Review: Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban

Riddley Walker is a unique, fascinating book. It takes places a few thousand years after a nuclear Armageddon in England when a young boy comes across a plan to recreate a weapon from the ancient world.

Humanity is semi-literate, and the language in the book reflects that. It can be a little off-putting; here’s the first line of the book:

On the naming day when I come 12 I gone front spear and kilt a wyld boar he parbly ben the last wyld pig on the Bundel Downs any how there hadnt ben none for along time before him nor I aint looking to see none agen.

When I first started Riddley Walker, I thought, “Oh god, I don’t want to deal with this.” But someone whose opinion I respect (darn those people) recommended it, so I kept going.

It was totally worth it. Yes, you have to read it slowly, and yes, it’s more work than reading a typical book. But it’s also a lot better than a typical book. I think it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read.

It’s intense, imaginative, and probably unlike anything you’ve ever come across.

Recommendation: Buy it. Buy it now. Read and re-read it for years.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *