Riddley Walker (I), 2012

Riddley Walker (II), 2012

Riddley Walker (III), 2012

The first two shots were taken in central London and the third in Clock House, UK.

Riddley Walker  is a novel by Russell Hoban. It was published in 1980.

The book is set about two thousand years after a nuclear war in a small settlement (in what is today, Kent), which has reached a technological/ social level equivalent to the Iron Age, (without the inhabitants being able to make their own iron. Metal is salvaged). The government is in part a Theocracy, with laws and mythology built around scraps of information from the pre-war age, mixed in with Bible stories and art history. Our young hero, Riddley lives in the settlement and is just about to stumble upon a plot to resurrect an ancient weapon that could bring about the end of everything.

Well, I love Russell Hoban’s work, and Riddley Walker is probably my favourite of his books. It uses an invented dialect to describe an invented time, populated by a people struggling to come to terms with their world using an invented belief system. Apparently for some time after writing the book, Hoban had difficulty writing in modern English.

Here’s the first paragraph and a bit:

On my naming day when I come 12 I gone front spear and kilt a wyld boar he parbly ben the last wyld pig on the Dundel Downs any how there hadnt ben none for a long time befor him nor I aint looking to see none agen. He dint make the groun shake nor nothing like that when he come on to my spear he wernt all that big plus he lookit poorly. He done the reqwyrt he ternt and stood and clattert his teef and made his rush and there we wer then. Him on 1 end of the spear kicking his life out and me on the other end watching him dy. I said, ‘Your tern now my tern later.’ The other spears gone in then and he were dead and the steam coming up off him in the rain and we all yelt, ‘Offert!’

The woal thing fealt jus that littl bit stupid. Us running that boar thru that las littl scrump of woodling with the forms all roun. Cows mooing sheap baaing cocks crowing and us foraging our las boar in a thin grey girzel on the day I come a man.

In our house, this book can be found: dining room, left-hand bookshelves, second shelf down.

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Thank as always,  John and Deanne and Terry for title shenanigans and Richard at CK Ponderings for being a super-cool collaborator.