Riddley Walker

Paul Kingsnorth - Russell Hoban, Riddley Walker (1980)

If we accept Russell Hoban as a naturalised Englishman (he lived in London from 1969 unitl his death), Riddley Walker would be a shoo-in for the Goldsmiths Prize if it were published today. Its dazzling reinvention of language only serves to emphasise the rottenness of the future world its narrator inhabits: broken words for broken times. The sense of a past repeating itself ad infinitum runs through a book which remains, three decades later, still unlike anything else.

Max Porter - Russell Hoban, Riddley Walker (1980)

Riddley Walker, because it is the book of all books. It’s seems to be the Ur-book for the Goldsmiths-Prize spirit. I can’t think of a book that has disturbed, inspired or shown the way more blazingly than Hoban’s masterpiece. It gets fresher and more radical every year, funnier and more tragic every tick of the Domesday Clock. 

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