Russell Hoban quotations used in SA4QE
This is a list of quotations from Russell Hoban's books used in the annual SA4QE fan event. Click on the novel title for details of that book, or on the "read more" link for details of who chose the quotation and where they left it.
One wakes up in the morning and puts on oneself. Everyone has experienced this: the self must be put on before any garment, and there is inevitably a pause as it were a caesura in the going forward of things before the self is put on. Why is this? It is because our mortal identity is not the primary one, not the profound, not the deep one. No, what wakes up from sleep is not Tiglath-Pileser or Peter Schlemiel or Pilgermann; it is simply raw undifferentiated being, brute being with nothing driving it but the forward motion imparted to it by the original explosion into being of the universe. For a fraction of a moment it is itself only; then must it with joy or terror put on that identity taken on with mortal birth, that identity that each morning is the cumulative total of its mortal days and nights, that self old or young, sick or well, brave or cowardly, beautiful or ugly, whole or mutilated, that is one’s lot.
From the book Pilgermann by Russell Hoban, 4th Feb 1925 – 13th Dec 2011.
Celebrating the anniversary of his birth in the annual SA4QE event.
"If you cud even jus see 1 thing clear the woal of whats in it you cud see every thing clear. But you never wil get to see the woal of any thing youre all ways in the middl of it living it or moving thru it."
'Alone and blind and endlessly voyaging I think constantly of fidelity. Fidelity is a matter of perception; nobody is unfaithful to the sea or to mountains or to death: once recognized they fill the heart. In love or in terror or in loathing one responds to them with the true self; fidelity is not an act of the will: the soul is compelled by recognitions. Anyone who loves, anyone who perceives the other person fully can only be faithful, can never be unfaithful to the sea and the mountains and the death in that person, so pitiful and heroic is it to be a human being.'
‘.... “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.” ’
from Mr Rinyo-Clacton’s Offer
– Russell Hoban –
I took the Edgware Road train to Notting Hill Gate and the Central Line from there to Chancery Lane. The afternoon reality was a low-budget sort of thing I wasn't sure that everything I saw even had a back to it. None of the people in the underground had speaking parts and many of the faces were blank. The Grays Inn Road scenery had been done without much detail – a shop that sold second-hand office furnishings and another that cut keys were fairly realistic but I doubted that the doors actually opened and closed. The Morgenstern building was a little more convincing – a pseudo-Bauhaus thing with practical glass doors.
The security man at the reception desk looked me over critically but I brazened it out, signed in, and took the lift to the third floor. ‘Jonathan Fitch to see Jim Reilly,’ I said to the smart young woman who greeted me. She asked me if I'd like a coffee, I said yes, and she showed me to a conference room filled with business-grade sunlight.
Jim Reilly appeared shortly; he looked and sounded pretty much like me. There are probably a lot of people in the potential-realising-and-maximising business who look and sound like us – decent, clean-cut types with good teeth, firm handshakes, and clear eyes that don't blink too much. Jim had about two kilos of bumph under his arm which he laid on the dark and shining table. He took a sheet from the top and handed it to me. ‘I put together a little agenda here,’ he said, ‘of the points I'd like to cover in this first meeting.’ […]
My eyes travelled down the agenda but my mind had already fixed on Point 3: CLIENT OBJECTIVES! Did I have any, and what were they? The smart young woman brought in coffee and I drank it while Jim Reilly went on for quite a long time like a TV with the sound turned off. Every now and then he paused to remove some of the papers from the top of the two kilo stack and place them before me while I nodded or tilted my head to one side appreciatively and made such verbal responses as my mouth could manage. Objectives!
Celebrating the late, great writer’s 89th birthday
"Perhaps this world that's in us, this world that we're in, was never meant to be fixed and permanent; perhaps it's only one of a continuous succession of world-ideas passing through the world-mind. And we are, all of us, the passing and impermanent perceivers of it."
Russell Hoban ~ From the Novel ‘Fremder'
"Right", she said. "The thing is to move your head out of its ordinary busy-busy mode and make a clear space for things to happen in..."
Consider this, said the darkness: any motion at any speed is a succession of stillnesses; any section through an action will show just such a plane of stillness as this dark window in which your seeking face is mirrored. And in each plane of stillness is the moment of clarity that makes you responsible for what you do.
'Modern life,' said Jachin-Boaz [to the owner of the bookshop], 'particularly modern life in cities, creates great tensions in people, don't you think?'
'Modern life, ancient life,' said the owner. 'Where there's life there's tension.'
'Yes,' said Jachin-Boaz. 'Tension and nerves. It's astonishing, really, what nerves can do."
'Well, they have a system, you see,' said the owner. 'When you suffer an attack of nerves you're being attacked by the nervous system. What chance has a man got against a system?'
'Exactly,' said Jachin-Boaz. 'He could have delusions, hallucinations.'
'Happens every day of the week,' said the owner. 'Sometimes I, for example, have the delusion that this shop is a business. Then I come back to reality and realize that it's just an expensive hobby.'
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