Riddley Walker

In the far distant future, the country laid waste by nuclear holocaust, twelve year old Riddley Walker tells his story in a language as fractured as the world in which he lives As Riddley steps outside the confines of his small world, he finds himself caught up in intrigue and a frantic quest for power, desperately trying to make sense of things.
Riddley Walker In the far distant future the country laid waste by nuclear holocaust twelve year old Riddley Walker tells his story in a language as fractured as the world in which he lives As Riddley steps outsid

  • Title: Riddley Walker
  • Author: Russell Hoban
  • ISBN: 9780671451189
  • Page: 250
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “Riddley Walker”

    1. If ye lyke readen, if ye lyke a tchalinge, if yure tirt of all them comin of age books with predicable hinerd nerators, if yed as lief not be man pulated by the pubshing peoples as to what ye should be readin nex, then try this here buk. Ye mi not be able to buy it in shop as it was pubshed way back time back but meby your libryd hev it. An if ye do try it, yell relise dat peoples needs storys an if peoples lose all de storys, dey jus up an mek more storys, don dey?

    2. _Riddley Walker_ is the book that put Russell Hoban on the map (inasmuch as he is on the map…he is criminally neglected as an author) and will likely be the one work for which he will be remembered (sadly he passed away in late 2011). So far I have read three other Hoban novels and while I have thoroughly enjoyed all of them I must admit that I think this one is his very best. Many, upon reading the first page, will dismiss the book as “gimmicky” (I am growing to hate that term as applied [...]

    3. On my naming day when I come 12 I gone front spear and kilt a wyld boar he parbly ben the las wyld pig on the Bundel Downs any how there hadnt ben none for a long time befor him nor I aint looking to see none agen. He dint make the groun shake nor nothing like that when he come on to my spear he wernt all that big plus he lookit poorly. He done the reqwyrt he ternt and stood and clattert his teef and made his rush and there we wer then. Him on 1 end of the spear kicking his life out and me on th [...]

    4. I am not necessarily adverse to an author expanding his creative vision into an exploration of communicative styles. Anthony Burgess’ brilliant A Clockwork Orange comes to mind. Frank Herbert’s Dune also developed a vocabulary to further develop his vision. Stream of consciousness tales, though, tend to lose me. Norman Mailer’s Why Are We in Vietnam? was a hot mess of syntax that left me gasping on the rails of my deep-sea literary vessel, wanting the swells to die down some. William Burro [...]

    5. Set in a primitive future society and told in the imagined dialect of the time, involving malapropistic phoneticisms and accidental puns (and clearly an inspiration for one story of Mitchell's Cloud Atlas: /review/show/), so not something you can read quickly - at least, not till you get used to it. This is the story of a would-be story-teller, trying to make sense of the present in the light of (minimal) understanding of the past, tied in with versions of 20th century life/history (especially t [...]

    6. Riddley Walker has clear precedents, such as the postmodern invented language of A Clockwork Orange and the post-apocalyptic search for lost knowledge that drives A Canticle for Leibowitz, but Hoban's novel remains a singularly original work. The language is the most striking thing about it, of course. A pidgin mishmash of broken, phonetically-spelled English and familiar words deconstructed and reconstructed, Riddley's language at first seems like an attention-grabbing gimmick, but it is anythi [...]

    7. i did a lot of things wrong and painful with and to my daughter. seriously. that's not guilt, that's the reality. we are fine and ever finerd then there are the things i did inadvertently that made some kind of wild & tender balance - that built in a tool kit with which to cope with me and everything else that was ever gonna traumatize her for no good reasonis book is one of those things. even kids you are fucking with love you and pay attention to what moves you. maybe they pay attention wh [...]

    8. This is an already-famous book, and the internet is full of reviews and dedicated websites, so there really is little more I feel needs to be said. However, I think it is useful for any potential reader of this to get a sense of how easy it to read, how one grows rapidly used to the phonetics. Also, for me, much of the brilliance of this novel can be found in the construction of individual paragraphs, and in the genius of it on the micro level, rather than in any discussion of the Big Themes. Th [...]

    9. There’s a point in Riddley Walker where Riddley writes, “You try to word the big things and they tern ther backs on you,” which is a bit how I feel trying to write about this book. There are so many “big things” going on in it that it’s difficult to decide what to raise in a short review. But I will try to articulate a few of the “big things” that struck me on this – my first – reading.Riddley Walker shares a theme with Walter Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz. In that nove [...]

