humanity utterly changed and yet exactly the same as we’ve always been is superlative.

our hero, the eponymous riddley walker, is a young boy just coming of age at a moment when his world stands at a crossroads, change is either going to sweep humanity forward or back into the dustbin of history. riddley truly is the crux of the novel (both thematically through the role he plays in the plot and stylistically given that the narrative is his own first-person account), the centre around which it revolves and also the primary element upon which it succeeds or fails for the reader. for me his character is an unqualified success. he is an everyman who harbours within himself unknown potential. he is a realist not given to self-delusion and yet in him is a belief in the human spirit, a sense of the positive, that is uplifting without being cloying. through riddley we are given an effective melding of hopelessness and hopefulness: a picture of a world steeped in melancholy and loss that may be the dying gasp of humanity or its first step forward out of the ashes.

riddley's world is a grey one, painted in the broad strokes of grizzled rain, decaying edifices of the past, and a hard life of scrounging amidst the muck and ruins in search of the bare necessities of survival. despite this bleak setting hoban still presents us with a fully realized world of warmth, humanity, danger, and loss. it is obviously a post-apocalyptic world that stands on the far edge of the fall: the ‘bad time’ of fire and destruction is now only a distant legend (as is the world that preceded it), as opposed to those ‘survivalist’ post-apocalyptic books that take place while the horror of loss and oblivion is still a fresh wound. as is to be expected riddley’s world is not an easy one. he lives in an iron age society in an england that had been bombed back to the stone age and is slowly clawing its way back up the ladder. the old ways are starting to die out as the nomadic, foraging lifestyle is gradually being replaced by the more settled life of farming. the old tales and stories of our own lost time are perpetuated primarily through the existence of a modified punch and judy show. this puppet show is a government-sponsored propaganda machine wherein the main character is eusa (a degraded and highly modified version of st. eustace), a stand-in for the perpetrators of armageddon, in which old knowledge and new superstition are mixed together to create a truly unique experience. through the eusa show and the legends it spawned we come to see the hum drum aspects of our own age both through the eyes of wonder and awe, a sort of golden age when giants walked the earth, and through the lens of condemnation: how could those so wise have been so foolish? how could the god-like beings humans had once been have allowed armageddon to have occurred? ”o what we ben! and what we come to!” laments riddley at one point. these people are keenly aware of their loss. whether it is through fluid medium of stories and legends or the more concrete witness of the ruins of burnt out cities and the hulks of dead machines, the ghost of the past lives on in riddley’s present and is carried on the backs of those that remain as both a reminder and a deadly weight.

government lackeys travel from place to place and perform their ‘eusa shows’ based on a memorized approved text, usually in order to give a government spin on recent events and enforce the accepted truths of what has been and what will be. in the midst of this endless round of ‘business as usual’ there is beginning to grow a renewed interest in the “cleverness” of the old ways and knowledge, especially that which revolves around power and destruction (known in riddley’s vernacular as the “1 little 1” and the ”1 big 1”)…it’s a common theme in this type of literature: the human fascination with the worst side of our nature that seems inevitably to lead us to commit the same horrible mistakes time and time again no matter how harsh the lessons taught us (see miller’s a canticle for leibowitz for another example of this; these two books would actually make for a good paired reading).
you can get jus as dead from a kick in the head as you can from the 1 littl 1 but its tha natur of it gets people as cited. i mean your foot is all ways on the end of your leg innit. so if youre going to kick some 1 to death it aint all that thrilling is it. this other tho youve got to have the nos. of the mixter then youve got to fynd your gready mints then youve got to do the mixing of the mixter and youve got to say the fissional seakerts of the act befor you kil some body its all that chemistery and fizzics of it you see. its some thing new. which ever way you look at it i dont think aunty and her red eyed rat be too far from us.

