Riddley Walker (S.F. MASTERWORKS) Hardcover – 8 Nov 2012
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Funny, terrible, haunting and unsettling, this book is a masterpiece The Observer"
One of the greatest novels of the twentieth century joins the SF Masterwork list.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Riddley writes his own story - in his own language - of his life on the outskirts of Canterbury, far in the future and long after nuclear devastation.
It's a difficult, though rewarding read. Riddley writes in a variation of English which, though degenerate, has its own dark poetic beauty.
Hoban manages to effortlessly create myths based upon our contemporary lives, using words, place names and phrases which have become corrupted into synonyms such as 'gallack seas' (galaxies) and 'deacon termination' (decontamination).
A pagan religion and philosophy has evolved - centred around ceremonies of performance and revelation - which combines beliefs involving the Moon and animal spirits and is entwined with the conflated legends of 'St Eustace' and 'Eusa' (which we presume was the USA) who split the 'littl shynin man - the Addom' in two and brought darkness to the world.
As in Anthony Burgess' 'A Clockwork Orange' with which this book is inevitably compared, the dialect is at first daunting, but one easily settles into the style and realises that this novel could not have been written any other way. It's rich and poetic and full of hidden references to the past which have to be teased out of the text.
One could have forgiven Hoban for writing a tale demonstrating (as Walter M Miller did so ably in his similar novel, 'A Canticle for Leibowitz') that humans never learn, and that we are doomed as a species to repeat our mistakes.Read more ›
Hoban's tale is set in the far future, where humans scratch out an existence, thousands of years after a nuclear apocalypse has destroyed humanity and civilisation. Knowledge has been lost, history has ended and what remains is a vague memory of better times. Of boats in the sky and pictures on the wind and great shining wheels.
Riddley lives in Kent and the book is his tale. Written in his hand, and in his language. And it's here where things get really difficult. Because the English Riddley talks, and writes in, is not the English that you and I know. It is an English that has been nearly forgotten and then remembered, but at the same time being re-evolved. The spelling is not what you know, and you have to work hard, often really hard, to understand it. You will, inevitably, have to read parts out to understand what they mean.
This put me off for about six months after someone bought me this book. But don't let it put you off. Because what the language does is drag you completely and utterly into Riddley's world. it slows you down and you read at the speed he thinks. Which is a lot slower than you or I. So it is a slow, hard read.Read more ›
Do not be put off by the post-apocalyptic plot description. This is not your father's Neville Schute story. Nor is it Stephen King. This is a multi-layered, cosmic, end of days tale, that far transcends all other entries in "the genre." Hoban has been compared to Joyce, but don't be put off by that either, if you struggled through Finnegan's Wake, as most do. This is accessible. Highly so. Sure, you have to invest some effort and if you are the type of reader who has to have everything conveyed immediately to you, you will not enjoy this work. Hoban is essentially playing a game with his reader. If you enjoy riddles ("Walker is my name and I am the same. Riddley Walker. Walking my riddles where ever theyve took me and walking them now on this paper the same."), Hoban will definitely keep you guessing. This is probably modern fiction's most "interactive" novel. The progressive revelations clue you in as you "walk" with Riddley through Inland (England). The path is so devious, yet so honest, at the same time, that you never want Riddley to seperate from you (a motif in the work) and you never want to lose his companionship.
Suffice it to say that I've been so obsessed over this book that I have joined a Hoban fan club and I can't wait to read more from this astounding author. If you can read updated Chaucer, you should have no difficulty grasping Riddley's vernacular, though there are some similarities to earlier English speech.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I heard someone talk about Riddley Walker on the radio and thought it sounded like something I would enjoy. Well, I did enjoy it, but it is a difficult book to read. Read morePublished 24 days ago by Mazrat
I loved this book! I grew up in East Kent and found the places described instantly recognisable. If you can imagine a post apocalyptic Ashford then this is for youPublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
This book may not be for all audiences... and I'm one of them. Trying to grasp an understanding of the plot with the confusing grammar and structure of language used is abit too... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
What an incredible incredible novel
Unique and well written but a hard,slow read.
Absorbing and addictive the language is fascinating and the insight into the minds of post apocalyptic people's who are as intelligent as modern people but have only fragmentary... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Stewart Conway
Amazing book giving an alternative view of life, when all the things we know and rely on are not there. Difficult to get into but stick with it and the going gets easier. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Robin Stafford Allen
Interesting concept and unusual writing make for a great readPublished 4 months ago by M. S. Holmes
Ever wondered what post-Apocalypse Britain would be like? Riddley Walker throws you right in, and hits you with time-traveller's culture shock right from Page One. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Nick Ford
Brilliant!!_ not sure how I missed reading it before!-- and a great companion to Canticle for LeibowitzPublished 4 months ago by MR M R Shipsey