    10. Whenever I feel that the field of writing has become a bit stale, a bit repetitive, or a bit clichè. Whenever originality seems beyond the horizon, or when I start to suspect that writers care more about writing as a job rather than as an art I Pick up my well-worn copy of Riddley Walker. Merely the act of scanning some of the pages in this book, infuses me with a new sense of vigor. A new sense of hope. Hope that it is possible for someone to write something so masterful and beautiful that I v [...]

    11. Whoa. I am not really sure what just happened here. This is the strangest book I have ever read. I was drawn to read this when I learned that Riddley Walker had been an inspiration and influence for the Sloosha’s Crossin' chapter of Cloud Atlas, which was my favorite part of that wonderful book. The language is similarly a specially developed dialect, but where David Mitchell’s invented language is a little difficult until you find the rhythm, it became easier and, on my second reading of CA [...]

    12. God, this book is fantastic.Ever wonder what it must have been like to live in a world where all that you have is all that's around you, where the earth could hold any kind of horror at all and you'd believe it because all you know is what you see and what you whisper about at night around the fire? That's the kind of world Hoban's created for Riddley and his people. It's an utterly believable (mentally, that is-- there are some sciencefictiony things about the plot that are obviously not natura [...]

    13. "Set in a remote future in a post-nuclear holocaust England (Inland), Hoban has imagined a humanity regressed to an iron-age, semi-literate state--and invented a language to represent it. Riddley is at once the Huck Finn and the Stephen Dedalus of his culture--rebel, change agent, and artist."Some may find the invented language that comprises this novel difficult, but I liked it. Having studied just enough linguistics to be dangerous, it has often been one of my pet peeves that fictional people [...]

    14. This has been recalled to the library so I'll have to finish it another time. It is very interesting but difficult to read because it is written in a made-up dialect of debased future English spoken by survivors of a nuclear disaster. Quite a change from the previous works I had read by this author -- my childhood favorites, picture books about a little badger named Frances and her family.

    15. I read this for my current MFA work, so my review is more from a writer's craft perspective. Below is a cut and past from a response paper. The Japanese Kanji that I put in to illustrate some things will be (is) lost.Despite the author’s protestations to the contrary, this is classic—nearly archetypical—quality science fiction. I have been reading science fiction and fantasy for approximately 42 years, at one time probably consuming thirty to forty books per year (albeit not all were quali [...]

    16. A beautiful and haunting book. Thousands of years after a nuclear disaster of some kind has has destroyed civilization, we see them trying to make sense of our world, through legends that have been passed down and through the material remains of our world (broken machines, roads, etc.). Since we are so obscure to them, they are equally obscure to us, and a lot of what happens and what their world is like is incomprehensible. Creating this mutual incomprehension is a tour de force on Hoban's part [...]

    17. This book is truly unlike any other I have read. It is really HARD to read, for one thing -- it's set in post-apocalyptic "Inland" (England) and is told in a language invented by Hoban. However, don't let this discourage you. I was dumb enough not to notice the glossary at the back that would have saved me a lot of time and confusion. Anyway, all kinds of mystical things happen to young Riddley as he goes on a quest to find (I forget what -- the owner of a severed hand found in a Punch puppet? t [...]

    18. This is already a sentimental favourite for me. I've only read it once, but I'm already imagining reading it again and again, adding to the notes in the margins as I go sigh. Book love.The book's premise is that an apocalyptic nuclear event (taking place roughly now) has resulted in Britain being flooded, creating an island out of what is now County Kent, in Britain. The story takes place a couple of thousand years in the future, when little knowledge of mankind's history has survived, and socie [...]

    19. If you love language, word play, etymology, puzzles, etc you'll live in this book while you're reading it, and maybe even while you're not.The language of Riddley Walker is an invented one, but it rings true. In an illiterate, dirty, mostly agrarian post-apocalyptic society, written language (for the few who can even write) represents words the way they sound. Hence, someone who is enthusiastic is 'as cited.' The local bigwig is known as the 'Pry Mincer.' Meanings have also changed, with words r [...]

