Riddley Walker, Expanded Edition (Paperback)

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Riddley Walker, Expanded Edition By Russell Hoban Cover Image
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Staff Reviews

One of the most strikingly original books I've ever read, told by one of the most memorable narrators you're likely to find anywhere in literature, Riddley Walker is set in an England which, many years after a devastating nuclear cataclysm, has devolved into a loose collection of clans, whose members are raised on folktales about times back way back, before Bad Time. When his father is crushed to death while excavating a piece of antique machinery, young Riddley inherits the role of storyteller and soon sets out across the blackened isle to discover for himself what caused the Bad Time and what the leaders of this ruined state are doing in attempt to restore the mythic technology of old. Don't be thrown off by the pidgin language - you'll pick it up quickly, and I actually came to love Riddley's storytelling, which improves as the book goes on.

— Nick

A degraded mythology, a bastardization of cockney and Pennsylvania dialects, a post-apocalyptic novel that feels both truly Post (the proverbial "After") and Apocalyptic (the end of things, or, the Bad Times, or "the 1 Big 1.") Hoban lets rip his phonetic whirling-dervish across this blasted picaresque, the vestiges of storytelling clinging to the narrator, a flaneur muttering "Trubba not."

— Patrick


"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.

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.

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780253212344
ISBN-10: 0253212340
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Publication Date: September 22nd, 1998
Pages: 256
Language: English