Skip to content
Paperback Riddley Walker Book

ISBN: 0671701274

ISBN13: 9780671701277

Riddley Walker

Select Format

Select Condition ThriftBooks Help Icon


Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

Save $4.81!
List Price $10.00

1 Available

Book Overview

"A hero with Huck Finn's heart and charm, lighting by El Greco and jokes by Punch and Judy. . . . Riddley Walker is haunting and fiercely imagined and--this matters most--intensely ponderable."... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Redefines the Very Concept of Reading

Aside from The Lord of the Rings, Hoban's Riddley Walker is the most imaginative piece of fiction I've ever read. This is a novel to savor, to prolong, if possible, to pore over, to backtrack upon, to celebrate. 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. Allow at least three chapters to get into the cadence and the inner logic of the "Riddley Speak." The only slight quibble I have, is that I wish that Hoban had written more dialogue, and a bit less first person narrative. I say this because the dialogue is the most hilarious I have read in recent memory. The Punch show interchanges are particularly amusing. They were droll enough to also make me take a whole new interest in traditional Punch and Judy Shows. These are confined primarily to the British Isles, these days, which is sad. I did learn, from one of the foremost practitioners of the tradition, that the book is very much appreciated on the part of the community that still take their get ups from venue to venue. I also would have to say that readers who may be computer programmers, IT professionals, etc., will take a particular delight in the way that Hoban works in computer language of our era into his central character's (and his culture's) partial understanding. If you are looking for something that has Pythonesque, Pynchonesque, but ultimately Riddleyesque elements, and will leave you feeling as though your brain has actually been through some mental gymnastics, but isn't sweating...order this volume, immediately.BEK

Unique, fully realized work of fiction

"Riddley Walker" is undeniably one of the most unique novels I have ever come across. All plotting aside, the bizarre (yet understandable) pidgin English that it is written in sets it apart from almost every other work of fiction I have come across. The only thing that comes close is the slang in "A Clockwork Orange", but even that mishmash is normal when compared to Hoban's English. That said, Hoban's creation is fairly logical, and is easily followed with a little bit of thought.It would be easy to overlook the quality of the narrative of this novel because of the uniqueness of its presentation, but there is much more to "Riddley Walker" than that. It is the tale of a humanity reduced to Dark Age misery by a nuclear war, but what makes it different from other apocalyptic fiction is the historical remoteness of the holocaust. It happened so long ago, and was so total that its causes have descended into mythology. At the same time, technology has become confused with religion, and while mankind yearns for better days, he's not sure what they might be.Hoban paints a fascinating portrait of humans struggling to come to grips with their place in the world. Particularly poignant is the image his characters have of dogs, which have at this point have gone almost completely feral, and yet still exhibit a faint longing for their old masters. The humans see in the dogs an emblem of their fall from grace, and in the dogs' ferocity, a tacit reminder of something lost, although, again, they aren't sure what that might be.Perhaps the most intriguing element of the novel, however, is fragments of history that have been reassembled into a moral imperative for the power elite (such as they are). To the reader, the concepts seem ridiculous, but in them Hoban makes a powerful statement about the need to believe in something bigger than ourselves. Just think about how we struggle to come to grips with the past today; a history which is documented with relative thoroughness and which spans fairly well delineated arcs. Now imagine trying to process that same history after an apocalypse of unimaginable scope, and you will have some appreciation of what Hoban explores in "Riddley Walker".This is a novel that can be read fairly quickly, and enjoyed simply as a rather unique work of post-apocalyptic fiction. However, if you take your time with it, and really think through what the language and the characters' motivations, I suspect you will be surprised at the tremendous depth this work possesses. I was astonished at how much it made me think about my own worldviews and how much context is critical to their meaning. "Riddley Walker" is definitely a literary highlight of the genre, and a novel that is not to be missed.

