Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Russell Hoban: Feb 4, 1925 -- December 13, 2011

"The Slickman A4 Quotation Event takes place on 4th February each year, to commemorate Russell Hoban's birth in 1925. Each year his readers from around the world share their favourite quotations from his books by leaving them in public places, invariably written on yellow A4 paper (the sort he used). Fans also post photos of their quotations on this site, and these are gathered under"  (from the Official  Russell Hoban Web Site)

Since I won't be going anyplace appropriate to drop off a quotation, I decided to leave one here instead.

   "My desk is a clutter of stones written upon and not; seashells, acorns and oak leaves, china mermaids from long-gone aquaria, postcards of medieval carven lions, clockwork frogs and photographs of distant moments.  It's a good desk, there's a lot of action even when I'm not there.  Propped up amongst the stones and clutter are two books open at colour plates of Vermeer's Head of a Young Girl; there are also a postcard of it stuck on the edge of the monitor screen and a large print over the fireplace.  Night and day in all weathers she looks out at me from her hereness and her goneness.  Even the ageing of the painting seems organic to it;  one can see in the reproductions how the reticulation of fine cracks in the paint follows lovingly from light into shadow the curve of her cheek, the softness of her mouth, the glisten of her eyes, the fineness of brow and nose, the delicacy of her chin."

The  quotation is from The Medusa Frequency and purports to be a description of the narrator's desk.  I wonder if the description might also resemble Hoban's own desk. I once saw a photo of his office, and clutter might a close and accurate adjective;  some of the items mentioned seem familiar, as if I had encountered them in one or more of his novels.

If you haven't read anything by Russell Hoban, yet, then I would encourage you to pick one up.  


  1. My local public library has the children's books but none of the others. I guess I will be searching elsewhere because I am taking your encouragement to heart.

  2. R.T.,

    He's well worth the effort.

  3. What a cool thing! I haven't heard of Hoban, but if his fans do this then it must be worthwhile to seek out some of his work. Thanks, Fred.

  4. madamevauquer,

    His most traditional book is TURTLE DIARY. A film version came out in 1985, starring Glenda Jackson and Ben Kingsley. THE MOUSE AND HIS CHILD is film based on his novel by the same name.