    20. Undeniably bold and ambitious and strange and intellectually exciting, Riddley Walker has a lot of good qualities. It's clever, it's funny, it's imaginative. Parts of it, I really liked. Unfortunately, all the good stuff rather got balanced out by some MASSIVE flaws: lack of action, a tendency to waffle on in page after page of barely-comprehensible free-associating stream of thought, lack of anything particularly earthshaking the way of a message that might justify all the verbiage, and a near- [...]

    21. A very odd book, in almost every way. Surprisingly, I didn't find the fractured English (changed grammar and spellings intended to demonstrate the way language might change over a thousand or more years) to be a serious impediment. If anything, it forced me to actually pay more attention to the whole story, and I will remember this book long after I've forgotten many an easier read. Still, it's just a gimmick. When you get right down to it, nothing much happens. We have a world destroyed by nucl [...]

    22. Wins top slot on my list of books that would be better as an audiobook. Alas, no such beast. The story gets lost in Hoban's choice of phonetic writing--if only it were just that. He chooses to misspell things even when his choice wouldn't be the logical outcome of a less literate age.It violates the notion of: just give us the spirit of the thing. He made it difficult on purpose. That makes the book self-indulgent and gimmicky. The content is grim and depressing, but also interesting. An emotion [...]

    23. Rich essay materialThis is a book which I get is smart, clever, filled with interesting insights, suppositions and - frankly - prophesies. (All the stuff with Eusa and putting all his cleverness in a box, and the leet - well before mass computerisation, the internet, or anyone calling themselves the l33t spooky as hell.)However, it just didn't really grab me as a piece of story telling. It was a well-constructed world and full of many interesting themes which I enjoyed unpicking and would've mad [...]

    24. This book is unlike anything I have read before or since - a post-apocalyptic vision of a primitive culture with half lost folk memories of earlier civilisation, written in a consistent imaginary language strongly rooted in modern English but evolved and degraded. The plot follows the eponymous Walker on a trek around Kent, exploring the nature of myth and religion. Unforgettable.

    25. AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!I imagine most people would like to be thought of as open-minded, willing to branch out and try something different. I know that my own self-image is that of someone with catholic taste in reading, not so easily pinned down. Sometimes you have to walk the walk so, based on some excellent book group recommendations, I ended up reading three books in the last month that were distinctly out of my "comfort zone". Though the three are quite differen [...]

    26. It's all about connexions isn't it? Riddley's assigned role in life was to be a connexion man, watching the shows putt on by the travelling Eusa men and making the connexions. Interpreting the allegorical stories coming from the government at the Ram and explaining them to the people of How Fents in his reveals.But I don't think he would ever have been content with that. For as Goodparley says about Riddley 'hes a mover hes a happener'. Throughout the book, he roams through Inland, making connex [...]

    27. Lorna said to me, 'You know Riddley theres some thing in us it dont have no name.'I said, 'What thing is that?'She said, 'Its some kind of thing it aint us but yet its in us. Its looking out thru our eye hoals. May be you dont take no noatis of it only some times. Say you get woak up suddn in the middl of the nite. 1 minim youre a sleap and the nex youre on your feet with a spear in your han. Wel it wernt you put that spear in your han it wer that other thing whats looking out thru your eye hoal [...]

    28. Whoa. This is the kind of book where I wished I had a literature class to discuss it with. Post-Apocalyptic Fiction 251, anyone? I would so take that class.It's so very cleverly written, with all its own nursery rhymes and legends working to piece together the story of an apocalypsebut I wished I'd been more invested in the characters. I guess I wanted some kind of reward for all the heavy lifting. It's not a friendly book, let's put it that way.But I'm glad I read it. The writing's not just bei [...]

    29. Russell Hoban, Riddley Walker (Summit, 1980)I have heard Riddley Walker praised as a classic in the making many times. I finally got my hands on a copy and gave it a try, and for all I know, those who call it such are correct. I couldn't tell. Hoban buys completely into the idea of creating a dialect that is only vaguely resembling English, and worse, he has his narrator use it for the whole novel. I'm sure there are those out there who became quickly fluent in it and could read this at the same [...]

    30. I enjoyed this the first time around, but this re-reading made me really love it. This is mostly because I felt more comfortable making assumptions about the symbolism and interpreting the language. It's also worth perusing the notes and glossary in the back (or have a British person explain things to you). Hoban does an excellent job of building a world not just with description but through his use of language and the way his characters interact. It's eerie and beautiful and poetic. One other n [...]

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *