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Russell Hoban 1925-2011

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Farewell to Russell Hoban.

I don't know about you, but I loved the Frances books when I was a kid. Bedtime for Frances and Bread and Jam for Frances were both favorites.

I also loved The Mouse and His Child.

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Wow, thanks for posting this. I came on to post something else and saw this--hadn't heard.

It is a standard dinner table question to ask writers (or aspiring ones) what one book in (literary) history, they most wish they had written. For most of my life, my answer to that question has been Riddley Walker. Reading it as an undergraduate English major was exhilarating, it changed my thinking about what I was capable of grasping and opened my eyes to ways in which art can reach places direct commentary or argue may be buttressed against. To this day, I often find myself thinking/saying, when I hear of someone's death, "Your turn now, my turn later."[it'll make sense to those who have read the book.]

Hoban was the only writer I ever wrote an appreciation note to. It was in the early days of the Internet where we had just discovered this new thing called e-mail. Amazingly, he answered me back and was very gracious, thanking me for my praise and directing me to a couple of places where academics had begun to think about his work. I'm glad now that I did that.

13. Eusa wuz angre he wuz in rayj & he kep pulin on the Little Man the Addoms owt strecht arms. The Little Man the Addom he begun tu cum a part he cryd, I wan tu go I wan to stay. Eusa sed, Tel mor. The Addom sed, I wan tu dark I wan tu lyt I wan tu day I wan tu nyt. Eusa sed, Tel mor. The Addom sed, I wan tu woman I wan tu man. Eusa sed, Tel mor. The Addom sed, I wan tu plus I wan tu minus I wan tu big I wan tu littl I wan tu aul I wan tu nothing.

14. Eusa sed, Stop ryt thayr thats the No. I wan. I wan that aul or nuthing No. [....]

Edited by kenmorefield

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I don't understand this, Ken, but reading the news about Hoban today was the first time I ever remember hearing of that novel. I was stunned to learn he'd written a sci-fi novel. And now it turns out to be one of your favorites. Guess I'm going to the library tomorrow!

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It turns out the Detroit Institute of Art has an extensive puppet collection, including an early Punch and Judy display. I did not know that the term "slapstick" actually derives from Mr. Punch, who would slap Judy (and others) whenever he did not get his own way.

Here's Eusa with Mr. Clevver.

punch and judy.jpg

Punch text.jpg

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Backlisted podcast will be discussing Hoban's Riddley Walker in the next month--it's been announced on Twitter, but isn't listed yet among the "Episodes." This unusual literary podcast is devoted to "giving new life to old books," or, according to the "about" page, "how and why some books stand the test of time." I've picked up a few good recommendations from them, and enjoyed their discussions of obscure books/authors that I happened to know already.

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