Monday, September 17, 2012

R is for Riddley Walker

This week's entry for AlphaBooks is the eponymous hero of Russell Hoban's Riddley Walker.

This is a highly original book, not so much for its post-apocalyptic plot, but for its language, a unique dialect (& spelling) of English that takes a while to get used to, but once you do, it works its way into your brain & never quite lets go! Many many years after my first reading of Riddley, there are phrases from the book that still pop into my head at unexpected moments. (Arga warga!)

That first reading was a magical thing, by the way: I read the entire book by candlelight during a power outage caused by a hurricane. I'm sure the serendipitous setting contributed to the power Riddley holds over me, but even if you read it on a Kindle in a fluorescent-lit room, I think you'll still find the mysterious, smoky, quasi-medieval world Hoban creates to be an absorbing place to spend your time.


  1. Sounds like my kind of book, but I've never even heard of it. Will look for it at once! Beautiful warm colors in the illo, as usual. I soooooo look forward to your posts.

  2. I've read this book numerous times, finding something new each time. Hoban is a master wordsmith and the word play in this book is incredible. So much fun to read aloud. With a Cockneyesque accent, even more fun. This book should come with a warning, however; you will be driving your friends mad until they agree to read it too. Just ask my friends.

  3. Another title to add to my 'must read' list! I have enjoyed this series, not only for the gorgeous illustrations, but the introductions to books I've never heard of! Love how you've created a glow with this one!