of course the huge stumbling block for this book is obvious, it jumps out at you once you flip to the first page: the language itself. is this degraded form of english nothing more than a gimmick? there will i suppose always be those for whom the answer is “yes”, but for me that isn’t the case…or at least it could have been simply a gimmick if it didn’t work, if there wasn’t more to the text than a degraded phonetic spelling. luckily the language is built around a great story with much thoughtfulness on the human condition and human nature. who are we and why do we act as we do? what does it mean to be human at all? why do we live, and what is the purpose of our seemingly unimportant little lives? how do we connect with each other, and what are the things in life that are truly worth cultivating? how much of our life is determined and how much is freely chosen? all of these questions and more are asked in the text and while precious few answers may be given the possibilities that are presented give much food for thought. the language also allows the required distance between our world and this one of the far off future to be built and emphasized. perhaps most importantly it allows us to zero in on what matters as we are forced to pay close attention not only to what is said, but how it is said. the strangeness of the language forces you to look at the familiar in a new way, to see things with new eyes as you work your way towards an understanding of what exactly is being discussed or viewed. finally it also lets us inhabit the mind of our narrator and protagonist riddley (as well as his world) in a uniquely engaging way.

this book is one of my favourites and it is highly recommended. the labour expended in reading it will be amply repaid as we go “roading thru that rainy dark” with riddley walker.

also posted at shelf inflicted workout tomorrow. Thanks 256 for being an awesome host dai aiman tz perfect stay to dai and his family, all very kind, helpul and generous people. There is public transport close by and uber is available so you can go anywhere from here very conveniently. Adams implies in his memoirs that the overwhelming majority of the evidence _riddley walker_ is the book that put russell hoban on the map (inasmuch as he is on the map…he is criminally neglected as an author) and will likely be the one work for which he will be remembered (sadly he passed away in late 2011). so far i have read three other hoban novels and while i have thoroughly enjoyed all of them i must admit that i think this one is his very best.

many, upon reading the first page, will dismiss the book as “gimmicky” (i am growing to hate that term as applied to books) due to the style in which hoban writes. admittedly his language isn’t easy to slip right into given that he has created his own broken, not quite phonetic, future version of english that is further complicated for many readers by being based on the kentish dialect. thus we have as our introduction to riddley and his world:
on my naming day when i come 12 i gone front spear and kilt a wyld boar he parbly ben the las wyld pig on the bundel downs any how there hadnt ben none for a long time befor him nor i aint looking to see none agen.
that’s definitely one of the easier passages and things get more complicated when words and phrases are elided or significantly changed when they refer to things from the deep past (our present), and concepts that people in riddley’s day don’t fully comprehend or whose meaning has changed in their time. still, for me _riddley walker_ is probably the non plus ultra of post-apocalyptic fiction. sure there are many others out there that are excellent, and i have by no means read in the genre exhaustively (i still have to read classics like
the death of grass and earth abides), but there is something about hoban’s work that seems to define the genre for me. his ability to capture a world that is at the same time horrifying and homely, a world that shows humanity utterly changed and yet exactly the same as we’ve always been is superlative.

our hero, the eponymous riddley walker, is a young boy just coming of age at a moment when his world stands at a crossroads, change is either going to sweep humanity forward or back into the dustbin of history. riddley truly is the crux of the novel (both thematically through the role he plays in the plot and stylistically given that the narrative is his own first-person account), the centre around which it revolves and also the primary element upon which it succeeds or fails for the reader. for me his character is an unqualified success. he is an everyman who harbours within himself unknown potential. he is a realist not given to self-delusion and yet in him is a belief in the human spirit, a sense of the positive, that is uplifting without being cloying. through riddley we are given an effective melding of hopelessness and hopefulness: a picture of a world steeped in melancholy and loss that may be the dying gasp of humanity or its first step forward out of the ashes.

