Russell Hoban. Riddley Walker. 1980.

Russell Hoban. Riddley Walker. London: Jonathan Cape, 1980.

Language is the beating heart of Riddley Walker, a novel set in the ruined landscape of Kent long after the end of our civilization. The English that young Riddley Walker speaks is debased and savage but still vital and immediately comprehensible. It encodes secrets vaster than the young man can know: the old oral lore contains the long-lost formula for gunpowder. Echoes of Doctor Mirabilis here, at the other end of time.

No. 48.