Sunday, July 24, 2011

Russell Hoban Buzz

With thanks to Russell Hoban and the U.K.'s Walker Books, here are the opening paragraphs of Hoban's March 2012 Soonchild. Candlewick Books will be publishing Soonchild in the States.

Sixteen-Face John: His North

Maybe you think there isn't any north where you are. Maybe it's warm and cosy and outside the window the street is full of cars or maybe there's just emptiness and a train whistle. There aren't any Eskimos or dog sleds, nothing like that. But in your mind there is a north.

There's a north where it's so cold that your nose hairs get stiff and your eyeballs get brittle and your face hurts and your hands will freeze if you leave them uncovered too long. A north wind where the white wind blows, where the night wind wails with the voices of the cold and lonesome dead. Where the ice bear walks alone and he's never lost. Where the white wolf comes trotting, trotting on the paths of the living, the paths of the dead. Where the snowy owl drifts through the long twilight without a sound. Where the raven speaks his word of black.
Two other Hoban books will soon be available again: The New York Review Children's Collection is reprinting The Sorely Trying Day, and Macmillan is republishing another of my favorites, The Little Brute Family.

Alida Allison

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