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.

Everyone lives a life that is seen and a life that is unseen. Our dreams are part of our unseen life. We often forget our own dreams and we have no idea whatever of the dreams of others: last night the person next to you in the underground may have ridden naked on a lion or travelled under the sea to the lost city of Atlantis. Along with the dream life there is the life of ideas and half-ideas, of glimmerings and flashes and indescribable atmospheres of the mind. What we actually do in what is called the real world depends largely on how we live this unseen life in our inner world of words and images, songs and bits of poems, names and numbers and memories and dreams remembered and unremembered...

Manny Rat's housewarming was a great success. He had invited the cream of rat society, and all of them attended, twittering and squeaking with high spirits as they climbed the string ladder to the dolls' house. Grizzled old fighters and their plump, respectable wives touched whiskers with gentleman rats grown sleek by cunning and lithe young beauties of vaguely theatrical connection. Debutante rats and dashing young rats-about-town, all the golden youth of the dump, arrived in little laughing groups that achieved the effect of brilliance even in the dark, while doddering dowager rats came escorted by gaunt artistic rats with matted fur, burning eyes, and enormous appetites. Last up the ladder were a scattering of selected social climbers, followed by various hired bravos, obscure ruffians, and cheap hustlers whose good will was worth cultivating.

“Hear the earth say itself, ponderous with evening, turning to the night.”

“It is a strange and frightening thing to be a human being, to partake of the mystery and madness of human consciousness.”

“What most people take to be reality is a load of old nonsense invented by not very inventive minds.”

“‘Nameless here for evermore’ she said. ‘Names are pretty useless really. If you say the name of anything ten or twenty times it scatters and falls away and the thing that’s named stands there all naked and unknowable’. 

"Pas the sarvering gallack seas and flaming nebyul eye, 

Power us beyont the farthes reaches of the sky,

Thine the han what shapit the black

Guyd us there and guyd us back”.

I have a Friend's card; I like the way they nod me through when I show it: I'm not a stranger.  I always feel good in museums.  I like the high ceilings and the acoustics, the footsteps and the voices, the silence over and under the footsteps and voices and the individual silences of each thing, all of them different, all of them holding a long-departed Now.

“In the storm a safe place, a calm and wild place.  Oh the great secret.  The forever-moment that has always been and will always be, the centre to which the universe configures itself.  The magic place, the good blackness.  The dancing of the heat on the infinite sands, the pyramids, the ziggurats, the lightning and the sphinxes of it, the pleasant palaces and rainbows.  Now the satyrs are quiet and full-fed, now they sleep while the wild dogs howl.  Broken is the great vessel of the alone, the aloneness is all spilt out.  Broken the forty jars of silence wherein I crouched like forty dead thieves.  Broken, broken, broken the solitary madness where the lizard-men ran silent on the ceiling of my mind.  How they screamed and wept, how they dropped and one by one burst on the stone of Yes.  The Yes of the death of the lizard-men.”

"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..."

Pages

Share this page