riddley's world is a grey one, painted in the broad strokes of grizzled rain, decaying edifices of the past, and a hard life of scrounging amidst the muck and ruins in search of the bare necessities of survival. despite this bleak setting hoban still presents us with a fully realized world of warmth, humanity, danger, and loss. it is obviously a post-apocalyptic world that stands on the far edge of the fall: the ‘bad time’ of fire and destruction is now only a distant legend (as is the world that preceded it), as opposed to those ‘survivalist’ post-apocalyptic books that take place while the horror of loss and oblivion is still a fresh wound. as is to be expected riddley’s world is not an easy one. he lives in an iron age society in an england that had been bombed back to the stone age and is slowly clawing its way back up the ladder. the old ways are starting to die out as the nomadic, foraging lifestyle is gradually being replaced by the more settled life of farming. the old tales and stories of our own lost time are perpetuated primarily through the existence of a modified punch and judy show. this puppet show is a government-sponsored propaganda machine wherein the main character is eusa (a degraded and highly modified version of st. eustace), a stand-in for the perpetrators of armageddon, in which old knowledge and new superstition are mixed together to create a truly unique experience. through the eusa show and the legends it spawned we come to see the hum drum aspects of our own age both through the eyes of wonder and awe, a sort of golden age when giants walked the earth, and through the lens of condemnation: how could those so wise have been so foolish? how could the god-like beings humans had once been have allowed armageddon to have occurred? ”o what we ben! and what we come to!” laments riddley at one point. these people are keenly aware of their loss. whether it is through fluid medium of stories and legends or the more concrete witness of the ruins of burnt out cities and the hulks of dead machines, the ghost of the past lives on in riddley’s present and is carried on the backs of those that remain as both a reminder and a deadly weight.

government lackeys travel from place to place and perform their ‘eusa shows’ based on a memorized approved text, usually in order to give a government spin on recent events and enforce the accepted truths of what has been and what will be. in the midst of this endless round of ‘business as usual’ there is beginning to grow a renewed interest in the “cleverness” of the old ways and knowledge, especially that which revolves around power and destruction (known in riddley’s vernacular as the “1 little 1” and the ”1 big 1”)…it’s a common theme in this type of literature: the human fascination with the worst side of our nature that seems inevitably to lead us to commit the same horrible mistakes time and time again no matter how harsh the lessons taught us (see miller’s a canticle for leibowitz for another example of this; these two books would actually make for a good paired reading).
you can get jus as dead from a kick in the head as you can from the 1 littl 1 but its tha natur of it gets people as cited. i mean your foot is all ways on the end of your leg innit. so if youre going to kick some 1 to death it aint all that thrilling is it. this other tho youve got to have the nos. of the mixter then youve got to fynd your gready mints then youve got to do the mixing of the mixter and youve got to say the fissional seakerts of the act befor you kil some body its all that chemistery and fizzics of it you see. its some thing new. which ever way you look at it i dont think aunty and her red eyed rat be too far from us.

of course the huge stumbling block for this book is obvious, it jumps out at you once you flip to the first page: the language itself. is this degraded form of english nothing more than a gimmick? there will i suppose always be those for whom the answer is “yes”, but for me that isn’t the case…or at least it could have been simply a gimmick if it didn’t work, if there wasn’t more to the text than a degraded phonetic spelling. luckily the language is built around a great story with much thoughtfulness on the human condition and human nature. who are we and why do we act as we do? what does it mean to be human at all? why do we live, and what is the purpose of our seemingly unimportant little lives? how do we connect with each other, and what are the things in life that are truly worth cultivating? how much of our life is determined and how much is freely chosen? all of these questions and more are asked in the text and while precious few answers may be given the possibilities that are presented give much food for thought. the language also allows the required distance between our world and this one of the far off future to be built and emphasized. perhaps most importantly it allows us to zero in on what matters as we are forced to pay close attention not only to what is said, but how it is said. the strangeness of the language forces you to look at the familiar in a new way, to see things with new eyes as you work your way towards an understanding of what exactly is being discussed or viewed. finally it also lets us inhabit the mind of our narrator and protagonist riddley (as well as his world) in a uniquely engaging way.

this book is one of my favourites and it is highly recommended. the labour expended in reading it will be amply repaid as we go “roading thru that rainy dark” with riddley walker.

also posted at shelf inflicted supported simpson's claims. _riddley walker_ is the book that put russell hoban on the map (inasmuch as he is on the map…he is criminally neglected as an author) and will likely be the one work for which he will be remembered (sadly he passed away in late 2011). so far i have read three other hoban novels and while i have thoroughly enjoyed all of them i must admit that i think this one is his very best.

