SA4QE 2017 - Emmae - Oban, United Kingdom
Quotes on yellow gold A4 paper, I placed in local Waterstones bookshop, between the books in Fiction where RH should be, but isn’t, and also in the teens and younger readers’ shelves. Footnote included a thinly veiled hint to the management regarding the absence of the author’s titles, considering this worldwide, SA4QE effect.
Soon, I will call in to see whether the yellow papers are still there.
‘.... “It’s one of those crazy things, like when you read in the paper that the big brains figure the world’s going to end in 150 billion years and you think, well, we’ve got a little time yet. But a week later the big brains change their estimate to 50 billion years and you pull the covers over your head and have a nervous breakdown. Imagine! No more world and nobody to remember there was ever a world.” ’
I chose this and these other two quotes, for their appeal to children as well as adults, because they can be interpreted at any level, and especially as Soonchild is a bit of an in-between-er.
As well as being about the fears we have at any age, there are parallels with current events and fears for the future of our world, and what qualities human beings need to deal with them.
All expressed in this deceptively simple style.
“Tell me about the strangeness.”
“I don’t know if I have any words for it. Underneath every thing there is strangeness, there is silence. You are that strangeness and silence in the shape of a bird.”
“Yes,” said Ulpika. “That is what I am. But does anybody want strangeness and silence any more?”
“I don’t think I can handle anything big,” said John. “I’m not the shaman I used to be.”
“Used to be won’t cut it,” said Deepguy. “This is a whole new ballgame.”
“Why me?” said John. Tears were running down his face and he had to blow his nose.
“It has to be you because you’re the only one there is.”
“But the world is full of other people,” whimpered John.
“And every one of them is the only one there is. How does that grab you?”
“Hard,” said John. “Only I don’t know what you mean.”
“The world is a very slippery thing,” said Deepguy, “and if all of you only ones don’t hold tight it could slip out of your hands like an eel. Got it?”
Footnote at end of the same page as quotations:
These quotations are from ‘Soonchild’ a novel by Russell Hoban.
This yellow paper has been left here as part of the annual celebration known as SA4QE, by the author’s fans around the world, on his birthday, 4th February.
To discover more, go to the SA4QE website, or www.russellhoban.org - or better still, read one of his many unusual novels and children’s books.
Ask at the counter for an amazing list!