So good in a deep place

Lindsay Edmunds

Near the end of Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, everyone stares up at the night sky, stunned at the sight of the huge alien spacecraft hovering over Devil’s Mountain, Wyoming. How can such a thing be? How can it be so strange, and yet so beautiful, and so good?

That is how I feel about Russell Hoban’s novels. They inspire awe, and yet they are here in this world. My copy of Turtle Diary — a first edition from a Bethesda, Maryland, used bookstore — bears the signs of love. Its cover is worn, a few pages are smudged and the binding is not tight. I do not know how many times I have read it since the fateful day I checked it out of a small Pennsylvania library. Yet it still surprises me. The water in this well is fresh, deep, and clear.

The turtles navigate the wide ocean to the place they carry inside them, and at the end of the trip it is before them — “real, solid, no illusion”.

These books are real, and I am grateful.

There was a long period when I lost touch. I thought for years the last published Hoban novel was The Medusa Frequency. However, two years ago, I saw a passing reference to Russell Hoban in a book critic’s column. A Google search led me to The Kraken, and to the happy news that new books were piled up like treasure.

The Moment Under The Moment is a deep place. Very few writers have the skill or courage to explore it. Yet Russ’s novels all are road maps into this country.

Lindsay Edmunds is a medical and pharmaceutical writer-editor who lives in a small town in south-western Pennsylvania. She does not remember who or what first led her to Russell Hoban’s books, but she will be forever grateful. Lindsay's later articles include one on SA4QE for The Huffington Post, and her website is here.

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