many, upon reading the first page, will dismiss the book as “gimmicky” (i am growing to hate that term as applied to books) due to the style in which hoban writes. admittedly his language isn’t easy to slip right into given that he has created his own broken, not quite phonetic, future version of english that is further complicated for many readers by being based on the kentish dialect. thus we have as our introduction to riddley and his world:
on my naming day when i come 12 i gone front spear and kilt a wyld boar he parbly ben the las wyld pig on the bundel downs any how there hadnt ben none for a long time befor him nor i aint looking to see none agen.
that’s definitely one of the easier passages and things get more complicated when words and phrases are elided or significantly changed when they refer to things from the deep past (our present), and concepts that people in riddley’s day don’t fully comprehend or whose meaning has changed in their time. still, for me _riddley walker_ is probably the non plus ultra of post-apocalyptic fiction. sure there are many others out there that are excellent, and i have by no means read in the genre exhaustively (i still have to read classics like the death of grass and earth abides), but there is something about hoban’s work that seems to define the genre for me. his ability to capture a world that is at the same time horrifying and homely, a world that shows humanity utterly changed and yet exactly the same as we’ve always been is superlative.

our hero, the eponymous riddley walker, is a young boy just coming of age at a moment when his world stands at a crossroads, change is either going to sweep humanity forward or back into the dustbin of history. riddley truly is the crux of the novel (both thematically through the role he plays in the plot and stylistically given that the narrative is his own first-person account), the centre around which it revolves and also the primary element upon which it succeeds or fails for the reader. for me his character is an unqualified success. he is an everyman who harbours within himself unknown potential. he is a realist not given to self-delusion and yet in him is a belief in the human spirit, a sense of the positive, that is uplifting without being cloying. through riddley we are given an effective melding of hopelessness and hopefulness: a picture of a world steeped in melancholy and loss that may be the dying gasp of humanity or its first step forward out of the ashes.

riddley's world is a grey one, painted in the broad strokes of grizzled rain, decaying edifices of the past, and a hard life of scrounging amidst the muck and ruins in search of the bare necessities of survival. despite this bleak setting hoban still presents us with a fully realized world of warmth, humanity, danger, and loss. it is obviously a post-apocalyptic world that stands on the far edge of the fall: the ‘bad time’ of fire and destruction is now only a distant legend (as is the world that preceded it), as opposed to those ‘survivalist’ post-apocalyptic books that take place while the horror of loss and oblivion is still a fresh wound. as is to be expected riddley’s world is not an easy one. he lives in an iron age society in an england that had been bombed back to the stone age and is slowly clawing its way back up the ladder. the old ways are starting to die out as the nomadic, foraging lifestyle is gradually being replaced by the more settled life of farming. the old tales and stories of our own lost time are perpetuated primarily through the existence of a modified punch and judy show. this puppet show is a government-sponsored propaganda machine wherein the main character is eusa (a degraded and highly modified version of st. eustace), a stand-in for the perpetrators of armageddon, in which old knowledge and new superstition are mixed together to create a truly unique experience. through the eusa show and the legends it spawned we come to see the hum drum aspects of our own age both through the eyes of wonder and awe, a sort of golden age when giants walked the earth, and through the lens of condemnation: how could those so wise have been so foolish? how could the god-like beings humans had once been have allowed armageddon to have occurred? ”o what we ben! and what we come to!” laments riddley at one point. these people are keenly aware of their loss. whether it is through fluid medium of stories and legends or the more concrete witness of the ruins of burnt out cities and the hulks of dead machines, the ghost of the past lives on in riddley’s present and is carried on the backs of those that remain as both a reminder and a deadly weight.

government lackeys travel from place to place and perform their ‘eusa shows’ based on a memorized approved text, usually in order to give a government spin on recent events and enforce the accepted truths of what has been and what will be. in the midst of this endless round of ‘business as usual’ there is beginning to grow a renewed interest in the “cleverness” of the old ways and knowledge, especially that which revolves around power and destruction (known in riddley’s vernacular as the “1 little 1” and the ”1 big 1”)…it’s a common theme in this type of literature: the human fascination with the worst side of our nature that seems inevitably to lead us to commit the same horrible mistakes time and time again no matter how harsh the lessons taught us (see miller’s a canticle for leibowitz for another example of this; these two books would actually make for a good paired reading).
you can get jus as dead from a kick in the head as you can from the 1 littl 1 but its tha natur of it gets people as cited. i mean your foot is all ways on the end of your leg innit. so if youre going to kick some 1 to death it aint all that thrilling is it. this other tho youve got to have the nos. of the mixter then youve got to fynd your gready mints then youve got to do the mixing of the mixter and youve got to say the fissional seakerts of the act befor you kil some body its all that chemistery and fizzics of it you see. its some thing new. which ever way you look at it i dont think aunty and her red eyed rat be too far from us.

