Amaryllis Night and Day (2001)
A Novel by Russell Hoban
AVAILABILITYAmaryllis Night and Day can be ordered from Bloomsbury's own Web site (just search the title or "Russell Hoban"), or via Amazon UK. Unfortunately, it hasn't been released in the US yet, but US readers can order copies via Web from the aforementioned sites.
DESCRIPTION:More than one member of The Kraken has expressed the view that Amaryllis is Russ's best book since Fremder, and I'd have to throw my cap in that corner, too. Amaryllis is a graceful return to the magical realism that characterized books like The Medusa Frequency and The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz, full of inventive imagery and slippery wordplay. But don't take my word for itcheck out the raft of rave review quotes a bit further down on this page.
Here's the copy 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.
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. "
"[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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
OTHER REVIEWS AND ARTICLES:An excellent, very on-target review in The Guardian online.
Back to The Head of Orpheus: a Russell Hoban Reference Page (home page).
Russell Hoban's other novels and collections: