NYRB News


Russell Hoban, 1925-2011

We are sad to announce the death of Russell Hoban, who passed away this Tuesday, December 13, at the age of eighty-six. Hoban gained the most acclaim for his post-apocalyptic masterpiece Ridley Walker, but was also a highly prolific children’s book author and illustrator.

Many of Hoban’s stories for young readers were written after he married Lillian Aberman; they were based upon his own family life (he and Lillian had four children). Lillian drew pictures for the books, which include the Francis the Badger series, The Little Brute Family, Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, and The Mouse and his Child. Last spring we are proud to have reissued one of Hoban’s most heartwarming classics, The Sorely Trying Day. Hailed by The Los Angeles Times as a “timely antidote to stress,” this is an outrageously funny tale about the domestic chaos that a father encounters upon his return from a “sorely trying day” at work.

Hoban was an exceptionally imaginative writer who was able to delight children and adults alike with his humor and wit. His stories are timeless and will certainly be read and re-read by many generations to come.