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Amaryllis Night and Day (Novel, 2001)

From the jacket:

The first time Peter Diggs saw Amaryllis she was at a bus stop where the street sign said BALSAMIC although there was nothing vinegary about the place. The bus was unthinkably tall, made of yellow, orange and pink rice paper and bamboo, lit from within like a Japanese lantern. That was a dream, but where this romance goes as the dream begins to intersect reality (not unlike a Mobius strip) is nothing that a reader can quite prepare for.

"Trust me, I'm a weirdo," says Amaryllis as she and Peter embark on their nocturnal experimentation which will leave none of us—Amaryllis, Peter, or reader—on quite the same footing with reality.

Russell Hoban's compellingly lucid yet disorienting narrative is set in a solidly detailed London. Entering one of his fictional worlds is always an eye-opening, mind-expanding proposition and here the enchantment brings love itself into the spotlight.

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Review quotes: 

"Beautifully poised between Grimm and Greene. Describing the book is as pointless as describing a good meal to a hungry diner. It's delicious. Read it. Enjoy."
The Sunday Times

" The narrative...has all the hallmarks of Hoban's ungovernable invention. Freighted with allusions to high art and low culture, alternately jokey and portentous, it proceeds in associative fashion, each passage spewing another half-finished staircase that might lead into thin air. At times one has the impression Hoban writes merely for himself, but watching his ludic mind is pleasure enough for the most exacting reader. "
The Guardian

"[Hoban] expects more of our imaginations than many novelists... But relax, he's good at it. He's like the yoga teacher who says 'just concentrate on breathing.' Before you know it, you've got your leg behind your head."
Daily Telegraph

"Hoban gives his talent for subtle symbolism and bizarre detail free rein. It is a love story like no other, with the dream world identifying the subconscious workings of passion in a striking and original way."
The Times

"Light in its shape-shifting and mischievous in its fascination with odd phrases or exchanges...his fiction offers us a more rewarding way of patterning the space between reality and dream."
New Statesman

"A thoroughly entertaining novel from the author of Turtle Diary, whose greatest achievement is to capture and bottle the poignant sense of loss that so often follows the train of a particularly fulfilling dream."
Daily Mail

"A dream-fest, a dark, subtle slippery piece of work... there is always delight to be found in imagery, mood, and ideas that challenge and stimulate."
The Scotsman

"A magical mystery tour that shatters the normal rules of fiction. Proof that there are imaginative thinkers out there who deserve to be saluted on their way."
The Independent

"Love and unusual meetings, improbable surfaces and shimmering paradoxes, fears and apparitions, curious irritations and a very real sensitivity combine to make Amaryllis Night and Day a minor masterpiece."
—Michael Kedda, Amazon UK

Liz Calder

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