The Medusa Frequency by Russell Hoban / ISBN 9780241485729 / 160-page paperback from Penguin Classics
'Sparkles with classical allusions and a wisecracking humour ... it is pure joy' Daily Telegraph
It all begins the night a leaflet comes through the door of unsuccessful novelist Herman Orff, promising a magical cure for writer's block. The strange treatment plunges him into a hallucinatory London dreamworld populated by figures mythical and real: a severed talking head, Vermeer's girl with a pearl earring, his lost love Luise and, beneath it all, the Kraken awaiting. As Herman will discover, creating art is a tough business.
'One of his most accessibly entertaining books' The Times
'Short, smart and fizzy, the novel seeks out the roots of creativity with none of the solemnity that phrase implies' New Statesman
On his death in 2011, The Times described Russell Hoban as 'perhaps the most consistently strange writer of the late 20th century'. He thought and wrote in an extraordinary range of genres, becoming first a bestselling writer of children's books, particularly the immortal Frances stories and his first novel, The Mouse and His Child (1968). After its publication he continued to write for children (most notably perhaps the Captain Najork books with Quentin Blake and The Marzipan Pig), but focussed most of his energies on a sequence of wonderful novels, which began with The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz (1973) and ended with Angelica Lost and Found (2010). He also wrote the libretto for Harrison Birtwistle's opera The Second Mrs Kong (1994). His novels were wildly various, but share his obsession with objects, animals, specific works of art and pieces of music, his love of words and sense of humour. Penguin Modern Classics publishes his first eight novels: The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz, Kleinzeit, Turtle Diary, Riddley Walker, Pilgermann, The Medusa Frequency, Fremder and Mr Rinyo-Clacton's Offer.