My desert island book

If you're going to be stranded forever on a desert island and could take one book, which would it be? This is my choice. I've read it at least once a year for the past 20 years. Each time I have found it no less challenging...and no less rewarding. Each time I laugh, I cry, I rejoice and despair, and I tell everyone around me who will listen that they must read /Riddley Walker/. Hoban has written half a dozen breathtaking novels about life and death, history and the future, free will and predestination, human nature and human culture, belief and practice--and I can't for the life of me understand why he isn't considered Earth's Author Laureate. He has also written dozens of deep-hearted children's books, including the Frances The Badger series (which were greatly loved in my adopted home state of Wisconsin). Perhaps some of the reviews below make it clear why this man is so underappreciated. In this age of prefab thinking and easily packaged messages, he's just plain too challenging for most people. No spoon feeding. No easy outs. /Riddley Walker/ is not a book for people accustomed to hearing what they think they want to hear. But for people who can do the work of meeting him halfway...jeez, the riches! Hoban grapples with big questions in this novel: --Are we destined, as a species, to destroy ourselves? --What is violence, and why do people do it? --What is religion, and where does it come from? --Who, or what, is god? --What can we look forward to, if we continue trying to blow ourselves up? --Is there a relationship between maturity/immaturity and violence? --What is the nature of human memory? --What the hell *is* it with men, anyway? There is no sniveling in this book. The harsh, post-apocalyptic society that Riddley inhabits is what it is--people don't wander around whining about how things are. And yet there is a deeply touching moment where Riddley himself realizes how far humanity has fallen from what it once was. The grief of that simple moment impacted me far more than any accounts of nuclear/apocalyptic horror. It's easy to create megadeath. What's harder is the housework of the aftermath. There is nothing easy about this book. Nothing facile. Nothing shallow. Every word, every action, is holographic. Hoban's sense of humor is a joy. The puns, neologisms, back-formations, and memory fragments of his invented dialect lack all irony and self-consciousness. Riddley's tribal initiation as a man, and his manhood journey, are stunningly crafted and told. Showing us a world where an Iron-Age-scavenger people have inherited the principles of nuclear physics through oral tradition, while remembering (misremembering?) the green gods--Hoban nudges us, or maybe shoves us, in the direction of giving serious thought to who we are, where we want to go. This book is a wake-up call to a species of violent primates who mistake their hearts for evil and their opposable thumbs for divinity. And who have been taught to expect that language and storytell

a lidl fun

I parbly wer preddy gud at speln bfor I redd this buk Riddley Walker an I parbly arn enny gud at it enny mor but thats ok. Cuz I wud rather be 1 wut redd this buk its amazn. The man Rusl Hoban wut rowt it he wer usin his maginatn he wer teln the tales. He has makt a wurl wut is prymevl an it wer in the futr at the sayme tym. The wurdz he makt em up also an we ken stil unnerstan em they iz frum us an is frum them 2. An he put the musik innit the wurdz 2. You shud jus by this buk an redd it. There is 1 trubba wid it ther arn enuf starz forit.

what can i say that hasn't already been said

What can I say that hasn't already been said? I taught Riddley to my Popular Literature course a few years ago and like most of the reviewers here I was hooked after the first page. I've tried to give it to everybody i know who loves literature. So far, only one of my brothers has actually finished it. He and I write each other and always close by using the classic Riddleyism: "Trubba not." Reading Riddley is almost a spiritual experience. Often, I just pick it up and open it up to a random passage and read for inspiration. Hoban is an awesome writer. Awesome as in awe inspiring. It's enchanting, chilling, inspirational. I don't agree that it's without hope, as one reviewer said. By the end of the book, when Riddley is putting on his own puppet show/morality play, things are better. His plays have a moral conscience. In fact, I'm working on a paper about the development of moral conscience in Riddley Walker. Does anyone know if there is a body of academic criticism on the book? When did the book go out of print? I taught it about two or three years ago and was able to get copies. I certainly look forward to having a new edition in my library. In case anyone is interested, I taught this book in Popular Literature, a course where you can choose a theme or genre of popular fiction. I chose Post-Apocalyptic literature. End of the world novels. The books included: Riddley Walker, Alas! Babylon (Pat Frank), A Canticle for Leibowitz (Walter Miller), Lucifer's Hammer (Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle), Swann Song (Robert McCammon), The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood), The Postman (David Brin)--forget about the horrible movie, read this wonderful book), The Gate to Women's Country (Sheri S. Tepper), The War of the Worlds (H.G.Wells). I have taught this course before and taught other books too like The Shore of Women, some of David Gerrod's novels about the alien worm invastion--those books have been out of print for a long time too. There is a wealth of post-apocalptic novels out there. I try to read all I can. My students usually suffer terribly through these novels. Some begin to save needle and thread, liquor, flashlights, candles, and flinch at loud noises. Well. Trubba not.
Copyright © 2022 Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Do Not Sell My Personal Information | Cookie Preferences | Accessibility Statement
ThriftBooks® and the ThriftBooks® logo are registered trademarks of Thrift Books Global, LLC
GoDaddy Verified and Secured