Russell Hoban quotations used in SA4QE
This is a list of quotations from Russell Hoban's books used in the annual SA4QE fan event. Click on the novel title for details of that book, or on the "read more" link for details of who chose the quotation and where they left it.
Dr Mzumi made another note in Klein’s folder. ‘A CT brain scan and a carotid angiogram might be a good idea. They’ll send you an appointment.’
‘Thank you. One day you’ll be old and pissing in two streams too. Sorry. Bye-bye.’
Sometimes in the small hours of the morning, while [X] sleeps peacefully beside me, I sit up in the dark, feeling myself and the world moving from the known to the unknown...
“‘Nameless here for evermore’ she said. ‘Names are pretty useless really. If you say the name of anything ten or twenty times it scatters and falls away and the thing that’s named stands there all naked and unknowable’.
“Being is not a steady state but an occulting one: we are all of us a succession of stillness blurring into motion on the wheel of action, and it is in those spaces of black between the pictures that we find the heart of mystery in which we are never allowed to rest.”
“More and more I find that life is a series of disappearances followed usually but not always by reappearances; you disappear from your morning self and reappear as your afternoon self; you disappear from feeling good and reappear feeling bad. And people, even face to face and clasped in each other's arms, disappear from each other.”
The lamps on Putney Bridge were still lit, the bridge stood in simple astonishment over the water, a stoneline creature of overness, of parapets and ghostly pale cool tones of blue, of grey, of dim whiteness in the foredawn with its lamps lit against a sky growing light. Far below lay the river; slack-water it was, turn of the tide, the low-tide river narrow between expanses of mud, the moored boats rocking in the stillness... There seemed to be a question in the air.
‘Yes,’ I said, ‘I will.’
What is there to tell you? he said to an unknown audience in his mind. What’s the difference who I am or if I am? The audience shifted in their seats, yawned. All right, said Kleinzeit, let me put it this way: you read a book, and in the book there’s this man sitting in his room all alone. Right? The audience nodded. Right, said Kleinzeit. But he isn’t really alone, you see. The writer is there to tell about it, you’re there to read about it. He’s not alone the way I’m alone. You’re not alone when there’s somebody there to see it and tell about it. Me, I’m alone. What else is new? said the audience. Possibility of nothing this evening, clearing towards morning, said a weather report. Let me put it this way, said Kleinzeit. This will bring us down to fundamentals: I have a Gillette Techmatic razor. The blade is a continuous band of steel, and after every five shaves I wind it to the next number. Number one is the last, which is of course significant, yes? Then I stay on number one for ten, fifteen shaves maybe, before I get a new cartridge. I ask myself why. There you have it, eh? The audience had left, the empty seats yawned at him. Kleinzeit got out of the train, poured into the morning rush in the corridor. Among the feet he saw a sheet of yellow paper, A4 size, on the floor, unstepped-on. He picked it up. Clean on both sides. He put it in his attaché case. He rode up on the escalator, looking up the skirt of the girl nine steps above him. Bottom of the morning, he said to himself.
Hoban, Russell (2015-05-12). Kleinzeit (Valancourt 20th Century Classics) (p. 8). Valancourt Books. Kindle Edition.
The Slickman A4 Quotation Event ("SA4QE") began in 2002 as a fun way for Russell Hoban fans to share their favourite quotes with the world. Since then over 400 quotations have been posted in phone boxes, on park benches, on lion monuments, in bookshops and museums, as well as on social media.. Read more about SA4QE: ttp://russellhoban.org/sa4qe
I have London, London, London –
all the city, small and pretty,
in a dome that’s on my desk, a little dome.
I have Nelson on his column
and Saint Martin-in-the-Fields
and I have the National Gallery
and two trees,
and that’s what London is – the five of these.
I can make it snow in London
when I shake the sky of London;
I can hold the little city small and pretty in my hand;
then the weather’s fair in London,
in Trafalgar Square in London,
when I put my city down and let it stand.
Under the bed Death sat humming to itself while it cleaned its fingernails. I never do get them really clean, it said. It's a filthy job I've got but what's the use of complaining. All the same I think I'd rather have been Youth or Spring or any number of things rather than what I am. Not Youth, maybe. That's a little wet and you'd hardly get to know people before they've moved on. Spring's pretty much the same and it's a lady's job besides. Action would be nice to be, I should think.
Elsewhere Action lay in his cell smoking and looking up at the ceiling. What a career, he said. I've spent more time in the nick than anywhere else. Why couldn't I have been Death or something like that. Steady work, security.
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