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.

"Right", she said. "The thing is to move your head out of its ordinary busy-busy mode and make a clear space for things to happen in..."

“If we'd been edible we'd never have lasted this long.” 

"He was delighted to find that he did not love Gretel for any reason that he might have thought good in the past. Not for intelligence or accomplishments. Not for anything that she did. He loved her simply because she was. What a thing, thought Jachin-Boaz. Love without a purpose."

Always in November there comes such a night, blue-black and shining and wild with rain and wind and brown leaves blowing. In the morning suddenly the plane trees on the far side of the common are bare winter trees.

London City

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.

Manny Rat's housewarming was a great success. He had invited the cream of rat society, and all of them attended, twittering and squeaking with high spirits as they climbed the string ladder to the dolls' house. Grizzled old fighters and their plump, respectable wives touched whiskers with gentleman rats grown sleek by cunning and lithe young beauties of vaguely theatrical connection. Debutante rats and dashing young rats-about-town, all the golden youth of the dump, arrived in little laughing groups that achieved the effect of brilliance even in the dark, while doddering dowager rats came escorted by gaunt artistic rats with matted fur, burning eyes, and enormous appetites. Last up the ladder were a scattering of selected social climbers, followed by various hired bravos, obscure ruffians, and cheap hustlers whose good will was worth cultivating.

Holding on to the world is mostly an act of faith: you see a little bit of it front of you and you believe in the rest of it both in time and space.  If you're scheduled for a jump to Hubble on Tuesday you believe in you, in Hubble, in the jump, and in Tuesday.  Sometimes it was hard for me to believe all of it.

One speaks of the American Dream and the meaning various with the speaker but always what is meant is a montage of heart-pictures, desire-pictures, richly coloured wishes and memories and expectations of what people variously want from America or associate with America. This montage may have in it the Declaration of Independence, John D. Rockefeller, the Ku Klux Klan, Daniel Boone and Joseph MCarthy, Shirley Temple and the mountain men and Charlie Parker; it may have Abe Lincoln and Billy the Kid and the Statue of Liberty lifting her lamp beside the golden door of the Land of Opportunity where the plough breaks the plains, the West is won, the Yanks are coming, the Wright brothers and the astronauts go up and the economy comes down, Henry David Thoreau plants beans at Walden Pond, the Okies roll out of the dustbowl in battered Fords and talking blues by Woody Guthrie, Frank Sinatra sings at Las Vegas, Thomas Wolfe burns in the night and Jack Dempsey, Marilyn Monroe, Diamond Jim Brady, P.T. Barnum and the Enola Gay gleam high in the sunlight over Hiroshima while Bartolomeo Vanzetti writes a letter to his son and survivalists in Texas stockpile provisions and machine guns. The American Dream is pretty much whatever montage of heart-pictures you like to look at.

Hear the earth say itself, say itself ponderous with evening, turning to the night

It was then that I became aware of the wires trailing from the electrodes on my head.

‘You been getting some kind of ECT,’ he said. ‘They done that to me, they said the voices would go away.’

‘Did they?’

‘Yes. Now I’ve got nothing. There’s only a kind of ringing emptiness. I never asked them to take away the voices but there it is, you see: who am I? Nobody. I’m not entitled to hear voices unless it’s somebody asking questions and taking down what I say. You showed them though, you just walked away wires and all. Don’t let them empty you out, they’ve got nothing better to offer.’

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