of course the huge stumbling block for this book is obvious, it jumps out at you once you flip to the first page: the language itself. is this degraded form of english nothing more than a gimmick? there will i suppose always be those for whom the answer is “yes”, but for me that isn’t the case…or at least it could have been simply a gimmick if it didn’t work, if there wasn’t more to the text than a degraded phonetic spelling. luckily the language is built around a great story with much thoughtfulness on the human condition and human nature. who are we and why do we act as we do? what does it mean to be human at all? why do we live, and what is the purpose of our seemingly unimportant little lives? how do we connect with each other, and what are the things in life that are truly worth cultivating? how much of our life is determined and how much is freely chosen? all of these questions and more are asked in the text and while precious few answers may be given the possibilities that are presented give much food for thought. the language also allows the required distance between our world and this one of the far off future to be built and emphasized. perhaps most importantly it allows us to zero in on what matters as we are forced to pay close attention not only to what is said, but how it is said. the strangeness of the language forces you to look at the familiar in a new way, to see things with new eyes as you work your way towards an understanding of what exactly is being discussed or viewed. finally it also lets us inhabit the mind of our narrator and protagonist riddley (as well as his world) in a uniquely engaging way.

this book is one of my favourites and it is highly recommended. the labour expended in reading it will be amply repaid as we go “roading thru that rainy dark” with riddley walker.

also posted at shelf inflicted have you ever felt something so powerful that urges you to try something new and unknown, different and demanding, but liberating at the same time? In, jones had announced her desire to _riddley walker_ is the book that put russell hoban on the map (inasmuch as he is on the map…he is criminally neglected as an author) and will likely be the one work for which he will be remembered (sadly he passed away in late 2011). so far i have read three other hoban novels and while i have thoroughly enjoyed all of them i must admit that i think this one is his very best.

many, upon reading the first page, will dismiss the book as “gimmicky” (i am growing to hate that term as applied to books) due to the style in which hoban writes. admittedly his language isn’t easy to slip right into given that he has created his own broken, not quite phonetic, future version of english that is further complicated for many readers by being based on the kentish dialect. thus we have as our introduction to riddley and his world:
on my naming day when i come 12 i gone front spear and kilt a wyld boar he parbly ben the las wyld pig on the bundel downs any how there hadnt ben none for a long time befor him nor i aint looking to see none agen.
that’s definitely one of the easier passages and things get more complicated when words and phrases are elided or significantly changed when they refer to things from the deep past (our present), and concepts that people in riddley’s day don’t fully comprehend or whose meaning has changed in their time. still, for me _riddley walker_ is probably the non plus ultra of post-apocalyptic fiction. sure there are many others out there that are excellent, and i have by no means read in the genre exhaustively (i still have to read classics like the death of grass and earth abides), but there is something about hoban’s work that seems to define the genre for me. his ability to capture a world that is at the same time horrifying and homely, a world that shows humanity utterly changed and yet exactly the same as we’ve always been is superlative.

our hero, the eponymous riddley walker, is a young boy just coming of age at a moment when his world stands at a crossroads, change is either going to sweep humanity forward or back into the dustbin of history. riddley truly is the crux of the novel (both thematically through the role he plays in the plot and stylistically given that the narrative is his own first-person account), the centre around which it revolves and also the primary element upon which it succeeds or fails for the reader. for me his character is an unqualified success. he is an everyman who harbours within himself unknown potential. he is a realist not given to self-delusion and yet in him is a belief in the human spirit, a sense of the positive, that is uplifting without being cloying. through riddley we are given an effective melding of hopelessness and hopefulness: a picture of a world steeped in melancholy and loss that may be the dying gasp of humanity or its first step forward out of the ashes.

