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June 27, 2008

The Bat Tattoo - Russell Hoban

The Bat Tattoo - Russell Hoban

Amazon link to The Bat Tattoo - Russell Hoban

Book 27 in my 52 books in 52 weeks

I do quite enjoy the writing style of Russell Hoban, though I'm sometimes not quite sure any more what else it is that leads me back to reading his fiction. This is a fairly slight love story, about a pair of late middle aged people meeting and gradually connecting. The story has most of the Hoban trademarks; art appreciation and art history, sex, religion, and pleasingly it takes place around the streets of London, many of which I know well.

Rosewell Clark and Sarah Varley are the two main characters. Both are suffering from losses, and through a chance meeting at the V&A museum, along with a few other unlikely coincidences, they start to get to know each other. Clark is an estranged American earning a living making increasingly bizarre wooden sex toys for a mysterious patron. Sarah sells antiques at a market stall in Covent Garden. Some fun is made of the oddities of modern art at a competition in which Rosewell plans to enter a piece of his own.

I guess there is an intelligence here that is lacking in a lot of the books that you'll find in the top ten lists at the local bookstore. Hoban doesn't play with your emotions, he tells thoughtful but honest stories, and never gives easy answers to the philosophocal questions of life, love and death that he asks. The books are easy, and challenging, at the same time. His is a unique voice which I continue to enjoy.

[Note: I found a much better review on the Guardian website here. They like it a lot too.

Posted by se71 at June 27, 2008 10:11 AM


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