The Medusa Frequency by Russell Hoban

The Medusa Frequency

Russell Hoban
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Since first reading Hoban's Riddley Walker almost twenty years ago, I have searched for other books that spoke as well to the cynical, questing artistic soul at the end of the twentieth century. They have been few, and rare, and mostly out of print in America. I approached this work with trepidation, fearing that it could not match the charm and spirit of this author's seminal masterpiece. I was wrong. From the first NNVSNU TSRUNGH, The Medusa Frequency establishes a new paradox of myth and machine, leading its reader, and its hero, through a humorous quest for true love, true work, and the meaning of life. The hero, Herman Orff, is a novelist without profit who writes classic comics for a living. After a late-night conversation from his computer monitor puts him in touch with a primordial reality, the comfortable fabric of his reality begins to unravel. His visit to a musician of his acquaintance leads him into another electronic encounter, with subsequent and unpredictable visits from the drowned head of Orpheus. His job writing comic books is terminated when the editor decides to "go glossy," trading the comic series for an x-rated magazine of classical Greek themes. Throughout, Herman is enticed by curiosity about the fate of his lost love, Luise, although he eagerly pursues the the prospect of a new love in one Melanie Falsepercy, whose legs speak to his soul. Vermeer's Head of a Young Girl and Eurydice of the Orpheus legend also compete for Herman's attention--and understanding. Herman's quest and the resolution of his contemporary dilemma remain quixotic--and strangely satisfying. As one might expect, Hoban's love of words and language give richness to this tale and extend its influence to the subliminal pleasures of certain sounds and rhythms. While this work does not surpass Riddley Walker, with its masterful re-creation of the English language, it brings a delightful, and humorous new perspective to life in our times.