Wednesday 17 October 2012

Blighter's Rock

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2012
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

17 October

Russell Hoban wrote a short piece, included in the collection of various bits and pieces The Moment under The Moment, of that name, and elsewhere, in his novels, gave characters that Spooneristic phrase to describe their predicament.

I have always inferred, since first reading the words, that they were, if not dear to Russ' heart, then at least acknowledged as part of his own experience: I find that he is a writer who does not keep you at arm's length, in that way, from what he has known or seen, and I see The Medusa Frequency, in 1987, as having come out of a very particular encounter with Medusa's powers, for ill and good. The previous novel, Pilgermann, had come out in 1983.

The fact that there was another such long gap and then, instead of a novel to follow Medusa, Moment came out in 1992, suggested that something had happened, and that the volume attempted, by bringing various things into one place, to maintain an interest / following. The next novel, Fremder, was not published until 1996*.

Although, for my money, both Medusa and Fremder are flawed by their ending, they are, nonetheless, masterpieces, linked by containing the same piece of text about occulting views and the rate at which the retina refreshes, making films possible, because of the persistence of image. Fremder, especially, though both books are short, is costly on dedication to read. It seems to me that the road to these novels had been a hard one, and likely that there had been prolonged stays on Blighter's Rock, before and after Moment.

What is characteristic of Russ is that he creates something out of the impossibility of creation, converting the self-pitying writer's block (being 'blocked' doesn't sound good) to something that happens to blighters. In other words, not taking himself or it too seriously.

End-notes :

* Data courtesy of, known as The Head of Orpheus.


Lindsay said...

I am not surprised Russ got wrecked sometimes at Bligheter's Rock. He aimed so high -- or deep -- or whatever direction is useful to describe the heart of experience and the mystery of existence itself.
He wrote nonetheless with a sense of humor -- a shining achievement.

The Agent Apsley said...

You've definitely caught something of Russ' generous enthusiasm there, Lindsay - thanks !

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