Riddley Walker, by Russell Hoban

I fell in love with the language of this novel, and wanted to share some gems with you, whether you already know the book and would relish meeting it again, or might be drawn to encounter it for the first time!

It didn’t occur to me till long after i first read it that the name Riddley in itself gives a clue to the fun of deciphering Riddlleyspeak – the language Russell Hoban has devised for this novel.  The fact that so many of the unusual words he uses are like riddles in themselves.

To whet your appetite, what do you suppose are ‘Gready mints’?  ‘Strapping the lates’?, and a ‘Poynty time’?

In the attached document are some of my favourite expressions, noting  a page where they occur.

Below the table are some possible explanations to add to the grid if you like  – or you may have your own!


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