The Russell Hoban website

Welcome to russellhoban.org, providing definitive information and news about the late novelist Russell Hoban and his work.

Revisiting a classic interview

On 15th February 2011 Russell Hoban was interviewed by author and broadcaster Will Self. Self had written the foreword to a recent edition of Riddley Walker, and has written elsewhere of his admiration for Hoban and his work. In February 2022 the full audio of the conversation was published on the British Library Player website. A first-hand account on the SA4QE archive site also describes the evening and has a partial transcript. (Photo: Richard Cooper)


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Harry hears the rag-and-bone man calling "Rainy numbers up! Any thunder up?" and goes through the rain door to a fantastical world where the weather is made to find an old iron tank used by the rag-and-bone man as a cloud catcher. To scare off the lion that is frightening the man's horse, Lightning...
Between September 2002 and March 2005, Russell Hoban contributed to his own discussion forum, The Kraken. In the second of a 2-part feature (part 1 is here), Richard Cooper looks back over a selection of his posts. Exactly 12 years ago, on Christmas Eve 2003, Russell Hoban wished The Kraken group...
All quotations come from Russell Hoban, Riddley Walker: Expanded Edition, Indiana University Press, 1998 Although he sets his novel Riddley Walker (published in 1980) in a post-apocalyptic future, Russell Hoban makes use of the medieval world to mark this future as a site of the "primitive." For...
The only thing Frances will eat is bread and jam. "How do you know what you'll like if you won't even try anything?" asks Father. But Frances is not tempted by eggs or string beans until clever Mother finds the answer... The third and probably the best known title in Russell Hoban's Frances the...
It is perfectly possible to read and  enjoy Russell Hoban’s masterpiece Riddley Walker without solving or even being aware of the riddles woven into the story. You struggle with the language for a time until its phonetic nature becomes clear, and you congratulate yourself for having...
riddley-indiana.jpg According to reviewers of literature, Hoban’s masterpiece is Riddley Walker.  I agree, but for reasons not noted in any review.  In both conception and presentation, Riddley Walker is a novel unlike any other.  It is a wonder and...
In a terrifying dream-journey John struggles through jungle undergrowth, travelling through fierce rapids and exploring a mystery passage before he discovers a courtyard guarded by a stone winged serpent. There John meets another John, his real self, and realises that he is only part of the dream.
Summary:Fourth Galaxy, 4 November 2052: in the black sparkle of deep space a figure in a blue overall tumbles over and over as it drifts towards the planet Badr-al-Budur. No space suit, no helmet, no oxygen. He can't be alive, can he? But he is. First Navigator Fremder Gorn is the only survivor...
In Dock 14 (there's no 13); Clever Daughter, a deep-space Corporation tanker, a huge battered thing like a discarded oil refinery all pocked and pitted from the dust and flying debris of seven galaxies, dull metal shining in the rain. Nothing sleek, nothing aerodynamic - it doesn't need to be...
Summary: Hoban's second novel for adults, Kleinzeit is a story detailing the eponymous title character's brush with illness and creativity. When Kleinzeit is fired from his job as an advertising copywriter, he ends up in hospital with a "skewed hypotenuse", being tended by the healthy and...

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