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Michael Dirda's round-up of the best American fiction in this article dated 1 June 1997 names Russell Hoban: 'at his best he is the finest all-round writer in the world: author of brilliant picture books (about Frances the Badger and Captain Najork); of a wistful, Beckett-like parable for middle readers, The Mouse and His Child; and of the inspired Riddley Walker, a post-nuclear holocaust Huckleberry Finn, told in fractured English, largely about spiritual regeneration. Like this last's youthful hero, Hoban remains at heart a "connection man," looking for meaning beneath the surfaces of life.'
Aardman Animations co-founder Peter Lord chooses Riddley Walker in this panel discussion of three favourite books. Lord and the other contributors Russell Kane and Harriet Gilbert praise the book's language and originality. First broadcast 1st April 2016. Link may not be permanently available or available outside the UK.
My chosen quotation for this year's sA4qe is from the Hoban novel which I had surely already distributed most widely during 2015: 'Riddley Walker' ... I had circulated a couple of spare copies amongst friends on various occasions this year (some of the older picador editions I'd accrued from charity shops over the years) - I'd also recommended the novel to several more friends and colleagues in recent months.
The weather here on the west coast of Canada was once again inclement on Russell Hoban's naming day. I arrived at a grey and windy White Rock Beach with my yellow paper, some tape and a pocket full of tacks. I had a location planned - at a tourist lookout above the beach and pier - but when I arrived at the beach, the first thing I saw was a silent and still man with a briefcase, standing in front of the old train station, contemplating the bay in front of him.
Swamped with end-of-term chores as always at this time of year, I nevertheless enjoyed doing a bit of "fork-you-ating" in the morning. This time my quotations went to a few colleagues at my school who had been in a reading group with me last year and who were game when I invited them to read and discuss Riddley Walker with me. Mind you, they weren't English teachers but teachers of German, French, Italian, Latin and History! Some received a quotation from the book we'd read together, others were given a quotation from The Mouse and His Child, which I love very much too.