Russell Hoban (1925–2011) was the author of more than seventy books for children and adults. Hoban worked as a commercial artist and advertising copywriter before embarking on a career as a children’s author while in his early thirties. During the 1960s Hoban and his wife, Lillian, worked at a prodigious rate, producing as many as six books in a single year—many inspired by life with their own children—including six stories about Frances the badger, The Little Brute Family, Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, and The Sorely Trying Day (published by The New York Review Children’s Collection). Among Hoban’s novels for adults are Turtle Diary, Riddley Walker, The Bat Tattoo, and My Tango with Barbara Strozzi. He lived in London from 1968 until his death in December 2011.
A man and a woman, each isolated, desperate and despairing—and utter strangers to the other—are simultaneously seized with the desire to liberate turtles from the London Zoo. Hoban confronts the dangers of modern life, its disconnect from nature and solipsistic atomization, with a dark eye and a generous spirit.