The Russell Hoban website

Welcome to russellhoban.org, providing definitive information and news about the late novelist Russell Hoban and his work.

Revisiting a classic interview

On 15th February 2011 Russell Hoban was interviewed by author and broadcaster Will Self. Self had written the foreword to a recent edition of Riddley Walker, and has written elsewhere of his admiration for Hoban and his work. In February 2022 the full audio of the conversation was published on the British Library Player website. A first-hand account on the SA4QE archive site also describes the evening and has a partial transcript. (Photo: Richard Cooper)


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It is perfectly possible to read and  enjoy Russell Hoban’s masterpiece Riddley Walker without solving or even being aware of the riddles woven into the story. You struggle with the language for a time until its phonetic nature becomes clear, and you congratulate yourself for having...
Along with four Hoban novels, The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz, Turtle Diary, Pilgermann and Mr Rinyo-Clacton's Offer, the Omnibus contains Return of Manny Rat, the incomplete, fragmentary sequel to The Mouse and His Child, which Hoban began but abandoned and which had never before been...
The Mouse and His Child is the story of two clockwork mice, a father and son. When the key in the father's back is wound, he dances in a circle, swinging his son up and down. They begin their existence in the warmth of a toy shop at Christmastime, surrounded by fellow windup toys; all the mouse...
Angelica's Grotto is a pornographic website into which seventy-two-year-old art historian Harold Klein wanders one evening. Klein, a walking catalogue of infirmities, known to medical consultants as ‘he who declines to hop the twig', may not be up to much physically but there's a lot of sex going...
All quotations come from Russell Hoban, Riddley Walker: Expanded Edition, Indiana University Press, 1998 Although he sets his novel Riddley Walker (published in 1980) in a post-apocalyptic future, Russell Hoban makes use of the medieval world to mark this future as a site of the "primitive." For...
From the jacket: There is a strangeness about Christabel Alderton. Elias Newman can see it right away, as well he might. When Christabel was thirteen she was walking by the River Lea and some people in a cabin cruiser waved to her. The scene before her seemed to freeze like a photograph and she...
Summary: He climbs a ladder to reach another man's wife and gives himself up to her beauty, but then Pilgermann descends into a mob of peasants inspired by the Pope to shed the blood of Jews. Alone on the cobblestones, mutilated and unmanned, he cries out to Israel, to the Lord his God, to Abraham...
I have little religious knowledge but then, as the disembodied protagonist of this book says, “Theologians and fathers of the Church cannot confound me, they have no firmer ground on which to stand than I.” I know more about “quantum-jumping to the strange brilliance of total Now” because this book...
Between September 2002 and March 2005, Russell Hoban contributed to his own discussion forum, The Kraken. In the second of a 2-part feature (part 1 is here), Richard Cooper looks back over a selection of his posts. Exactly 12 years ago, on Christmas Eve 2003, Russell Hoban wished The Kraken group...
Summary: A frustrated author hides away in his outpost in Fulham, working nights and trying to forget his lost love, looking for inspiration. Instead his computer puts him in touch with the Kraken, a fantastic squidlike mind in mid-existentialist crisis. A few wires-in-the-brain later, he becomes...

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