This is a review I originally wrote six years ago on a briefly kept LiveJournal blog, but in the interest of trying to gather all my eggs into one basket (isn’t that supposed to be a bad idea?), I’ve moved it over to this blog. If you happened to read this the first time through, the only things I’ve changed are the rating system and a few minor tweaks; otherwise, I’ve added a few links at the bottom.
Russell Hoban’s 1980 post-apocalyptic masterpiece Riddley Walker was a book handed to me with the words, “It’s a little difficult, but you’ll enjoy it.” Half right. Hoban’s book follows the adventures of the eponymous Walker, a twelve year-old boy who has just passed his “Naming Day,” thus becoming a man. He lives in a world that has self-destructed in a conflagration that the survivors call “the 1 Big 1,” the nuclear apocalypse with which our generation continually seems to flirt. This is not, however, a tale of the few stragglers suffering through fallout and nuclear winter so familiar from dozens of films covering similar territory; rather, much like Walter Miller Jr.’s excellent novel, A Canticle for Leibowitz, the story is set ages past the event, over 2000 years in this case.