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The Bat Tattoo [Hardcover]

Russell Hoban
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Oct 2002
Roswell Clark's life had arrived at the point when he felt he needed to get an optimistic-looking bat tattoo on his shoulder. His ideal bat image was featured on an 18th century bowl in the Victoria and Albert Museum, but strangely, on a visit to the museum, he encountered a woman called Sarah Varley, who was clearly compelled by the same bat. What did it mean? Sarah dealt in antiques and Roswell soon ran into her stalls in Chelsea and Covent Garden. His calling, which grew out of an obsession with crash-test dummies, was a bit harder to explain. It led from the invention of a popular children's toy to lucrative commissions from a Parisian sybarite for wooden working models with very adult moving parts. Both Roswell and Sarah had lost their spouses and were still grieving in their different ways. And then Christ started putting a hand in - not in the 'born again' sense, but literally - a hand, a fragment of an ancient crucifix that fetched up in one of Sarah's antique lots. Between some compulsion conveyed by this hand and Sarah's natural urge to make improvements in people, Roswell's work took a surprising new turn. Russell Hoban's delicious new novel combines much about art - traditional and conceptual - with new angles on Christ, crash-test dummies, antiques and pornography - a pleasure on every page and as mysterious and uplifting as bat wings.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; 1st Edition edition (7 Oct 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747560226
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747560227
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 14.6 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,726,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"The Bat Tattoo completes a trilogy of masterful late works," -- The Guardian, 5th October 2002

"a deep and thought-provoking novel." -- Books Quarterly, September, 2002

"humorous, playful and very enjoyable." -- Daily Mail, 11th October 2002

About the Author

Russell Hoban is the author of many extraordinary novels including TURTLE DIARY, RIDDLEY WALKER, ANGELICA'S GROTTO, and most recently AMARYLLIS NIGHT AND DAY. He has also written some classic books for children including THE MOUSE AND THE CHILD and the FRANCES books. He lives in London.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous 15 Nov 2007
By pencil
What a great book. I'd read, and adored, Riddley Walker and The Mouse and his Child (both as a kid and as an adult) and wanted to see what else Russell Hoban could do. Well, The Bat Tattoo isn't quite as stunning as those other two books (but then they are masterpieces) but it is startling, quirky, erudite, philosophical, funny, sad, written in great prose; asks the big questions about life and love; in short, bloody good. I've just gone and bought two more of his: what other recommendation do you need?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A macabre sweetness 19 Aug 2008
By Pablo K
Quite something. It deserves a metric of 4.6 or 4.7 but cannot quite touch Fremder or Riddley Walker, which are beyond compare, or Pilgermann, which taps more resonant springs of those pesky human conditions (in my little mind at least). Like all Hoban love stories, this has a macabre sweetness to it, delivering loneliness and human frailty without cliche or over-wrought ironising. The metaphors are potent and the pay-off well worth the journey, neatly side-stepping an easy resolution. And as for the mechanical creations....well, I'll leave that as an inticement to find this book out for yourself, along with the bat tattoo.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like chatting to an old friend 28 Feb 2008
I read several of Hoban's books over 15 years ago and have always been seduced by the acutely human nature and predicaments of his characters and the way they speak directly to me in a way I can identify with. Reading The Bat Tattoo after all these years is like meeting an old friend and slipping easily back into the old familiarity and the sheer pleasure of the words. Of his other novels I have read, this is most like Turtle Diary, though my memory of that is now greatly confused by the Ben Kingsley film. Some of the classical references in The Bat Tattoo are not known to me but my enjoyment was not affected. An excellent read for people who like writing to have both a raw edge and a self conscious sensitivity.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this is a gift 4 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
this is a christmas gift hopiong he will like this book, it is difficult for me to review it it is still wrapped
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