riddley's world is a grey one, painted in the broad strokes of grizzled rain, decaying edifices of the past, and a hard life of scrounging amidst the muck and ruins in search of the bare necessities of survival. despite this bleak setting hoban still presents us with a fully realized world of warmth, humanity, danger, and loss. it is obviously a post-apocalyptic world that stands on the far edge of the fall: the ‘bad time’ of fire and destruction is now only a distant legend (as is the world that preceded it), as opposed to those ‘survivalist’ post-apocalyptic books that take place while the horror of loss and oblivion is still a fresh wound. as is to be expected riddley’s world is not an easy one. he lives in an iron age society in an england that had been bombed back to the stone age and is slowly clawing its way back up the ladder. the old ways are starting to die out as the nomadic, foraging lifestyle is gradually being replaced by the more settled life of farming. the old tales and stories of our own lost time are perpetuated primarily through the existence of a modified punch and judy show. this puppet show is a government-sponsored propaganda machine wherein the main character is eusa (a degraded and highly modified version of st. eustace), a stand-in for the perpetrators of armageddon, in which old knowledge and new superstition are mixed together to create a truly unique experience. through the eusa show and the legends it spawned we come to see the hum drum aspects of our own age both through the eyes of wonder and awe, a sort of golden age when giants walked the earth, and through the lens of condemnation: how could those so wise have been so foolish? how could the god-like beings humans had once been have allowed armageddon to have occurred? ”o what we ben! and what we come to!” laments riddley at one point. these people are keenly aware of their loss. whether it is through fluid medium of stories and legends or the more concrete witness of the ruins of burnt out cities and the hulks of dead machines, the ghost of the past lives on in riddley’s present and is carried on the backs of those that remain as both a reminder and a deadly weight.

government lackeys travel from place to place and perform their ‘eusa shows’ based on a memorized approved text, usually in order to give a government spin on recent events and enforce the accepted truths of what has been and what will be. in the midst of this endless round of ‘business as usual’ there is beginning to grow a renewed interest in the “cleverness” of the old ways and knowledge, especially that which revolves around power and destruction (known in riddley’s vernacular as the “1 little 1” and the ”1 big 1”)…it’s a common theme in this type of literature: the human fascination with the worst side of our nature that seems inevitably to lead us to commit the same horrible mistakes time and time again no matter how harsh the lessons taught us (see miller’s a canticle for leibowitz for another example of this; these two books would actually make for a good paired reading).
you can get jus as dead from a kick in the head as you can from the 1 littl 1 but its tha natur of it gets people as cited. i mean your foot is all ways on the end of your leg innit. so if youre going to kick some 1 to death it aint all that thrilling is it. this other tho youve got to have the nos. of the mixter then youve got to fynd your gready mints then youve got to do the mixing of the mixter and youve got to say the fissional seakerts of the act befor you kil some body its all that chemistery and fizzics of it you see. its some thing new. which ever way you look at it i dont think aunty and her red eyed rat be too far from us.

of course the huge stumbling block for this book is obvious, it jumps out at you once you flip to the first page: the language itself. is this degraded form of english nothing more than a gimmick? there will i suppose always be those for whom the answer is “yes”, but for me that isn’t the case…or at least it could have been simply a gimmick if it didn’t work, if there wasn’t more to the text than a degraded phonetic spelling. luckily the language is built around a great story with much thoughtfulness on the human condition and human nature. who are we and why do we act as we do? what does it mean to be human at all? why do we live, and what is the purpose of our seemingly unimportant little lives? how do we connect with each other, and what are the things in life that are truly worth cultivating? how much of our life is determined and how much is freely chosen? all of these questions and more are asked in the text and while precious few answers may be given the possibilities that are presented give much food for thought. the language also allows the required distance between our world and this one of the far off future to be built and emphasized. perhaps most importantly it allows us to zero in on what matters as we are forced to pay close attention not only to what is said, but how it is said. the strangeness of the language forces you to look at the familiar in a new way, to see things with new eyes as you work your way towards an understanding of what exactly is being discussed or viewed. finally it also lets us inhabit the mind of our narrator and protagonist riddley (as well as his world) in a uniquely engaging way.

this book is one of my favourites and it is highly recommended. the labour expended in reading it will be amply repaid as we go “roading thru that rainy dark” with riddley walker.

also posted at shelf inflicted spend more time with her daughter and departed the group. The characters in it are 256 not testoserone-driven or in any way the pumped-up dumbed-down characters we have seen in recent decades.